Scrappy doesn’t cut it in these parts.
Save that stuff for Lawrence or Ames.
People here pay big money for excellence and the home team and its head coach just hasn’t delivered over the last three years.
The Texas Longhorns are not in a tailspin because you can actually steer your way out of a tailspin. “Freefall” is a better description.
And while Mack Brown is still talking about winning a third Big 12 championship, the reality is teams that get blown out by 21 points in a non-conference game in front more than 100,000 home fans rarely even contend for Big 12 championships. Big 12 championship? The Horns aren’t even in the top two in their own state at this point.
Minutes after booming SEC chants rang down from the red-clad Ole fans in the southeast corner of a half-empty DKR, Mack was busy pumping burnt-orange sunshine with games coming up over the next three weeks against Kansas State and Oklahoma, teams that have a combined eight-game winning streak against the Horns.
Can’t fault his enthusiasm — who wouldn’t be enthusiastic at $5.4 million? — but he’s starting to work the last nerve of Longhorn Nation. I can’t remember the last time a home crowd actually booed Brown during one of those PSA’s on the Godzillatron. But it happened Saturday.
When asked if he had a message for the fans, Brown said, “Keep coming. Let’s beat Kansas State. Forget the coaches. Come for the kids.”
That’s the problem. You can’t forget the coaches when they are giving the fans a losing product.
The Case McCoy-led offense had its moments early but killed a chance to go up by double digits in the second quarter with a couple of false starts on the Ole Miss goal line in the second quarter.
Then it all went south. Sort of like the 2013 season.
Ole Miss 44, Texas 23.
Talk about a tale of two teams. Just last year, the Horns traveled to Oxford and beat Ole Miss by 35 points behind some big plays in the passing game. Spin ahead to Saturday and the Horns, without QB David Ash, were the ones on the business side of the beat down.
Brown banished defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after a lost weekend in Provo but four days wasn’t enough for Greg Robinson to cure this defense’s ills. Worse yet, Major Applewhite’s offense has mustered a total of five touchdowns over the last eight quarters, which is pennies for what was once the No. 15 team in the country.
This fix could be beyond Mack Brown’s grasp.
His team was outplayed, outworked, and outcoached.
No coach wants to hear questions about job security and an uncertain future, but if Mack isn’t in trouble, he should be. President Bill Powers and athletic director DeLoss Dodds have thrown their public support behind him, but those men are his friends just as much as they are his employers. The ultimate decision on whether or not to shutter the Mack Brown era will likely come after this season and will be made by the fat cats who really run this program.
Saturday’s savagery began like the BYU game ended, with the defense utterly helpless to stop what was coming at them. With Robinson on the sideline, the Horns played better in parts, but they didn’t play winning football, which means consistently getting stops to get your offense back on the field. This defense has given up an average of 102.7 rushing yards per quarter over the last two games.
“For some reason we didn’t play consistently well in the second half,” Brown said. “We have to go back and figure that out.”
Four years after Colt McCoy limped off the field in the national championship game, the Horns are a stumbling bunch that will struggle to win seven games this season, which would mark a major step back after Texas took baby steps forward over the last two seasons after that 5-7 horror that was 2010.
Mack has done some great things around here but the disease that has afflicted his team is one he can’t fix in one night, one week, or even one season.
It’s slipping away and he doesn’t appear to have the answers.
1-2: NOW WHAT?
The last five times that Texas (1-2) started a season 1-2:
1998;9-3 (6-2 Big 12);def. Miss. St., Cotton
1992;6-5 (4-3 SWC);No bowl
1991;5-6 (4-4 SWC);No bowl
1989;5-6 (4-4 SWC);No bowl
1987;7-5 (5-2 SWC);def. Pitt, Bluebonnet