The Game Done Changed

Chip Brown has an interesting column on Mack Brown, the perceived negative media treatment of the team, and fans booing at the stadium. It's been an odd year for Texas football in general, and Mack Brown in particular. Strangely enough, I think Mack's brought a lot of it on himself because of a bungled PR campaign. He's said the wrong things this year, with the wrong tone, and wrong timing. For a guy who got where he is by not making mistakes like that, it's been a bit of an odd sight to see. From today's article:

"Media and fan-driven stuff that are negative really motivates our team better than on days where it's really good. It's amazing to watch that for 10 years here, but it happens."

[...]

"A lot of kids feel more pressure at home than they do on the road, and the home crowds are getting tougher. Your best fans travel, usually because they're pumped," Brown said. "Home crowds don't yell as much as they used to, and some crowds across the country – not just ours – boo more. So I don't know that it's as big an advantage as it used to be."

My gut feeling is that Mack looks at the build up to 2005 - all the pressure, demands, and doubts - then sees fans restless again in 2007, and wonders what in the hell it might take to satiate the Longhorn fan base. 54b put his finger nicely on that very topic yesterday, and one can understand why Mack might get frustrated.

Even so, a coach cannot call out the fans and the media. He cannot allow himself to become defensive. He cannot tell people that he and the team deserve better. Mack knows this, but for some reason, he's cracked this year. I'm certain it started with the embarrassing home loss to A&M last year, became truly problematic during the offseason arrest spree, and has maintained a boil through Texas' listless 2007 campaign.

There are ways a coach can support fully his players without being defensive. With that in mind, a man making $2.5 million per annum simply cannot be anything other than deferential to the people who feed the beast. The fans want championships - mostly conference, but also national. When those are delivered, frightening amounts of praise and adulation are heaped upon the coach. When those are absent, frightening amounts of criticism and doubt are heaped upon the coach.

Goes with the territory, Mack. It ain't rational, but neither are coaching salaries these days. Slim Charles from The Wire said it best, "Game's the same... just got more fierce."

--PB--

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