Sometimes you really don't get it, Mack. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Stats are for us -- we are losers. It was kind of funny a couple years ago when Will Muschamp famously said that stats are for losers. You could talk about stats and how you were sort of a loser but not because you were a Texas fan and the Longhorns were winning every week. Then, unfortunately, it became true.
Texas became a loser this season andstarted trotting out stats every week showing just how much of a loser he and the program had become. This week, the minions in Belmont were working overtime to find some succulent stats for Mack. Thanks, y'all, saved my lazy ass some trouble.
Here goes, losers:
- Last season, the Longhorns had forced 25 fumbles, the same number as this season. The major difference is that last year Texas recovered 12 of those fumbles, but have only recovered six this year. The 'Horns recovery percentage of 24% is 115th in the country. And hey, Texas could have kicked at least four or five field goals if they had managed to fall on those six extra fumbles.
- Of the 11 scoring drives for the Longhorns of 39 yards of less, Texas has scored touchdowns on only two of those -- that's 18%. Should that be enough to get your coordinator fired? You tell me.
- Opponents have had the same number of scoring drives of 39 yards or less and have converted eight into touchdowns -- nearly 73%.
- Of the 13 scoring drives accounting for 70 or more yards, the Longhorns have scored 10 touchdowns -- 77% of those scoring drives.
- After 11 non-offensive touchdowns in 2009 (four INT returns, two punt returns, two punt blocks, and two kickoff returns, and one fumble recovery returned for a touchdown), the Longhorns have scored only one this season, in the first game against Rice.
- Last season, Texas capitalized on 36 turnovers forced by scoring 120 points -- three and a third points per turnover. This year the 'Horns have forced 11 turnovers and scored 33 points -- three points per turnover. The problem isn't necessarily converting after turnovers, it's the lack of turnovers, only 30% of the turnovers forced last season.
- To support that stat, Brown mentioned that if you lose more than three turnovers, you have a 90% chance of losing. This season, Texas lost four or more turnovers against Texas Tech, UCLA, Iowa State, and Kansas State. The good news -- Texas is ahead of the curve in winning one of those four games. At 25%, the Longhorns are 15% ahead of the curve. Celebration time!
- Interceptions have been a major difference as well. In 2009, Texas intercepted one out of every 18.4 passes -- 25 out of 460 throws. The 2010 season has seen the 'Horns intercept only five out of 204 passes, 2.4%, a drop-off of basically two-thirds.
- As well-documented on the Longhorn interwebs, the offense/special teams has put the defense in numerous difficult situations -- 10 of the 27 scoring drives against the defense have started inside the 40, with half of those inside the 15.
Being a loser is one thing, being out of touch is another. Texas fans have every reason to appreciate Mack Brown. There's no argument that he's the second-best coach in the history of the storied program and that he turned the program around at a crucial time by uniting the the disparate forces that have the power to make the University of Texas one of the most influential and profitable football programs in the country.
This season, though, every week there are moments when it becomes apparent that Mack Brown doesn't fully have a grasp on what is going on in the football program and in the fanbase. The latter is forgivable, the former is not. Scipio Tex documented a strange comment by Brown on Monday about no longer wanting to hold the team acocuntable for poor performances in wins, instead embracing every victory as if the program aspires simply to beat the Rices of the world.
On Wednesday, Brown was once again demonstrating his disconnect from reality. According to the Texas head coach, the discontent related to the offense revolves around a reflexive desire by Texas fans to irranationally dislike the offensive coordinator, head coach, and quarterback when the team struggles. After all, it's happened before.
Brown is correct in discussing the calls for the benchings of Vince Young, though his argument that 'Horns fans wanted Colt McCoy on the bench are a bit extreme -- rumblings about wanting snaps for Chiles never grew particularly loud. Ultimately, the takeaway is really that ' offense has always been on the brink of disaster and any calls for a dual-threat quarterback are a nod to the reality that a dual threat quarterback must be behind center for a Greg Davis offense to be successful.
All of that only addresses a small element of Brown's comment. The issue is that Brown doesn't undersatnd why Texas fans are upset with the team. The hue and cry disparaging this team is about outcomes, for one, which Brown actually acknowledged by giving the coaching staff a collective "F," and for another, the lack opponent-specific gameplans by Greg Davis, a consistent issue over the years and a major component to the failures this season. By this line of argument, the Nebraska is a perfect example of how the team could have achieved been given some actual schematic advantages.
It's about poor recruiting and evaluations, about poor player development. Complacency on the offensive side of the ball with the coaching staff. These are systematic problems, not some strange yet reflexive whim of the message board fan in reaction to recent losses. And let's be real here, when the football team is losing in unprecedented ways, why shouldn't the reaction of the fans be unprecedented as well?
Brown mentioned a backlash against the head coach. Why not, when the head coach has no answers, throws his assistant coaches under the bus, then acts surprised when the media and fans react to those comments?
Offensive struggles are merely a symptom of a greater disease. Brown has had no answers at all this season
Brown mentioned a backlash against the quarterback. And there is. There are those out there calling Gilbert worse than Chris Simms, about the ultimate insult for a Texas quarterback. Yet, the fact of the matter is that there isn't a major consensus to replace Gilbert.
Rather, fans simply want a return of the two-time state champion Gilbert they knew and loved. A Gilbert now gone, replaced by a quarterback who doesn't have an identiy amidst an offense with no identity. There's some sentiment that Gilbert is worse than Chris Simms right now, about the ultimate insult for a quarterback at this school.
Where Brown is wrong in comparing the quarterback situation right now to previous calls in recent years. Texas fans aren't calling for Case McCoy. They want the familar Garrett Gilbert. The guy who was supposed to be a star in burnt orange.
It's like the thoughtful, knowledgeable, probing segment of the fan base doesn't exist for Brown. The fan of which always speaks is always the lowest common denominator. It's rather condescending, frankly.
Or how about this, Mack? Your team keeps getting behind against the worst rush defenses in the country and can not or will not run the ball. Your stated intention before the season. The running game is a failure on every level. Your hand-picked running back is now a fat h-back who apparently has no ability to re-direct, judging from Nebraska's punt return touchdown. Garrett Gilbert has made some poor decisions, but he doesn't suck. It's just everything else related to the offense that sucks. Truly everything.
Fans aren't calling for you leave, Mack. They want you to fix these systematic problems and that probably means firing some assistant coaches on the offensive side. If you refuse to do that because of misplaced loyalty, then we can talk about the need for you to step down before things get even worse. Yes, they could get worse.