The Eleven Million Dollar Excuse

Bob Levey

Mack Brown didn't ask for The Longhorn Network. In other news, Texas obtains world's tiniest violin.

I've been trying to stay out of the "fire everyone" fray, Scipio handled the task fairly and adroitly and I agreed with every word. In my mind, we've left the issue of whether Mack Brown should be the coach of the 2013 Texas Longhorns. That decision will be handled by an odd mix of wealthy donors and successful, but risk averse businessmen. A different task is before the fans, and that's what to make of Mack Brown's legacy.

Woody Allen said that 90% of life is showing up. I guess that we've lived different lives, because I'd say that 90% of life is how you respond to being punched in the mouth. 2010 left Mack Brown bruised, bloodied and near broken. He started by responding well, or at least far better than I expected. He fired his best professional friend, he hired young, energetic and unconventional coaches to shake up a program seemingly overcome with rot and complacency.

2011 wasn't a world beating performance, but the defense was brilliant and the offense showed a foundation. Power football had returned to Texas, and it felt good. We weren't just energized by winning games, there was promise in the way Texas won them. Strong defense, a tough offense built on a foundation of arguably the best stable of young running backs in the country, and an identity that seemed to resemble an immature Alabama or LSU. Those days seem far away now.

2012 has been a different matter. Helmuth von Moltke was right, "no plan survives contact with the enemy." We were encouraged by smoke filled promises of an elite defense and an exciting offense. This season has been, at best, a tremendous disappointment. Far from building on a solid foundation, the progress of the past has been recast as a new paint job on a house riddled with termites. I'm willing to believe these problems caught Mack Brown by surprise, that's an indictment in and of itself, but he's far too crafty of a politician not to brace himself against one of the worst defenses in college football.

For the second time in as many years, Mack Brown has been punched in the mouth. His job is in more jeopardy than ever before based simply on the team's record over the last 24 months. His team is in disarray. This is a legacy defining moment, regardless of decisions made about a contract than runs through 2020. There is a need for accountability. There is a need for focused aggression. There is a need for leadership.

With a defense that is ranked 114th in yards per carry and 105th in scoring, a team lacking confidence, and a strange focus on "friendship" in a competitive sport played between performance athletes and pathologically driven coaches, the eyes of Texas are upon Mack Brown.

His eyes are upon the Longhorn Network. It's eleven million dollars he didn't ask for, and he's insinuating it's one of the systemic problems affecting this team. I gather the coaches were too busy giving interviews to teach proper tackling form, too harried by media they can fire to ferret out complacency and too pressed by their editorial duties to craft an offensive game plan against OU. Or perhaps the LHN just let other teams know our linebackers were clueless. The team has every indication from the outside that it's rudderless: the players are frustrated, the team is struggling, and a narrow victory over an under performing Baylor team is followed by a head coach casting for an excuse like a drowning man clutching straw. The time for showing up is over Mack. Don't let this be your response to getting punched in the mouth.

We fans have little control over whether Brown coaches next season or not, but the legacy of Mack Brown continues to form. Right now, he's the one who whined about a TV network with his back to the wall.

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