Yesterday morning, a casual comment sparked a discussion with @bitterwhiteguy about Texas head coach Mack Brown being scared of things. A tumblr page ensued, which is now a non-exhaustive but long list of things that Brown is scared of.
A few weeks ago, txtwstr7 pulled out some quotes from Pat Forde's in-depth examination of the Texas program at the start of 2010 when asking who Mack Brown is as a coach. There's a disturbing trend in many of the quotes -- Brown came off sounding anxious, scared:
Boy, I'm scared. I'm worried about this team. I'm worried about it. We've got some entitlement in this room. Got to get that fixed. Got some selfishness in this room. Got to get that fixed. This isn't Texas football. What concerns me, we've got guys in this room who have won too easy. ... You're ranked the fifth-best team in the country, and we just played OK. We have not earned that ranking.
I own the restaurant. There are a lot of cooks, waiters and waitresses in this restaurant. They worry about their problems. I worry about all the problems.
This isfavorite day of a game week. The work on the game plan is largely done. The staff meetings by this stage are what Brown calls "worry meetings" -- there is no serious strategy left to be mapped out.
Do we think you're going to play well? Yes. Why? Because we've seen you play well every day in practice. Do we know you're going to play well? No. That's why we're anxious.
Really excited to have won the opener. There will be an upset today as we look around the country, and it scares you to death.
The rhetoric is clearly something that pervades Brown's diction and has for years, which is why it's concerning.
Way back in 1992, Brown was scared when talking about recruiting with Bo Schembechler:
I asked him, "How do you decide whom to take at the end?" We'd have 12 guys for four spots, and you're scared to death."
In 2001, he was scared to death about Kliff Kingsbury and the Texas Tech offense after a win over Houston:
It scares me to death. We're giving up big plays and it really concerns me. We tackled poorly and made mistakes in the secondary. Our defense didn't play good enough to win another game that we play.
In early 2006, Brown was scared as two of his players were down on the field after colliding against USC:
On the sideline we never felt that way. I was worried about the two kids, when Michael (Griffin) and Tarell (Brown) got hurt and were not moving, it scared you to death. Until you see somebody move - some legs moving - then you know it's going to be okay.
That fall, Brown was still scared:
We are so impressed with Bret Meyer; I can see now why many people voted him the preseason quarterback of the Big 12 because he’s big, he’s fast, and he’s tough. We knocked him down 15 times and sacked him seven, and he still completed a lot of passes and hung in there, and because of him, they’re going to have a chance to be in every ballgame. It scared us to death as we continued to go through the game.
Even UTEP scared the Texas head coach:
We were scared coming in because if you looked at what they were doing, they were getting better each week and they played Buffalo much better this year than they did last year, they beat New Mexico State last week.
Later, it was players traveling over a break:
The last thing we told the guys was to be careful this weekend. It scares you to death when they’re driving home as tired as they are. We make them call us before they leave and when they arrive so we’ll know they are safe.
Going to play Colorado, Brown was scared:
Last week, we were scared to death going to Colorado. Our history with them has not been very good.
In 2010, Brown was scared about playing Iowa State, which had never beaten Texas before:
He did the same thing in Lincoln last year. It scared me to death all week. He got his team ready.
Taylor Martinez was also pretty scary:
He’s faster than anybody who’s chasing him. He’s a guy who scares you to death. Every time he touches the ball he has a chance to score.
Before that, he was scared about injuries:
You get scared to death of injuries and at Texas we can’t allow an injury to keep us from being successful, so we’ve told all the guys to be prepared to play and some areas that we’re fine, I looked up last year and the eighth game of the year we were thin in the kicking game because we had some guys that were hurt and ankles and shoulders and not out for the year, but missed three weeks, and then all of a sudden you can’t even cover a kickoff.
In 2011, Brown was worried about players taking illegal benefits:
As coaches, what happens when something is reported like that, I think it, on the one hand is disappointing for anything like that to happen to your sport, and secondly I think it makes your players more aware of it. It gives you another platform as coaches to talk about it because coaches are scared to death of integrity and rules issues every day.
Though many fans see him as a savior, Brown gets scared by Case McCoy sometimes:
He did a good job on numerous plays. He scared me a little bit on that play at the goal line, but he scrambled out of it and made the play time and time again.
A lack of intensity at one point last season scared him:
Well, we had a very emotional game with Kansas State, and then we had another emotional game with A&M. I didn't think we had the same intensity out at Missouri, and that scared us.
Before this season, he was worried about summer conditioning with no coaches around:
I worry to death about their summer competitions without coaches and strength coaches around because there's nobody out there. It scares me every time they go out there and they've just got to take care of each other.
Brown was also scared about the kicking game:
I tried to sleep one night and envisioned in the Rice game Justin spraining his ankle and I was asked to kick a field goal. It wasn’t good and that’s one of those dreams that’s a bad dream. I guess it would be called a nightmare, but I did kick in high school. I woke up scared and broke out in a sweat.
For any coach, upsets are terrifying:
Upsets scare you to death every week, and that's what you do. When you play a night game, you sit there and bite your fingernails all day watching other teams getting beat. When one drops a snap, you duck.
And opening games:
Opening games are hard. They scare you to death.
Also terrifying -- things that players post on social networks:
We’re being really, really hard on it. It scares me to death.
And Geno Smith was also terrifying:
They’re the kind of offense that everybody that touches the ball has a chance to score, and that’s what scares you to death.
It wasn't the first time that Brown expressed terror at Smith and West Virginia, though, as it was a talking point at Big 12 Media Days:
I saw what West Virginia did to Clemson in the Orange Bowl (70-33 win) ... unbelievable ... It scared me to death. I wanted to call Deloss (Dodds, Texas athletic director) and say are you sure — you want to rethink this?
[He] sets his feet and throws a beautiful strike for a 50-yard touchdown pass to [WR Donte] Moncrief. So you know the guy’s capable of making a play which is something that scares you.
Players that can make plays! So, so terrifying. Why do other teams get to have those?
And, of course, the ever-terrifying Steele Jantz:
Steele Jantz has improved so much from last year. He can beat you with his feet and his arm. Those are the ones that scare you to death.
Perhaps being scared has been a lifelong trait for Brown, who experienced that emotion at a young age in a big meeting:
As a young player, I went and sat in his office. They were playing Missouri in the Gator Bowl and I was a kickoff, a punt returner. And coach Bryant brought me in and said, 'Come here.' I'm scared to death. I'm in there by myself. Him and I. And he turns on a projector and he's showing me the Missouri coverage and he's showing me where he thinks Alabama can return a punt. And he says, 'But we don't have a guy to return that punt? Do you think you can do that?'
"As a 17-year-old, I'm saying, 'Yes sir, I think I can do it.'
Maybe it's just a phrase that Brown likes to use. Or maybe he is so anxious and worried all the time that his team takes on those characteristics. That would certainly be one explanation for why he's been blown out four times by Oklahoma over his career.
Film on all the West Virginia touchdowns scored against Baylor eventually did the trick this year in scaring the other coaches and players:
By the time we got home our defense and our defensive coaches had enough. They’d seen enough touchdown passes and it was scaring them to death.
Some of it may be the weird desire that Brown has to take those comments back to the media in order to say "I told you so" when his team doesn't play as well as people think it should. It was something that Vasherized noted after the first game this season:
It's also nice to see"concerns" that "scare him to death at night" validated by a sub-par performance in game one because he gets to take credit for being right in the press conference and share those very private moments with us.
But, hey, who doesn't like to say "I told you so"?
Other things that scare Mack Brown to death -- clowns, shadows, loud noises, people sneaking up behind him, Bob Stoops, Muschamp when he gets those crazy eyes, basically any running quarterback ever, especially the mediocre ones from Iowa State, rap music, leaving the stove on at home, cockroaches, and every football team that can score points.
Maybe Mack Brown is just panophobic. Maybe he just needs a handful of Xanax. But given it all, the man is probably a hero for being able to leave the house every morning to take on a world that scares him to death.
Who is Mack Brown? It seems like he's a worried, anxious head coach who spends a great deal of his time being scared to death.
How often do the best head coaches say they are scared to death about anything?