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Mack Brown Press Conference Breakdown

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Too much speculation has me tired and feeling like we've gotten away from what we like to do here at Burnt Orange Nation, so as we've iterated before, we'll just be reporting news as it comes out and limit the speculation as much as possible.

In that spirit, it's time for a look inside Mack Brown's latest press conference, with quotes and commentary on the highlights.

We also told Vince when he got back [from the Heisman ceremony in New York] that even though he was disappointed for all of us, we were all disappointed for him as a team, so he doesn't need to put that pressure on himself. We were as proud of a team in Orlando as we were disappointed in New York. But that pressure shouldn't be on him. After we talked about that some, the guys gave him a standing ovation.  

A well-deserved standing ovation indeed. One of the downsides of being in The Game Of The Millennium (until the next big game) is all the off-field crap that gets swirled around. I'm not going to complain too much; it's part of the small price you pay for huge success. Still, with all the "Heisman pouting," "Gangsta," and "victory guarantee" stories that have dominated the "news," it's time we just recognize Vince for the remarkable season he had.

Playing quarterback at the University of Texas is a bit like being President. Your every little move is scrutinized inside and out. Every word you say, every pass you throw, and every mistake you make is analyzed and re-analyzed over and over and over. It's not unique to Texas--SEC schools love their football just as much--but his success should be appreciated in that context. (To give credit to the USC players, their successes are equally impressive, as everything they do is scrutinized under the pressure of being the defending champs and #1 team in the country.)

Vince's final season stats: He led the nation in passing efficiency (168.56 QB rating), completing 182 of his 285 pass attempts (63.9%) for 2,769 yards, with 26 TDs against only 10 INTs. On top of the gaudy passing numbers, he rushed 136 times for 850 yards, including another 9 TDs.

Wow. I think I'll stand up and clap, too. Thanks for a one-of-a-kind season, Vince.

When I first saw Vince in New York when we got there on Saturday afternoon, the first thing he said to me was that he was so sorry he missed practice. He has never missed a practice at any level. He called a lot of them and asked them how practice was going. That is the type of team-person he is. It is not something he made up just to make me feel better; he was sincere. So we are glad that he is back here.

For those that want to characterize Vince as some kind of selfish brat. It's simply not true. Is he competitive? Absolutely. Should he have been more gracious to Reggie Bush when the trophy was awarded? Fine, if you need to see that. But let's not confuse competitiveness for a lack of character.

There is a lot of talk this time of year about assistant coaches changing jobs. I have asked out assistant coaches to focus on this game and this team. If after the game they want to look at another team, that's fine. But when we are focusing in this situation, we talk about team all year and we don't want to talk about individuals. If someone offered me another job, it would be an awful thing for me to talk to them between now and January 4th when for so long we have been talking about team all the time, then start talking about how to help themselves individually. We have asked our assistant coaches to stay away from discussions with other teams about jobs and I am staying away from discussions about other jobs.

This seems pretty standard and reasonable, but you have to bear in mind how attractive UT assistant coaches have been for other jobs over the course of Mack's tenure. This is something I'm happy to hear. We don't need any more distractions than those that already come with being in a game of this magnitude. (The Griffin/Taylor story is enough all on its own.)

We have also asked our juniors to stay away from discussions about their futures. If they want to leave after January 4, then okay. We will help them all we can. We have really spent two years preparing these guys to understand what the pros are about. So let's drop it until 12:00 midnight on the January 4. We want to be a team and to continue to focus on what got us here, which is not talking about our individual futures.

We just learned that Reggie Bush will be turning pro after this year, and questions will be swirling about Vince's future, too. I have mixed feelings on this. If Vince is going to stay, and he's sure of it, I'd rather him come out tomorrow and say, "I'm coming back. Period. End of story. Move on to something else." If he's ambivalent, then I can understand Mack's wishes. You can count on one hand the number of players that haven't stayed four years for Mack Brown, so my guess is Vince returns, but anything is possible.

As for travel plans, we will head out to Pasadena on December 28. The team will meet us out there and the staff will go on a charter. We will have our first practice on the 29th. We will have one day outside of what we would normally have in a week of preparation for the game.

FYI

The only reason people don't talk about USC's defense is that they spend all of their time talking about their offense. We keep trying to [look at film] and see if we can block a punt, but they don't punt. It is the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen.

Yep. We've been warning our readers for weeks now: Don't underestimate the USC defense. Pete Carroll is a defensive specialist. It just gets overlooked because their offense is so strong. I also think that it's reasonable to expect their defense to play better in this game than in the regular season. They're going to have a full month to get healthy and game plan. They'll be ready; no question about it. Vince Young and the Texas offense won't get any freebies.

We have been a team that people said couldn't win at Ohio State, couldn't get over the hump at Oklahoma and would probably mess up at A&M. People thought we couldn't get over the hump with Texas Tech, and we had to get over 2001 and the Big 12 Championship game. In every case, this team has been able to rise to the occasion. That is what is so much fun about the situation we are in right now. Our guys have great respect for USC and they know they have been the most dominating team in college football for years. What a great opportunity and challenge for us in our first National Championship game in 36 years to play the best. When you are playing the best, it gives us a chance to be the best. That is what we are looking for.

Amen, Mack. It's been tremendously difficult, but we've managed to root for USC all year here at Burnt Orange Nation. (Most of us, anyway.) If we're going to win the title, we want to beat the best, and USC is clearly the best. If we're going to lose, we want to lose to the best. We've proven, without a doubt, that we deserve our spot in this game. We'll find out if anyone can actually beat USC, but at least we get to play them. It's good for the team, the fans, and the sport. This is a dream come true, and we're going to enjoy it.

--PB--