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Mack Brown 12/20 Press Conference Breakdown

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As we did with his last press conference, we're going to dive in to Mack's most recent comments to the media, providing both quotes and our own takes on each comment.

I am really proud of our team and the class they have shown on and off the field for the last eight years. When we have had a very seldom incident come up, we have handled it firmly and moved forward. Obviously, we had a few young guys that were out later than we would have liked them to be. We have dealt with them within our team and we have talked to the team about it. The Austin Police Department has got an investigation of an incident downtown. We have given them our full support from the athletic department to the university to our football team. At this point, no one has been charged and we are moving forward.

The biggest non-issue issue in a long time, thanks to our favorite local police department's inept handling of the matter. Considering how minor the incident was, their inability to provide timely, informative updates on what exactly was going on caused the stir. It didn't help that everyone got on their knees for a certain female blogger from USC.

The bottom line is that Cedric Griffin and Ramonce Taylor were out on 6th street, they got into a shouting match at some point, and someone filed a report to the police. The investigation yielded no criminal behavior, no charges were filed, and the incident was handled in house by Mack Brown, most likely with some stern warnings about the dangers of losing focus and putting yourself in a position to get in trouble.

The most important thing, in my mind, though, is that I have no doubt Mack Brown would have suspended either player without hesitation had there been any serious wrongdoing. He's never wavered in that regard before, and I can't imagine he'd start now.

In any case... the case is closed. Moving on.

These are 18-year-old and 20-or 21-year-old guys. They are young people. I get accused of stuff all the time. It is just something you have to handle. And then you move forward.

It's easy to forget this, especially on the internet where verbal grenades are tossed with careless ease. These very talented and physical young men are still very young, despite their high profiles in public life. Cedric Griffin and Ramonce Taylor made some bad choices, and the price you pay for being a successful, high profile program is this kind of scrutiny. In the end, though, these guys will learn their lessons and move forward.

The Rose Bowl people were here today and they are nearly giddy about this match-up. You have the past two Rose Bowl champions, which is very unusual. I don't know how many times we have had No. 1 and No. 2 against each other when both were undefeated. That would be interesting to go back and look at.

But then you have the three guys that were in New York for the Heisman in this game, the last two Heisman trophy winners are in this game, which is hard to believe. I think that probably the most interesting thing is that both teams have scored 50 points-a-game, which is just unheard of.

Then you get into defenses watching film, and it reminds us of our coaches talking about trying to block a punt. But USC doesn't punt. Their punter didn't letter because they move the ball so well. It has been an issue where it is the match-up that everybody wanted since last year. How unusual that this game is coming to fruition for everybody? These two teams now have the responsibility to make sure that the game is as big as the buildup.

BFJ was whining on his blog that Mack Brown doesn't respect the USC defense, but we've highlighted at least three or four times where Mack has given props to the USC defense. To say that we're underestimating the USC defense is a mistake, and one neither Mack Brown, nor we here at BON, are making.

This is an outstanding matchup between two great teams, and whichever team makes fewer mistakes and turnovers is going to win it. USC fans can snivel all they want about not getting enough respect. Frankly, when you're getting the kind of national blow job that these Trojans are getting, throwing that kind of a pity party just comes across as spoiled whining.

The rest of us realize that we've got two truly elite football teams preparing to play one another. I have no doubt that both teams, and coaches, understand this. And it's true: if USC forces five turnovers against Texas, as they did against OU last year, we'll get blown out.

But make no mistake about it: if USC comes out flat themselves, this is a Texas team that can take advantage of mistakes and beat them. We may be slight underdogs, but this is no mismatch. If both teams play well, it's going to be a great game.

The other part that's huge in this one is the turnover ratio. (USC) having 22 interceptions is phenomenal; we have only had ten. We have both protected the ball but they have forced more turnovers than we have. So if you take the kicking game as an "X spot" to see who is going to win the game, that's huge. I think more than anything else it has been Southern California's ability to force turnovers that has made them 34-0 on top of being really good. I think that is just what has really separated them from a lot of people.

I'm really not making this stuff up. And I really mean it when I say that USC fans complaints about us not respecting them comes off as spoiled whining. I can honestly say that I've never encountered a more obnoxious group of fans. And that's saying something, considering our main rivals.

Obviously, Coach Chizik knows how good they are. That is one of the last games Gene has lost. But SC hasn't changed a lot since last year. Matt Leinart has just been phenomenal. We are seeing Vince Young have a phenomenal career here at 29-2, and Matt is 37-1. Every time I hear that, I think about how many years and how few losses that is. And there are so many similarities in these two teams with the offense, the defense and with the influence that Greg [Robinson] brought us last year and that Gene continues to bring to the table this year. There aren't many surprises in this game, though. These two teams have been very visible in the last few years and I don't think anybody is going to surprise anybody in this game.

Maybe, maybe not. I'm not totally convinced that USC's fans appreciate how good Vince Young is yet, but it's not particularly important. Both Pom Pom Carroll and Mack Brown will be preparing their teams to face the best competition that any of them have faced to date.

Enjoy your Christmas holiday everyone. Come next week we'll continue our Rose Bowl coverage with extensive breakdowns of the game, building on our skill positional breakdowns from last week. And, of course, we'll have our official prediction of the game. For now, enjoy the time with your friends and family and take a moment away from sports to appreciate all the great things in your life.

Okay, forget ditching sports. We won't be either. But do take a moment to take thanks for all the good things in your life.

--PB--