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A Word On Criticism

We've been uncharacteristically critical of the Longhorn football coaches this week. Those criticisms have elicited passionate responses across the board, from "I totally agree" to "You're being too kind" to "I expect better from BON."

I only want to address the latter of the three right now.

The comments that run along the line of "I'd expect Burnt Orange Nation not to swoop into the mud of excessive Mack Brown criticizing" are, I think universally, from long-time readers. With that critical qualification in mind, I can't help but cry foul on the charges at hand.

Why? Because the comments themselves imply a rational, reasonable approach to Texas fandom and analysis here at the website. I like to think that the characterization of this blog as a rational forum for discussion is accurate. We've praised Mack Brown joyously, but maintained the credibility of this site by avoiding charges of being a pure "homer" forum for Longhorn fans to hide in. We're quick to praise our heroes, but we're never shy about bringing down the hammer when we're disappointed.

As such, I'm not clear why the criticisms surrounding Saturday, and Saturday's aftermath, are being judged as over the top. A freshman reader of this site might make that judgment, but they'd do so without the body of evidence that's preceded the last four days. But I don't understand how longtime readers of this site can think this site is anything short of pro-Mack Brown.

One needn't look any further back than July 17th, when I wrote this piece defending Mssr. Brown. Or August 10th, when we wrote this.

More importantly, none of this week's criticisms have even remotely approached "Mack Brown sucks" status. We've called out players and coaches alike for mistakes made on Saturday night. We've been clear about how good our opponent was, we've insisted that readers not head for the nearest bridge to contemplate a panic jump, and we've reiterated our support for Mack Brown as the best possible man to coach this football team.

This is a tough time for all of us. I'm certain that the sting of our first defeat in 21 games has elicited a bit more sourness than is usual around these parts, but that's mostly a product of circumstance, not philosophy.

At the end of the day, we do feel Greg had a subpar evening. We think that Gene Chizik - BON hero - got outcoached. And we think that Mack Brown blew it by even responding to a clock rule quesiton in the manner that he did. As we've praised him endlessly for his media relations before, we'll ding him for this blunder. (And to Link, who left this idiotic comment, you've shown your age again. It's not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination. I'll let the gallery handle specific rebuttals.)

Anyway, I just want to preempt any more "BON should be above this" comments by noting that the respect we've earned during times of glory is only as good as it remains consistent during times of struggle. We're talking about the difference between criticism versus praise, but the foundational philosophy remains the same. We won't let irrational boneheads diminish what Mack Brown did. And we won't let our immense Texas and Mack Brown pride prevent us from calling out mistakes. They're equally valid, and equally important.

For those of you who are out there, reading every day, and making sure we stay on task... well, thank you. Even though I don't think this particular criticism is valid, the reason this site has been designed to be so community-oriented is because we want it to be a discussion. And we want to be told when we're wrong.

Hook 'Em

--PB--