Outside of the too numerous to count statistics coming off the, ahem, trouncing of Ole Miss, Mack Brown seemed to be in a jovial mood meeting with media today. And who could blame him? His often snubbed true sophomore quarterback, David Ash, was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week and Davey O'Brien National Quarterback of the Week for his breakout performance in Saturday's big win.
The last several seasons has seen rise to the Southeastern Conference as a "physical" league. I don't discount the flowering commentary. They back the smack with 6 straight national championships. I get it. And so does Mack. The lingering nightmares of the 2010 BCS Championship game fueled just about every decision after the 2010 abysmal season results. Make no mistake, Mack had this game circled on his calendar for some time. This was his first game against an SEC opponent since that surreal January evening in Pasadena. Sure, the game came against a team that only won 2 games last season, but to put up the most points on the road during his coaching tenure AND post the most non-conference points against an SEC team in the history of that league, well, you just can't write that kind of script.
Fast forward a couple of seasons and Mack now has arguably assembled a foundation of a physical run first, pass as necessary, overpower defensively machine that is starting to showcase where the ceiling might reach. As a Longhorn fan it has been such a rewarding experience to watch daily the decision process and development of the program's transition into a dominating personality.
While the non-conference slate is now in the team's rearview mirror, the team did not escape without some questionable injuries. Anthony Fera is assumed to be the starting place kicker against OSU. Hicks (left leg) is held out of practice this week along with Bergeron (shoulder) and Santos (calf..no not the sacrificial kind). It was announced that their status will be reviewed after this weekend to determine availability against the Cowboys.
On running up the score:
Like PB mentioned, I too was disappointed the coaching staff elected not to attempt scoring on 3rd and goal from the 1/2 yard line. It's really a shame that Roberson did not cross into the end zone on that 2nd down run. Be that as it may, there appears to have been quite a bit of chatter among player and coaches as to the end of game decision process to "take a knee". Coach Mack Brown reserves the right to make those type of decisions and was unequivocal in his affirmation today.
What we told the guys is, "We're glad you're competitive, and want to score. Coaches coach, and you play. I'll make those decisions, you don't. When I make a decision, you do what I say and move forward with it. That's what we got.
I get the point. But as a fan that does not mean I have to settle. Kids work hard. Just like they did on 4th and 6 with 3:13 remaining. But what's another score? Ole Miss had nothing left in the tank and was unable to get off the field for the last eight and one half minutes of the game. You can only run out the clock so much. Then you take a knee on 4th down? I just think at some point the philosophy has to be somewhat flexible. Just how I see it. With that said, I respect others opinions on the matter and would appreciate the same courtesy.
The man behind Ash:
Mack was asked about the relationship between Ash and his coach, Brian Harsin. Coach did not mince words in stating what a tough hand Harsin was dealt last season. Barely a year removed from having four quarterbacks, Harsin not only had to implement a system but he had to do it with a couple of quarterbacks cutting their teeth on playing competitive college football for the first time. Struggles ensued and inconsistencies at the position ultimately defined the teams potential. But progress was made and the efforts by the quarterbacks during the offseason have paid dividends early in the 2012 campaign.
I think it's a real credit to David that he didn't get his head down. David's got tremendous faith and kept fighting and competing to get to where he wants to. It's a credit for Bryan not to give up. Bryan Harsin is one of the most positive human beings I've ever seen. He's upbeat at practice, upbeat about his offense, and as a play-caller. He believes in what we're doing and thinks we're going to get really good at it. I've said, I think we've seen pieces of it here and there. I thought we saw a really good offensive football team Saturday night, understanding now the competition will get better.
This position was one of the biggest question marks entering the season as most believed the maturation would take another full season before big time expectations were warranted. I think we now need to ratchet up the timeline.
On setting the right expectations:
Maturity is a funny thing. It's mostly about experiences. And the more you have, the more you're able to project and move forward at a measured pace. It's certainly an easy path to think a class can be "aced" if you start out smoking the first couple of pop quizes and the first major test. But having gone through that process you know that the ace-ing isn't a forgone conclusion until after the end is met. Coach made a point today to send a message to his team.
Around here, it's a younger team, so we'll talk to them. I think the environment here is we get too high too fast, we get too low too fast. I think they pretty much understand what they've got ahead of them. That's the good thing. We bring them back down to earth when we watch video. They all see video. They know who is playing good, who is not.
It's good to be excited and enjoy a well earned road win, especially the caliber as evidenced against Ole Miss. But the season is long and the resurgent Big 12 conference season awaits.
I just hope that if we are faced with 3rd and 1 on the OU goal line with a chance to post half a hundred we don't take a knee. Just sayin'.