At this very same time two years ago, Coach Brown spoke about a fire in a Houston hotel that portended to be more of perfect metaphor than an actual logistics problem for program's operation manager. Mack Brown has stated numerous times his disdain for that team's entitlement attitude along with the lack of inclusive behavior (old's vs. young's). But these were symptomatic of the overarching issues with that team. That being Mack Brown was mad. He was mad at fate, or maybe even his God, that the Colt led Longhorns were unable to achieve another national championship losing to Alabama in the Rose Bowl. It wasn't so much the loss but the fact that the rug was pulled out underneath him with nothing but a bottomless pit exposed underneath. It pissed him off that he hadn't game simulated appropriately for such a situation. He was embarrassed.
His attitude was manifested in an opening remark about his team's performance against Rice.
I left the stadium mad. I'm too old to do that. It was [being] mad over the same things that you all are mad about. It was obvious. What you see is that most of what you did was really good. The kids had low pads for an opening game. We missed opportunities all over the place. So the score wasn't what anybody wanted, which really is unimportant. The win is what is important.
The season unfolded pretty much the way his leadership and attitude showed. It was like beating your head against the wall on the repeat rinse cycle.
Fast forward two years. After starting basically from scratch after his worst season as a head coach since his early days in Chappell Hill, a rejuvenated Mack Brown is now seeing some fruit from his rework labor. Impressive was his attitude after the season opening win Saturday against Wyoming vowing never again to be mad about winning a football game.
I'm really excited with the win. Really proud of our guys. I thought our team played well together.
I'm happy to win. Happy to get it behind us. Nobody got hurt. There are a lot of things we can build on. A lot of great things from the night. Happy to have two 100- yard rushers. Happy to get the ball down the field some.
I feel good. I wanted to get mad some. You give up an 80-yard run after the catch, and we can fix that. Those are things that we can fix. It's good that the offense had success tonight throwing and running because that will boost their confidence a little bit going into next week.
Coach Brown is a glass half-full kind of coach. The eternal optimist you might say. He'll discuss the team's effort in that tone with "a lot to improve upon but that's better than thinking you're better than you are" talk. But don't expect him to be angry and certainly don't expect him to be ungrateful.
This suit certainly fits him better than Half-Mad Mack, don't you think?
All Eyes turn to the most important game this season. The next one.
Anthony Fera's status?
David Ash - Pedestrian, no risk, performance. Must work on pass release timing if Texas is to succeed through the air.
Pass Defense - Spacing and tackling. Expect these two things to receive much attention as the unit showed poorly in both against Wyoming.
Offensive Line - The middle was tested early and while they fought hard to a draw, the expectation was we would be able to handle the opposing Wyoming DL front pretty handedly. Well, the Cowboys proved better here than expected. And Harsin rightfully kept coming back to the middle to allow our guys opportunities to gain game speed reps. In the end we were able to wear them down as their depth was limited. That won't be the case against conference foes. I expect Coach Searels will experiment with different line-ups against this week's opponent.
Offense - MVP's were Joe Bergeron & Malcolm Brown. Mason Walters was "Bevo Beast" (top OL).
Defense - MVP's were Alex Okafor & Jackson Jeffcoat. Kenny Vaccaro won "Ball Hawk" award for his interception. Carrington Byndum won "Hard Hat" award for best hit.
Special Teams MVP - Josh Turner
Head Coach: Bob Davie (1st year)
2011 Season: 1-12
Bowl Game: None
2012 Season: 1-0
Returning Starters: 13 (6 defense; 7 offense)
Wyoming players to watch:
H.R. Holbrook - Returning QB. Was hobbled by illness before game but played sparingly to start. He was efficient (6-8-1, 58 yds) on his three series at the helm leading the Lobos with all three ending in touchdowns.
Cole Gautsche - Surprise true freshman dual-threat quarterback. He acquitted himself nicely subbing in for Holbrook gaining 88 yards on 8 carries and scoring 2 rushing touchdowns.
Cole's Bio: New Mexico Gatorade POY in 2011. Led ¬¬V. Sue Cleveland Storm to an undefeated season and New Mexico state 5A championship in same year. Threw for 3,085 yards and 39 TD's while doing so. He added an additional 23 rushing TD's and 1,218 yards on the ground.
Demarcus Rogers - Wide receiver turned running back. Former Oak Ridge H.S. (Tennessee) prep star was 2nd leading rusher on the 2011 team. He went over the century mark against Southern with a workmanlike 13 carries for 103 yards and one touchdown. He's a smallish back (5-11, 190) and probably good at hitting the edge quickly.
This is where New Mexico has been penalized the last several seasons. Bob Davie is somewhat of an expert at this as the overseer of A&M's Wrecking Crew even though his last real action as a football coach was well over a decade ago. While facing a Southern team that was unable to prepare much of the week due to hurricane Isaac, the Lobo's held the Jaguars to one TD in the first half only after their offense sprinted out to a 35-0 lead. Before that 6 play, 75 yard drive, New Mexico kept Southern on the southern half of the field. They did give up 242 yards passing but that is probably due to giving Southern dink and dunk in mop up duty. This unit will be tested early as Harsin will look to spread their starters thin in what is likely to be another hot, humid evening at DKR.
TXs Keys to the Game
With a pedestrian effort against Wyoming, the vertical passing reps must increase to better timing and confidence. Getting it done in practice is one thing. But the explosives in this area need to pick up as the slate of Big 12 conference foes requiring higher scoring output is only a month away. Yes, this means Goodwin should be the primary target. And often is preferable.
Winning the turnover battle is highly correlated to winning on the field. Texas showed good in this statistic on Saturday winning the ratio. Taking care of the ball will be key against New Mexico as they had 3 turnovers (2 INT's and 1 fumble) against Southern. Oh, and 2 of those turnovers were returned for touchdowns.
New Mexico has a couple of good dual-threat quarterbacks. And if we thought the Wyoming Cowboys showed moxie on offense, the Lobos come in with a nice skin on the wall in Coach Bob Davie's home opening win against Southern. His offense flooded the Jaguars defenders with a rushing attack that grossed 386 yards and 5 TD's. This should be a stiffer test for a rush defense than what Wyoming put up.
Special Teams -
As mentioned last week, Nick Rose has a booming leg and a kickoff specialist the likes of which we've not seen in a Longhorn jersey during the Mack Brown era. He was able to kick it just about where he was told. And his supporting cast of wedge busters (Santos and Turner). New Mexico might be a step up for this squad as return man Chase Clayton housed a 98 yarder their opening game.
Hopefully we won't have to practice field goals although the practice wouldn't hurt.
Join us here for live presser notes.