Mack Brown: ‘To assure yourself – with our current system – a chance to play at the end, you’ve got to win all the games.”August 6, 2009 – 6:00 am by Michael Bean
45-31. That’s the number Texas Longhorns fans won’t soon forget. It was the score of the Red River Rivalry game last year between the ‘Horns and the eventual Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners. Texas, OU and Texas Tech eventually all finished tied atop the Big 12 South standings, but as per conference regulations, OU was named the representative of the South in the Big 12 Championship game. They would go on to beat Mizzou and be rewarded with a shot at a BCS National Championship against Florida. Texas, meanwhile, felt they were robbed, as they lost only one game last year – at the last second no less – on the road in Lubbock. Despite beating OU soundly earlier in the year, they were left out of the biggest games of the year. Longhorns head coach Mack Brown isn’t the type to harp on the past, and he has a loaded team this year to make another run at glory.
Brown joined KLAC in Los Angeles to talk about his senior quarterback Colt McCoy and the 2009 season that awaits his highly ranked Longhorns.
On if his team has forgotten what happened to them last year with the BCS rankings and if they will use that as a motivating or revenge type factor in 2009:
“I don’t think you forget it, but you move forward from it. And we had to get over it before we played Ohio State, because it was a very difficult thing, it was hard to understand. The players needed a voice, and I tried to be the voice for them that said we didn’t agree with the Big 12 tiebreaker rule. And we didn’t agree with the way the game was set up with the computers to keep us out. But we also understood that’s the way it was. And what we could have done was beaten Texas Tech and then the computers or the Big 12 tiebreaker would not have been an issue. So we understood our responsibility in it and then had to go work to create an edge to play Ohio State. Whether it’s about revenge and all those things, we’ve got 130 guys on the team, and 70-something of them will play on a weekly basis. And each one of them really puts themselves in a certain mind-frame to prepare to play. And I’ve never felt like revenge is a great thing. I know that we felt like we didn’t play well at Tech last year. We played hard but we didn’t play well. And I know that they also know that to assure yourself – with our current system – a chance to play at the end, you’ve got to win all the games.”
On just how much of an edge senior quarterback Colt McCoy gives the Longhorns heading in to 2009:
“The biggest advantage we think is he’s a leader on the field. He can run your offseason program basically before spring practice. He’s a great leader both sides of the ball in spring. And there’s some workouts that occur after that. But even more so in those 7-on-7s in the summer and then the things that the kids do that are voluntary. You’ve got a guy that the guys all respect and want to be there for. So, they can get so much done without you as a coach being out there. And then obviously when you look at the other side of it, out there he knows what to do. You have to be careful not to give him too much offensively because he can do whatever. But he’s not going to make the bad plays and he’s going to put himself and the team in a position to make the really good play. So most of the time, the older quarterbacks are the ones who end up winning in the end.”
On former championship winning quarterback Vince Young and whether he thinks he’ll be able to live up to his recent claim that he’ll be the next African American quarterback to win a Super Bowl:
“We have talked to Vince on an ongoing basis and consistently text him. And I’m not changing my position at all. I think sometimes things happen so quickly for young people, that it really has them take a step back and reassess where they are and where they’re going. And it’s probably a good thing. You see that Vince goes out, wins a national championship, first year, he not only takes the Titans to the playoffs, he is the first rookie also to ever play in a Pro Bowl. And things are just happening so well and so quickly and then he hurts his knee, all of the saga about the bullying and him getting down and Kerry taking over. I think he’s in a great position right now because he’ll compete to get the job back but he and Kerry Collins have been close. He can learn from Kerry, he can watch. And again, most of the quarterbacks that are winning Super Bowls have been around for awhile. You look at last year, what’s happened with Roethlisberger has been just amazing. He’s been one of the few young quarterbacks to win. Kurt Warner’s been around forever. And I go back to Troy Aikman and Peyton Manning – two of the best young quarterbacks to ever play the game – and both of them were on teams that did very, very poorly early in their career. And in the end, they were both able to win Super Bowls. So I think we’re in great shape. Vince is learning a lot and he’s moving forward and I still expect him to be in that Super Bowl and win it.”