Mack Brown is a “gets it” guy. He is a master politician, who says all the right things, yet never seems contrived. So when he opens up and lets some of his stronger feelings through – though still in a very congenial way – it’s definitely of note. The Texas head coach does not go on any rant or outburst here, but he does delve into a couple of topics for which he has strong opinions – college agents and super conferences.
The way Brown sees it, agents recruiting players should be treated like college coaches recruiting players, with fixed windows for contact and fixed rules. That seems to make sense and, since the NFLPA governs the agents and agent certification process, that should be easier to regulate than one might expect. Brown cares about his players and doesn’t want to see his school ever get into jeopardy with the NCAA. That’s pretty straight-forward and easily said. From him though, it’s believable to the point that his conviction further leads us to believe that he follows the recruiting rules set for him as well.
With conference realignment, there are fewer obvious stances. Texas had/has the power to act as it pleases and choose any road that is best for it. For now that road is to remain in the “Big 12,” but for Brown it seems that we’ll see four 16-team super conferences sooner rather than later – whenever TV is ready for it. It’s an intriguing concept, a unique compromise in the BCS vs. playoff debate. Watch for Texas to be at the forefront of all conference realignment discussions for years to come.
When Mack Brown is still talking about these topics, they are definitely not over.
Mack Brown joined Marc and John on KILT in Houston to talk about joining a conference call on interaction between college players and agents with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, whether the college coaches of the NFLPA needs to lead the change in agent behavior, the prospects of 16-team super conferences coming soon, how the team is looking in training camp, a desire to play preseason games and Garrett Gilbert stepping in for Colt McCoy at quarterback.
On the conference call with Roger Goodell regarding agents interactions with players:
“The problem are not agents. It’s not the guys that are doing what they’re supposed to do. Those guys are upfront. It hurts them when other guys break the rules and they don’t come on campus, they call parents, they call high school coaches and they call the kids. We’re all just looking at what we can do to make it better for the kids and therefore the universities and the agents that do it right. Pro scouts, the NFL Players’ Association are all involved because obviously it’s all the recruitment of professional players off of our campus… I’ve been so impressed with Commissioner Goodell. He’s aware of the issues and trying do everything to help. The Players’ Association is trying to reach out and help. No one wants to see a player lose his credibility in college, lose his chance to play and obviously maybe not have the right guy to prepare for his future. If the guy is going to cheat on him early, he’s going to cheat on him later.“
On if the onus is more on college coaches or the NFL to change:
“I really believe it starts with us because we have to educate the high school coach, the mom and dad that there are runners all over the place. We have to tell them that it is wrong. We are lucky here that we have enough guys here that are successful in the NFL that have good agents that we have a track record now of which agents are taking care of the young men and going through the process. We spend the better parts of 12 days a year with the agent education process. I do think that we can have more strict rules. I do think that it’s got to be more like recruiting. I think that the NFL Players’ Association has to put more restrictions on the agents like the NCAA has put restrictions on us. There need to be some dead periods. I don’t think that young guys should be able to talk to agents year round. If you’re out and someone takes a picture of a player eating with an agent, how can we prove he didn’t pay for that lunch? Right now, it’s a little bit too loose. I think we can all work to tighten it up.”
On the conference realignment discussions from the off-season:
“I think that we are seeing the potential down the road to have 16-team conferences and maybe have four huge conferences. That will change the scope of college football and it will probably change the scope of the BCS and what happens at the end. I thought that this is what that was really about. It was about down the road 10-15 years and people starting to look what would happen. If it had been a move of either (Texas) A&M to the SEC or a group of us to the Pac 10, then it would have changed all of the other conferences because it sounded like most would have gone to 16 teams… We weren’t ready and I don’t think TV was ready to get all of this 16-team conferences. It might even go 20. I’m excited that it worked out like it did. We had opportunities to go anywhere we wanted to so it would have worked out for Texas.”
On how is team is looking in training camp:
“I think we’ve done really well for our first four or five days here. We’ve pushed the kids really hard. The freshman are working hard. We’ve told some of the guys that didn’t perform as well in the spring that freshman would come in and have their first shot if the other guys didn’t do their job. We’re doing that and now the other guys are competing. Probably the thing that I like the most is that our older guys are helping this great freshman class, helping coach them.”
On how he will know the kind of team he has:
“First, we’d like to have preseason games. That would be great if we could go play about three or four preseason games. We’d know a whole lot more about ourselves then we will in the opener. It’s funny, when fans see us play Rice, that’s the first time we’ve seen some of these guys in front of a big crowd. That’s why openers scare you.”
And on Garrett Gilbert replacing Colt McCoy at quarterback:
“He’s really getting more comfortable as a leader. When you got a guy like Colt McCoy who is the most accurate passer in college football history and the winningest quarterback in college football history, he’s stepping in to take a guy’s place just like Colt did when he took Vince Young’s place. It’s a very difficult transition for a young quarterback. Now that Colt’s gone, Garrett’s taking over and he’s feeling good.”