Last weekend the Longhorn faithful and Head Coach Mack Brown breathed a sigh of relief as a season full of disappointment was capped off with a bowl win over the Oregon State Beavers. Four years ago this once proud program was playing for a national championship but since former quarterback Colt McCoy exhausted his eligibility the Longhorns have finished 5-7 (2010), 8-5 (2011), and 9-4 (2012). For a program that was voted the most profitable football program in the nation by Forbes Magazine the past three years has not only been completely unacceptable but also inexcusable.
Since Mack Brown took the helm in 1998 the Longhorns experienced nearly a decade of dominance with BCS bowl appearances, 9 consecutive ten win seasons, 4 Big XII Championships, and 1 BCS National Championship. However, the blueprint for the downfall of the Longhorn football program was laid when Coach Brown would wrap up recruiting at his infamous Texas junior days where all the top talent in Texas camped at over the summer. Although this technique helped the Longhorns secure the state’s best talent and build a pipeline to the pros with 35 former players on NFL rosters. The success that the program has experienced in the past has led to an over reliance on recruiting rankings, poor player evaluations, and fostered an arrogant aura of entitlement that has infected the entire program.
The Longhorns have attracted the state’s top talent for years with very little effort resulting in a revolving door of 5-star recruits, this easiness of attracting premiere athletes has led to the program obsessing over recruits heights and measurables preferring ‘pro-ready prospects over diamonds in the rough. The laziness of the coaching staff has led to a Longhorn team chock full of undisciplined over-sized gazelles who continue to infuriate their fan base with poor play on the field.
The frustration of the Longhorn fan base is further heightened when their bitter in-state rivals flourish and thrive with in-state players that the Longhorns did not offer scholarships too. Led by Coach Art Briles has produced a Heisman winner last year in RG III and led the nation in scoring with senior quarterback Florence at the helm, the Longhorns did not offer either recording breaking quarterback. The resurgent Southern Methodist Mustangs led by June Jones has yet to attract a instate 5-star recruit but somehow produced more NFL prospects last year than their deeper pocketed talented-filled in-state rival.
During their decade of dominance the thought of another coach at the helm was unconscionable and prospects never de-committed nor was the staff looking for better options. Nevertheless, it appears that the ride of dominion is over: Prospects are de-committing left and right; assistant coaches have one foot out the door preparing for the end of the Mack Brown era; and worst of all Texas A&M has now become the trendy school of choice for in-state prospects.
Although the Longhorns won their bowl game the fate of the program is uncertain: Will Mack Brown be fired or will he retire gracefully? When the time comes who will lead the Longhorns back to prominence? Who will be given the keys to the best the best job in the country, the number of interested candidates would be endless. Next season promises to be an exciting one.Stay tuned… I know I will. – A. Denmark #hookemhorns