Mack Brown faced with decisions
AUSTIN, Texas -- Just like other college football fans, Mack Brown can kick back, turn on the television and spend the next several weeks channel surfing between bowl games.
He's got the time.
For the first time in nearly 20 years, Brown isn't coaching in a bowl because his Texas Longhorns finished 5-7 and didn't qualify for one.
That doesn't mean, however, that his days won't be busy.
Minutes after Texas lost to rival Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night, Brown said he'll take a hard look at his assistant coaches, players and staff as he tries to fix what went wrong in the Longhorns' worst season since 1997.
"I have a lot of work to do here," Brown said. "There's no timeframe on it, no timetable."
Some Texas fans are howling for Brown to make major changes on his staff, including firing or demoting his longtime offensive coordinator Greg Davis.
To force Davis out would be one of the toughest moves of Brown's career. The two have coached together for 16 years dating back to their days at Tulane and North Carolina.
After the loss, Davis sounded like he expects to remain on the job.
"The thing that coach Brown has done for 13 years is try and build a program, not a team," Davis said. "I think our program has a solid foundation. This was obviously a disappointing season and some of these things are correctable. They are things that we will begin immediately trying to get corrected as we head into the offseason."
Brown has deflected questions about his staff for months, saying he evaluates assistant coaches after every season. About two weeks ago, he noted that the same staff led Texas to a 25-2 mark over the two previous seasons, including a Fiesta Bowl victory, a Big 12 championship and an appearance in the 2009 national championship game just 10 months ago.
Brown said he feels no outside pressure to make any changes.
"Whatever decisions will be made, I'll make them," Brown said. "I'm lucky that [athletic director] DeLoss [Dodds] and [president] Bill Powers trust me to do the things that I need to do to fix things."
They pay Brown $5 million a year to make decisions and get them right.
At least one player said he didn't think there will be major changes in the coaching staff.
"I don't feel like it will be a whole new staff," junior tailback Fozzy Whittaker said. "It is just going to be a lot of players playing harder ... and fighting in the weight room and the offseason in training and preparation. And I am sure the coaches will be doing the same."
The Longhorns players will get a hard look, too, as Brown evaluates his depth chart.
Texas expected a seamless transition from McCoy to Gilbert and didn't get it. Gilbert threw nine touchdowns and his 17 interceptions was two shy of the school record.
"At this point, it's tough to look back on the entire year," Gilbert said after last week's loss to Texas A&M. "It's about learning from our mistakes and moving forward."
On the other side of the ball, opposing running backs ripped third-year coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp's defense for big plays and yards as Texas was victimized by poor tackling or players being out of position.
In every loss, opponents had a 100-yard rusher (Kansas State had two) and Texas A&M's Cyrus Gray ran for 223 yards, the most for the Aggies since 1995. The Longhorns were notably pushed around in the second half in losses to UCLA, Iowa State and Baylor.
Texas has dominated recruiting in the Lone Star State for years. Brown annually signs a freshman class rated among the best in the country and is expected to do the same next February.
Were some of those players simply overrated? Brown won't blame this season on inferior talent.
"I think it goes back on coaches. It's not talent," Brown said. "People have said it's talent. It's not."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES
- S. Carolina RB Davis draft-bound after bowl
- Howard RB killed in robbery called 'good kid'
- Chippewas' rally, lateral heroics not enough
- Harbaugh's brother: Family staying out of it