”Nine (wins) isn’t enough, but I think everyone knows that,” said Brown, when talking about the Huskers place in the current college landscape. “Mike knows that, he’s very well aware. You have to get it back to the top-tier.”
Similar to Riley, Brown stepped into an elite program from a power-five school and knows the challenges of a job where everyone in the state is paying attention.
"I think Mike is perfect for this place. He's so much like a Frank Solich and a Tom Osborne, because he's humble, he's smart, he's polite. But at the same time, he's going to do a good job coaching football,” said Brown. “I'm excited to see him coaching here. I love Nebraska. I always have. We had great battles."
Brown says the perception that Mike Riley is too nice is all-wrong.
“He's much tougher than people think he is because he smiles and speaks to everybody,” said Brown. “He'll stop and shake every hand and take every picture. He's tough. He's disciplined. He's smart. I think we throw the word around too often probably, but he's as close to an offensive genius as you can be. I've seen him take a great running back and have him rush for 2,000 yards. I've seen him take a great quarterback and throw it all the time and have him throw it for 2,000 yards.”
Best fans in college football?
After quite a few battles with Nebraska over the years, Brown said Nebraska fans are one of a kind.
”We won in 98 and Ricky Williams had a great game,” said Brown, remembering it snapped Nebraska’s 47-game winning streak at home. “We walked off the field. We had just been interviewed by ABC. I told Ricky to put his helmet on and duck your head, because they are probably not going to be nice – nobody had left the stadium.”
What happened next was something Brown will remember forever.
”They started a chant…Heisman, Heisman, Heisman,” said Brown.
“I had such respect for Nebraska in that moment. It wouldn’t happen any other place in America.” - Mack Brown
Brown actually called former Texas head coach Darrell Royal that night to explain what happened.
“He said ‘you need to get the Texas fans to act that way.’ I told him, ‘they are booing me; they aren’t going to yell for me. We can’t get that done in Austin.’ I do think the Nebraska people and the football fans here are the best I have ever seen.”
* Brown said Nebraska’s facilities are up there with anyone’s in the country, pointing to the practice areas and weight room. “They have everything here to be successful.”
* Brown said that it would have to be the perfect situation to get back into coaching, and doesn’t know what that would be.
* The former UT head coach said in 99 he thought Nebraska had the best team in the country, despite beating them. When he said it, there was an “Amen” from the back row. It was former Nebraska assistant coach George Darlington. It immediately drew a smile from Brown and the two embraced.
* Brown misses Colorado, Texas A&M, and Nebraska in the Big 12 and says the conference will have to evaluate how they prepare for the College Football Playoff going forward after TCU’s snub last season.