"Reenergized" Brown Speaks

A "reenergized" Mack Brown sat down with reporters Monday to talk for the first time since replacing two-thirds of his staff over the offseason.

"I said last year (that) I'm responsible for everything that happens," Brown said. "After 13 years here and 26-plus years as a head coach in college football, sometimes you have to look hard in that mirror and review who you are and what you are and start over."

That change is certainly apparent on the new coaching staff, which returns just three assistant coaches from a year ago. Six new faces will grace the halls of the Moncrief Complex, helping to kick-start a series of changes that Brown said were much needed.

To find out the root of Texas's problems, Brown said every player was given a survey and asked to cite concerns or questions. The questionnaires, which were not anonymous, were only given to Brown, who said he tore them up after reading them. Brown declined to mention any of the general or more popular complaints, citing that the survey results were "private."

In the end, the result was a sweep through of the coaching staff, a group that Brown said was "a great staff for Texas." He said he warded off the longevity question before the interviewees had a chance to ask it.

"It was an obvious question," Brown said. "When you have a coach-in-waiting, it puts question marks into how long you're going to coach. I told them I was back in the game. I was full speed ahead.

"I wouldn't be working this hard on recruiting and hiring coaches if I wasn't in it for a long time, and I basically told them that Texas fans were going to have to put up with me for a long time," Brown said. "I'm back at work."

One of the areas that will see major changes is on special teams, which will become a unit coached by seemingly every coach on staff. Major Applewhite will handle kickoff return, as he did at the end of last year. New offensive line coach Stacy Searels — who Brown called "a great coach" — will coach the extra point and field goal units. Oscar Giles will primarily be in charge of kickoff coverage. Punt block and punt return will be Jerry Gray. Brown said he would also devote more of his attention to the group, as would defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who has special teams coordinating experience.

"It's something I think the head coach needs to be involved with because it sends a message to the guys that you want as many people on special teams as you can possibly get," Brown said.

Those people will be younger than the previous staff — average age 42-years-old — and they've won. The nine assistant coaches have been to 71 bowls, winning 44 of those games. They've gone to 23 BCS bowls, winning 16. And they've won five national titles in 12 national title game appearances.

"We tried really hard to hire guys that wanted to be at Texas," Brown said. "That's something that coach (Darrell) Royal told me five or six years ago: hire guys that want to be there. Hire guys that have earned the right, and they're excited to be there and that's fun."

Brown said he was amazed that the recruiting class stayed almost in-tact through all of the changes, and credited returning assistants Applewhite, Giles and Bruce Chambers, along with Ken Rucker and Marcus Tubbs with holding the class together. Rucker, Texas's coordinator for high school relations, and Tubbs, Texas special assistant for player relations, even hit the road for a little while to help out.

Brown said he didn't expect any more assistant coach defections at this time.

As for what went wrong in the first place, Brown pointed at a variety of factors, including talent development and an emotional layover from dropping the National Championship game to Alabama. Brown said the staff needed to work carefully on recruiting evaluation as well, though he said the program still had plenty of talent.

"I do think our players are good enough to win," Brown said. "I think when coaches say they're not, it's an excuse."

Most importantly, Brown talked about getting back to the roots of winning, the process rather than the wins themselves. Texas will start that process when spring practices starts Thursday, Feb. 24, and will carry it through the spring game on Sunday, April 3.

"I'm going to go back where we're going to enjoy wins if they're ugly," Brown said. "After this year, I think it's a wake-up call, and it's something I need to go back to work and worry more about teaching the kids and their experience and developing those young people instead of winning.

"If you do those things like we'e done for 12 years, you win," Brown said. "When you start thinking about winning and forget the process, then you get ahead of yourself and they feel that too."

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