Mack Brown To Finger Pointers: 'It's On Me'

Following Texas&#146; excruciating 38-28 loss to Arkansas, head coach <B>Mack Brown </B>spent both Sunday morning and afternoon meeting with coaches and dissecting the game film. This is what Brown said in the aftermath of Texas&#146; first home loss in nearly four years and the most points surrendered at DKR in six seasons.

"When you win a game there are a lot of things that are problems that nobody looks at very closely," Brown said. "Even as coaches, there are probably some things you let go even after you win. After a loss, you’re too critical because you’re never as good as you look after a 66-7 win and you’re never as bad as you look after a 38-28 loss. We don’t blame the players here. We put it on us. We brag on the guys that played well, because a lot of guys played really well. And it goes unnoticed on days where you lose."

Added Brown, "You always look hard at personnel, you look hard at simplifying, and you look hard at what you didn’t do well and (ask) how do you get it fixed. Those are the things that we need to do. There’s a certain amount of your football life that dies when you lose. There’s some depression. There’s some anger. There’s some confusion. And, if you’re not careful, there can be some finger pointing. We’ve been fortunate here not to have any of that. Those are all the things you have to deal with today. You try to correct and move forward without taking a step back in your team chemistry."

Brown’s biggest concern was not a rushing offense (MIA since the Iowa State game in October, 2002) but a sporadic defense that gave up big plays at the worst possible moments.

"You can’t give up seven explosives (big yardage plays) and expect to win," Brown said. "They were critical explosives at a time when we were fighting back into the game."

The defense surrendered more rushing yards on two plays (Cedric Cobbs46-yard TD right after FL Tony Jeffery fumbled at midfield and then QB Matt Jones3rd-and-1 naked bootleg that went for 39 yards that put the game on ice on the fourth quarter) than the Texas offense generated all afternoon (62 yards on 29 carries).

"When we responded and made plays, we didn’t stop them after that," Brown added. "Every time we put ourselves in a position to go win the game, they made another play and we didn’t stop them. Normally, we step up."

The defense stepped up in spots, but the record shows that Texas was particularly susceptible on third down. The Hogs converted 10 of 18 third down attempts, often on third-and-long.

"We played really well in some areas," Brown said, "and when you lose nobody recognizes that. A lot of times we stopped the run. We had them backed up at the goal line (3rd-and-30) and it was exemplary of the day where they threw the ball over our head for 56 yards. It was just really inconsistent. We made some really good plays; we didn’t make as many as they did."

The other component that derailed Texas was turnovers, Brown said. The Horns gave up three fumbles, including SE Roy Williamsdrop at the Texas 5-yard line.

"That’s probably 21 points worth of turnovers," Brown noted.

You could easily argue that Texas gave up six turnovers: a 13-yard punt, a 17-yard punt and allowing a fourth-quarter kickoff return to your own 36 is, in effect, the same as a turnover.

"Those are things that you can correct and that we’ve got to fix," he added.

But will the running game be fixed in our lifetime?

"We continue to see some positives but we’re not pleased overall with it," Brown said.

What were the positives?

"There’s certain plays that looked really good when we ran them and then there were some that made nothing,"

Let’s see, was the "really good" one where RB Cedric Benson reeled off his personal-best 8-yarder? Or was it when QB Chance Mock got 15 scrambling against a relentless blitz? Because some of us might have missed those "really good" ones with our faces buried in our hands.

"We’re still out of sync with it," Brown said, for what seems like the 12th consecutive game. "We said coming into the year that we have to stop the run and we’ve got to run the ball. We didn’t do either one of those well enough, or consistently enough, Saturday to win. It’s on me."

And it’s on to Never-Never Land if you think Texas is going to a BCS Bowl this year. If Brown can remedy between now and the Kansas State game the very things he’s been trying to fix since January, and if he get such significant improvement from what we saw Saturday to run the table in the Big 12, then what will be "on" Brown are conference coach of the year honors.

Because now there is no margin for error. It’s going to take nothing less for Texas to realize its goals that now teeter on the brink just midway through September.


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