"The starters are still playing better than the others," Brown said.
Cold comfort for those of us who still suffer from post-debacle depression. The fallout has translated into two days of spirited practices at Denius Field, for what that's worth.
"The guys have been great," Brown said. "They werent pleased with what they did and theyve come back full speed. Weve been hard on them and theyve responded to it. Weve had two great days of practice."
Added Brown, "We dont like losing, and we dont like losing to a rival. Weve got to go back to work and get better this week."
Obviously, this has been a week for job security questions for UT coaches as well. Browns response was much like that of defensive coordinator Carl Reese and offensive coordinator Greg Davis: talk of pink slips is all part of the territory.
"Last week the opponents were talking to prospects about me going to the NFL and that weve got too many good players; this week theyre talking about me getting fired and that we have no players," Brown said. "Its amazing how much that changes. I can remember a coach telling me that one minute its a halo above your head and if you lose a game it can drop to a noose. Theres only six inches between the halo and the noose. Thats just part of this business and part of what youve got."
At least Brown didnt say that wed have "to deal with it" like his insufferable predecessor did. Still, the appearance Brown gives is that its just another day at the office. The only reason Saturdays debacle didnt exceed that 1997 UCLA bombshell was because Bob Stoops chose not to stick it in the end zone on OUs next to last possession. (Backup QB Paul Thompson would, of course, engineer the final drive and cap the score at 65.)
"The thing that people dont understand is that I have to go back to work," Brown said. "You worry about the young people that youre involved with and this week, as hard as it was to have played poorly and lose last week, this gives me a chance to be a great role model for our players and our coaches and for a lot of people that have had a tough week across the state. This is really a week that I can get a lot done."
Brown said he spent two and one-half hours with players on Sunday and met with several seniors on Monday.
"I dont think people realize this is what we do every day of every week," the head coach said. "What you do is you handle things differently. If wed won the game, wed have some issues this week, too. After 20 years of this stuff, you deal with whatever you need to based on the day, and that isnt stuff that we share publicly."
Then again, I dont believe for a second that there is a 50 point differential between UT's players desire or talent level and anyone else, but there is clearly a gaping discrepancy between the caliber of coaching that can put defenders in the right position, taking the correct angles, fighting off blocks, swarming, wrapping up and tackling. Part of the frustration some of the players said this week has to do with their experience that the stuff that works in practice doesnt work in games.
Texas leaves the state for the first time this season when it plays at Iowa State, followed by one of those "home" road games at Baylor.
"Well be in tough situations both weekends and this will help us to see if weve improved," Brown said.
Uh-huh. Just like Rice and Tulane was indicative of the improvement since Arkansas. Games at out-manned Iowa State and Baylor might say something about how interested this team is in whats left of the season. But any test of this teams actual improvement will come in November when Texas faces nationally ranked teams in Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech and concluding with A&M gunning for a season-saving upset. The Aggies always care more about that game than does Texas, and that one could get depressing should the Horns stumble between now and then.
Bottom line: it shouldnt hurt to be a Longhorn.