Busy Sundays Can Ease Blue Mondays For Horns

It's cold comfort following Texas' fifth straight loss to Oklahoma, but few coaches handle the Morning After better than Mack Brown. Brown is 6-0 the week after OU, with the past four rebound wins on the road. A new wrinkle this season are Sunday practices, and I asked Brown to assess the value of those added sessions particularly in light of the 12-0 shutout.

"It's helped us get rid of the previous game because we go out and we correct the mistakes on the field," Brown said. "We do half of the practice with the game plan for the next team that we've worked on all spring and summer. It gets them started on the next game, whether it's a win or a loss. And then we run the heck out of 'em."

The early evening practice is followed by a team meal. The added time gives coaches a chance to interact more with players, a dynamic that was missing on Sundays until defensive coaches Greg Robinson and Dick Tomey initiated it this season.

"I don't think we've seen them enough after wins and losses because you don't see them Monday," Brown said. "They've always just run with (strength and conditioning coach) Jeff Madden and I think this is by-far better for getting things fixed and moving on than what we had before. I like it a lot better."

Brown also reviews the latest rankings and BCS implications with the team on Sunday. For example:

"I go through how can Tennessee be down 31-3 at halftime against Auburn and beat Georgia at Georgia. How can LSU get killed by Georgia, be down 14-0 at Florida and win? How can Ohio State lose two weeks in a row? Things are different out there. Hang on. Hang on. We try to tell them, that day only, how we see things nationally."

(Then, of course, every coach and player will spend the rest of the week telling media that rankings don't matter to them.)

Coaches provide a general assessment of the team's performance and then "individual criticism and bragging is done in private. We don't do that in public with the kids."

So, what kind of Crimson and Cream hangover was the team suffering on Sunday?

"They were really disappointed," Brown said. "They were proud of their effort but heartbroken that they lost. Our job, (Sunday), was to show them why we lost in those eight or ten plays that we needed to make, or whatever it is that you need to make each week. It puts some sense into them, and that's the reason I go home and watch the film. I look at the stats and sometimes the stats don't tell you the story. You can't wait to get home and throw (the game film) on and figure out what happened. If you spend 40-something years doing this, and seven years here, you get to a point where it's pretty important to you. So, that's why you do it with the kids, too. I think answers are what they need. And I think what our guys have done a good job of is... fans get angry and really disappointed. Some fans get depressed and that's all fair. Our fans want to win badly. I thought our fans were great Saturday. I hate for them that we lost the game like that when they hung in there and fought with us until the last snap."

Now, the most important "snap" for Texas is to snap out of its post-OU depression. It ranks as Brown's most bittersweet contribution to the program as, in the decade prior to his arrival, Texas went 5-5 the week after OU. What's more, Brown's teams have not lost consecutive games since the three-game skid that ended the 1999 season. Prior to Brown's arrival in 1998, Texas had posted back-to-back losses in 12 of the previous 14 seasons.

"What we have to do with the kids is help them have reasons to snap out of it and get back to work. We try to get away from the emotion of losing and try to get to the practical part of where we need to improve as a team."

And here's the practical part:

"It was a great game where, if we had three more plays, we have a chance to win. If you look at the bad side of it, we have to throw it a lot better. I think that's where we are and what we've got to do... just keep playing."


Horns Digest Top Stories