D.J.: Brown Needs Career-Defining Rose Bowl Win

All season, head coach Mack Brown insisted that every football game at Texas is must-win. But does the Rose Bowl at least represent a must-win situation in terms of public perception of both Brown's career and the Texas program? At least one prominent Longhorn believes it does.

"I think he needs this game," All-American WLB Derrick Johnson said Thursday. "We need to get him this game. He can't win it because we're out there playing the game. A lot of it rides on our shoulders and he takes the blame for it. He's kind of in a bad situation."

Previously, Brown has told his players not to feel responsible when critics allude to the lack of championship hardware during his seven-year tenure at the Forty Acres. Presumably, Brown would want players to pattern their reaction to Texas' first-ever BCS bid after that of senior C Jason Glynn. The three-year starter approaches the Rose Bowl as a sweet reward in exchange for a season's worth of blood, sweat and sacrifice.

"The offensive line has played their hearts out all season to be in a game like this," Glynn said. "I think we're all ready for the challenge to go in there and play with Michigan."

Senior TE Bo Scaife, however, doesn't think Brown has to prove anything to anyone.

"They really can't say nothing about coach Brown," Scaife said. "He's won 10 games in each of the past four years and not too many coaches have done that."

In fact, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is the only other Division-I coach to have won 10-plus games in each of the past four seasons. The Sooners record during that span stands at 46-6 while Brown is 42-8. It's just that OU has beaten Texas five straight seasons and its fifth-year seniors are playing in their third BCS national championship game. The lingering memory of two Big 12 title game losses (1999, 2001) against teams Texas beat earlier in the regular season also add to the general perception that Brown has won them all except the so-called big one. Now, Brown leads his troops into the Granddaddy of Them All.

That's just part of the reason why FS Phillip Geiggar said the team "definitely" has a sense of wanting to win this one for Brown.

"Coach Brown has worked hard," Geiggar said. "All the games that we've lost, that he's taken credit for, wasn't on him at all. It's on the people on the field. You play the game on the field. We want to prove to him and to other people that he's a good coach and that we'll play for him."

During Brown's stint in Austin, only three other programs have posted more wins than Texas: Miami (72-13), Oklahoma (71-17) and Boise State (72-22). Both Texas and Brown's alma mater Florida State have notched a 69-19 mark during the past seven seasons.

"He's definitely in the upper echelon of coaches across the country," Scaife added.

Add to the mix that Brown lobbied for BCS votes, and that Texas is viewed (in some quarters) as Pasadena party-crashers, and you've still got a team with something to prove.

"You can call it a monkey on our back but, at the same time, we're up to the challenge," Geiggar said. "We've been saying that we deserve to be in this game, or in one of these BCS games, so now is the time to prove it. All that talking is over."

The Longhorns are scheduled to practice at Denius Fields on Friday and Saturday. The team departs for California on December 26.

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