Brown Defends Solich Decision

If the roles were reversed at Nebraska, would head coach <B>Mack Brown </B>have taken one shot into the end zone, trailing by three, without a timeout, on third-and-long, with seconds remaining in the game, with the team&#146;s collective aspirations at stake?

Heck yeah, he would. In fact, not once but twice. At least that’s what Brown said during Monday’s media luncheon.

"We would probably try to get two plays in that time (16 seconds)," Brown said. "If you’ve got any confidence in your offense and in your quarterback, you have to take a shot into the end zone."

Part of what may have guided head coach Frank Solich’s decision to throw on third down instead of opting for two field goal attempts to send the game into overtime was the relative ineffectiveness of his field goal unit at the end of the first half. A high snap from center allowed FS Dakarai Pearson enough time to crash the line and snuff out the play before the ‘Huskers had a chance to recover. Then, to close the first half, CB Rod Babers got his hand on a Josh Brown 48-yard FG attempt (in retrospect, the block was every bit of a difference-maker as was CB Nathan Vasher's goalline interception to end the thriller).

It was the seventh time in nine games this season a Texas player has blocked a field goal, punt or a PAT. Superlative special teams play (just when the game was on the line as in Manhattan) is no small factor in Texas’ resurgence as a national title contender.

Fans have asked Brown to comment further on what might have been a better option than throwing the ball at Vasher, who had already registered a pick on the night.

"Some people have asked me if (QB Jammal Lord) should have thrown down the middle. But if it’s short (of the end zone), the game’s over. Some people asked if he should have run the quarterback draw or the option draw. But if we get to him, the game’s over. You can’t get two plays, because we’re going to lay on the ball."

And since Nebraska had no time outs, it all boils down to taking one last shot at the end zone or a one-shot kick. The best option for an option team on that particular third-down play was for Lord to have thrown the ball out of bounds, and Nebraska would have lived for overtime. And the bias here is that the teams that usually win in the extra period are those who are a) are the home team and b) running the ball effectively. Overtime would have boded well for Nebraska.

Then again, ya’ never know.

"If you lose you’re going to get criticized, period," Brown said. "At Kansas State when they missed the field goal everybody criticized (head coach) Bill (Snyder) for not taking another shot into the end zone."

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