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July 25, 2011

Mack Brown


THE MODERATOR: We're joined by coach Mack Brown from Texas. Opening comments.
COACH BROWN: We're excited to get started. We've obviously got a lot of questions that we have to get answered over the next month, probably as many questions as we've had really since '98 or the '08 season. Both of those had a lot of uncertainty.
But we have a new offense to figure out, a new defense to figure out. We have positions to figure out. Obviously the quarterback position has to be figured out. And we've got to figure out who we feature in all the different schemes with a lot of new coaches.
There's some anxiety with it, but there's some excitement with it at the same time, and we've got to do a good job coaching this year, and we're aware of that.
We've got to make some good decisions, we've got to make some hard decisions, and we've got to make the decisions work.

Q. Obviously you've got uncertainty at the quarterback position. Competition is still open. But could you just talk about what you're looking for from whoever wins that job, the criteria that you want, especially given maybe the struggles that Gary had last year? What are the keys to winning that spot?
COACH BROWN: The number one thing we want is leadership. We want somebody that can get the swagger back and make sure that the rest of the kids know that this person's going to lead them to victory.
Secondly, we want somebody that's going to take care of the ball, because we were 116th in the turnover ratio last year, and it's amazing we won as many games as we did when we didn't force turnovers and we didn't protect the ball.
So we've got to protect the ball better. We've got to force more turnovers and we've got to play with more confidence and a better swagger.

Q. So much has been made of this Longhorn Network and maybe some high school games, there's so many things that have not been discussed --

Q. Next year, too. What are your feelings on this? It does seem like a big powerful weapon you guys have that other people are concerned with.
COACH BROWN: Number one, I think you have to give credit to the regents at Texas, to president Bill Powers for pulling off a partnership with ESPN and college football. What an unbelievable thing they did.
And it's amazing to me, and I'm very proud of them. I'm proud to work at the University of Texas. But I think you gotta give them credit. It was available to everybody. And they pulled it off.
And I didn't think they could do it. I kept hearing about it for the last couple of years and I never dreamed that it would happen.
So that's a real positive for us at the University of Texas. And I'm proud that they did it. I'm glad we have that advantage.
Secondly, I can tell by the work that we've put in in the first six months, it's not going to be an easy partnership, because they're paying us $300 million for access, and we gotta figure out how much access we can give them and not hurt our chance to have an edge to win the game.
So Dave Brown called me mid-summer and said: We want to have your first scrimmage online. Everybody's going to want to see it. And I said: Yeah, Oklahoma, A&M, Kansas, Texas Tech, they're going to be sitting there grading our practice as we do it. We can't do that.
We have to figure out what that means. And on a day-to-day basis, they want to have some live practice, and I'm thinking a young man gets hurt on live TV, it's not like you can say hold that tape.
So there's a lot of things. It's like an extra job for us and our sports information department and ESPN, because we've all got to figure out what it means.
When you talk to -- when it's been brought up about the high school games being played, the way I understood it, it would have nothing to do with the University of Texas. Those games would be games that might be on ESPN anyway, and they would get to be played on the games.
We're going to sign 20 to 25 players a year, more 20 than 25, and those players will probably be committed to us before June in their junior year.
So I don't think that part will have any effect on recruiting at all. I think the part that will affect recruiting is you've got a lot more opportunities for young people to be seen. So there's no question that the opportunity to show who you are on national TV at every practice, at every ballgame, on a network, is -- I mean, it's a positive.
But I think the people that would be hurt if you don't show high school games will be the high school coach, the players who 99 percent will not even play college football. Those would be the ones -- the communities in Texas that couldn't showcase their program.
So I would hate that if that works that way. But I know from a compliance standpoint we would never be able to say who to put on or we wouldn't be able to comment on it. None of that would change, but I hope there is an opportunity, because ESPN does high school football games in the state of Texas anyway. And, my gosh, the Big 12 is full of Texas high school football players.
So if you think about it, there would be a lot more prospects from the other teams in the Big 12 on the network than the ones from Texas.

Q. According to Garrett Gilbert, when you looked back at his film, his progression, what happened? What went wrong? What do you think happened during that season that could potentially affect him from becoming your starter moving forward?
COACH BROWN: I don't think you can go back to a player when we played as poorly as we played. I think it starts with me, our coaches. You coach players not to turn the ball over. You coach players to force turnovers. And we didn't do either successfully.
What happens when you lose, it usually goes to the play-caller, criticism goes to the play-caller, criticism goes to the quarterback, because they're the most exposed. But obviously they didn't have a lot of help in some areas either.
So when you lose your confidence a little bit as a team, which it seemed like we did, we lost our swagger, then you just don't play as well.
And then people start playing better against you, because they feel like they have a better opportunity to win. Where sometimes in the past people would not think they could come to Austin and win. We let that slip away for whatever reason as a group.
So I don't think it's fair to put that back on Garrett. What we did feel like, and when Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead were competing in spring practice after Vince Young left, we didn't know who would be the quarterback when we left spring practice.
And what we felt was fair is to let both compete over the summer and see which one came back and had the attention of the team, who took over, who handled the team chemistry, who had leadership, and who did the players believe in.
Well, at this meeting -- I'll never forget, Selvin Young was one of them, but there was a group of four or five players. We had dinner with them. And each one of them said: Coach, the quarterback has been decided. Colt McCoy is your quarterback. And we said: Really, and why? They said: You'll see. And then his name is in the stadium with a retired jersey.
So we're hoping by not naming a starter, by sending all four guys to the summer, that it put a tremendous amount of pressure on all four of them to become the leader, to make the players believe in them, to make the team step up, and I think we'll see the effect of who comes out of that competitive fight for two months at a very difficult time, who worked the hardest, who led the best, and I think we'll see that during preseason camp.
But that's why we did it. And the other thing is our players don't need to keep talking about last year. You know, let's move on. I mean, we can't talk about it when we win, so why talk about it when it didn't go well.
And my wife told me that there's usually -- most hotels don't even have a 13th floor, and that was my 13th year, so I should have skipped it. Some people thought I did (laughter). But it didn't work well. So we're starting over on year 14.

Q. The lower expectations, is there any way that works to your advantage? And do you think you're going to be a really good football team?
COACH BROWN: The number one question, does it work to your advantage? I think, yes, that your expectations are lower because you all make our players mad daily. And you motivate them first. One of them told me last night: Do you know they picked us fifth in the league? I don't know that. I do now. Thank you for reminding me.
So there is a certain motivation when you tell kids they're not any good and they're not going to do anything and they're not in the top ten, the things they came to Texas for and that they've had, they lost this year. So there's a certain motivation for that.
If you ask me if I'd rather have this or the expectation to win the national championship, I'd say I'd rather have the expectation to win the national championship because it means that we're supposed to be really good.
Was there another question?

Q. Do you expect to be a good football team?
COACH BROWN: Yes. Coaches expect to every year. I think, again, we could have been a good football team last year if we had done a better job with the turnover ratio. We win four or five more games if we just don't turn it over and take care of it. And those are things we should do a better job of.
And I think with the changes and the new and the uncertainty, the guys have to compete harder to get a job. So they're on edge a little bit.
It sounds like, in talking to them last night, that Bennie Wylie has worked their tails off this summer. They're afraid to miss and he's working out with them four times a day. So that's been a great mix with he and Jeff Madden and the summer workouts.
And I think you guys in some way want to see what's going to happen with scheme. I want to see what's going to happen with scheme.
We've got a lot of decisions to make. The fans are excited about new. It's like that freshman they haven't seen yet. So I think there's a lot of things in our favor that are motivating the players and the coaches to move forward.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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