October 10, 2013

Fightin' Words: Don't fire Mack...yet

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


There's a lot of talk about how this year's Red River Rivalry is the one to watch, since it may be the last chance we have of watching Bob Stoops and Mack Brown battle it out.

Texas is, simply put, struggling, and the waves of upheaval are beginning to ripple across the Longhorns football program. The esteemed Brown is not immune, and in fact many believe this may be his last season at the helm if he can't right the Texas ship in time to challenge for a top bowl game.

Still more say a blowout loss to their heated rivals on Saturday could bring the immediate firing of Brown. As much as I doubt this, should the Texas football officials take this action, it would be the stupidest thing they've ever done.

Firing a coach midseason, especially in college football, makes little to no sense when you analyze the immediate pros and cons. Sure, history shows a change of personnel can inspire a team on to an immediate victory. But this motivation is short lived, and still leaves the team with impending issues.

When you fire a coach, you also fire his methods, his tactics to inspire, his practice schedules, workout programs, and, in some instances, his colleagues. The type of change Texas needs does not end with Brown, and the team needs time to adjust.

Another con is if the new guy doesn't pick the team up and get them winning again. This could lead to an even lower amount of confidence in both players, fans, and benefactors before the real work can be done in the offseason and recruitment drive. New coaches need time to settle, and when you bring in a fresh face midseason, that time to settle — for both the coach and the players — is drastically accelerated. It does no one any good.

But, if a program bides its time, accepts the suck for the remainder of the season, then acts to replace the system, they'll get all of the pros with almost none of the cons. The new guy gets his offseason and preseason to set up his system and find out how the players work within it. He has time to settle, acclimate, and evaluate the goals for the upcoming year.

The only downside is the team will probably still perform poorly for the next month-and-a-half or so. But to be honest, if the team is already at the point where you're considering firing the coach, the season was already lost a long time ago. 

Which brings up why Mack Brown is in such hot water. While it's expected they will continue to struggle, Texas is still in a pretty good place (2-0 in Big 12, 3-2 overall). If they do get an unlikely win on Saturday, all the talk of change will fade. Understandably, fans and alumni are upset and the administration is growing impatient. Let's just hope the once great Texas Longhorn football program acts with a calm, collected head; otherwise, the harm already done to its team will only get worse.