Texas coach Mack Brown met with the media on Monday afternoon, two days before signing day, and sounded re-energized. Most importantly, don't expect another coach-in-waiting any time soon for the Longhorns.
Brown, who has spent the past two months feverishly maintaining his recruiting class while hiring six new assistant coaches, was asked what he told his new assistants about his future while he was interviewing them.
"When you have a coach-in-waiting, it puts question marks into how long you’re going to coach," Brown said. "I told them I was back in the game. I was full speed ahead. I wouldn’t be working this hard on recruiting and hiring coaches if I wasn’t in it for a long time, and I basically told them that Texas fans were going to have to put up with me for a long time. I’m back at work."
That's a good sign of stability for Texas, who has experienced some of the program's best years under Brown, excluding 2010, and has the talent in place for plenty more moving forward.
A few other notes from Brown on Monday:
Brown has spoken at length about his top-to-bottom review of the program after the 5-7 season. Part of process was handing out a survey to his players, asking them questions about himself, his assistants and other players on the team. He asked his players to write their names on the survey, but promised he would be the only one to see their answers. Brown says he'd only done it two or so other times at Texas, and the previous time was after the 2007 season. "As soon as I looked at the survey, I wrote down some thoughts that I felt were right on and I wrote down some of the things that I thought they had given me that they had probably misunderstood," Brown said, "and then I tore them all up the next day and started addressing them individually with some of the players."
He also expressed some brief thoughts on Texas' new network in conjunction with ESPN. "There’s nothing like it in sports, which is just unbelievable," Brown said. "... we’ve got to see how we’re going to use it in football. Do you have your pro day on it? Do you have the offseason on it some days? Do you have a guy that’s going out in the community, whether it’s to the hospital to see sick children? Do you have to get a waiver to put that on national TV? You’ll have some kids that want to work in communications and what a great way for them to so some internships with Longhorn Network and ESPN. So we’re looking at all those possibilities right now, and it’s really exciting for us to have something that no one else has. It will, obviously, be great for recruiting, but we think it’s also something to let people have more behind-the-scenes looks at what we do without giving up everything. So we’ve got to look at what that means and where we go with it."
Brown hasn't had to make many hires since coming to Texas in 1998, and weighed in with a few of the differences. One, he has to deal with agents now, and he didn't realize how high the assistant salaries had gotten until he started looking outside his program. Also, he sensed an interest in the coaching hires that wasn't there previously, with reports on planes flying in and out of Austin and various people's candidacies leaking out. "People say, 'Why do you care what gets out or who you talk to or when you talked to them?' You always want to protect the guy," Brown said. "If a guy is coming in to interview from his school, his fans are mad [and] his head coach is mad, usually. The assistant coaches with him are all talking to him. His players are upset, and his recruits are upset. It’s not about whether it affects us or not, it affects the other candidate and especially if you don’t hire him. It puts him in a very, very difficult place."
Tired of short hitch routes, Texas fans? New offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin's arrival is a good sign. "When you start looking at offensive coordinator, you have to look at the new changes, the new ideas, where you’re going and very honestly, I think Boise has fun with their offense," Brown said. "They’ve been balanced with 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing, and they run trick plays which I love. They actually throw deep a lot, and I love that. I heard Bryan Harsin say the other day to one of the coaches, 'You have to work just as much on a short pass as you do a long one, so why not spend that time on the long one and have a chance to score with it?'"
Brown ran down the resumes of his nine new assistants briefly. Their careers have cumulatively seen 71 bowl appearances and are 44-27 in those games.
They've been to 23 BCS bowls and are 16-7 in those games.
They've made 12 national championship appearances and are 5-7 in those games and one has coached in a Super Bowl.
After making his coaching hires, Brown had a 30-minute meeting with his players and without any other assistants to discuss the changes in the program and what he'd been up to. "I went back over their surveys. I went back over what I thought was important for us to restart," he said. "I told them that we would have a new offense. We’d have a new defense. We’d have some changes in special teams, and they all had a clean slate and that I was re-energized with what I had seen with the staff in the hiring process."