If you’ve been following the eternally “fluid” situation down in Austin the past few months, you know that now notorious blogger “Jesus Shuttlesworth” of Recruitocosm has had a decent handle on life behind the scenes at Bellmont as Mack Brown’s world has slowly crumbled.
A recent offering from Jesus has all the details on what the Head Longhorn in Charge has been doing to right his ship. My favorite tidbits are the parts about Mack bringing in Dick Tomey and Vinny Cerrato to evaluate the state of the program. (Apparently Gerry DiNardo and Matt Millen were unavailable.)
Mack has always been known for his “CEO-like” approach to being a head coach, so it should come as no surprise that he’s following chapter 7 of the Corporate Executive 101 textbook, “Covering Your Ass,” to the letter: When all else fails, throw money at some consultants.
If pontificating on transformational and transactional leadership styles is your bag, you probably think this is a swell idea. Me? I question why Mack is paying some buddies to do a job he receives $5 million a year to do himself.
If it’s advice from an outsider Mack is looking for, he should have called up Blatant & Homerism LLP. Having done my own MBA tour of duty, I could have given him a report full of consultant speak to chew on.
It’s the holidays, so Homerism is in a giving mood.
1. Develop an Identity
The best programs in college football all have “their thing.” Alabama is all about power running and Nick Saban’s 3-4 package. Oregon has the uptempo spread option game. Oklahoma is known for Bob Stoops’ aggressive defensive pressure schemes. Florida under Urban Meyer had the single wing. Hell, even Boise State can hang its hat on coach Chris Petersen’s inventive offensive style.
The hard-nosed personality that Will Muschamp brought to the program – at least on the defensive side of the ball – left town with Coach Boom on a fast train to Gainesville. What’s Texas’ identity now? Money and recruiting?
2. Chemistry Matters
Mack seems to run Texas like the New York Yankees: Get the most talented players at their positions and throw them on the field together. At the end of the day, talent will win out. It’s why you see mismatches such as the Longhorns trying to run an offensive scheme that they aren’t suited to.
It’s a lazy approach and just as likely to produce a Hindenberg as a national championship.
I’ll take the talented team over a team with great chemistry every day of the week. But I’ll take the talented team with great chemistry over anyone.
3. Grow a Pair
You’re Mack Brown, head coach of the Texas Longhorns. Why spend all that time trying to sweet talk the media and pointing fingers in the press and justifying your decisions? It smacks of insecurity.
Speaking of which, how about trying to compete in a game that’s not rigged for once? With the way you’re scheduling out of conference, those 10-win seasons don’t look so impressive.
Same goes for recruiting. What’s the rush to fill up your class by Thanksgiving? Are you scared you’re selling these kids on an inferior product? Are you worried that you’re going to get outworked by your competitors?
When your head coach is taking the easy way out all the time, it trickles down to your team.
4. Establish a Common Purpose
This is similar to the second point, except it relates to the coaches.
It seems as though Mack’s approach to assembling a coaching staff entails shoehorning together highly paid mercenaries and longtime associates, then hoping for the best. Infighting and “every man for himself” tends to set in in this kind of group, especially when the boss grows overly concerned with shifting the blame to his underlings. If you believe the whispers coming out of the 40 Acres lately, this became an especially pronounced problem in 2010 with Muschamp looming over the scene as head coach in waiting.
How do you accomplish this? See the first point – develop an identity, hire people who understand it and get everyone moving in that direction.
5. The Head Coach Should Actually Coach
Mack comes off great when he’s sitting in during TV coverage of the NFL draft or getting an on-air lap dance from Colin Cowherd. It’s easy to see why he’s earned such a great reputation as a recruiter and fundraiser.
Frankly, though, the whole “coach-as-CEO” shtick is for the birds. Want to really enhance the Texas brand? Put a great product out on the field. The P.R. stuff is periphery.
There’s no doubt Texas football needed a healthy dose of glad-handing and baby-kissing back in 1998 when Mack was hired away from North Carolina to breathe new life back into a program run aground under John Mackovic. There had to be more to what Mack brought to the table than that, though. Right?
If not, what’s he still doing there?