Mack Brown wants to coach at Texas until 2020 but the more impressive feat is if he makes it to 9/20.It’s Alabama week in College Station, yet the headlines in this state are being generated in Austin because the head coach is in a full panic.No head coach, even one with Brown’s résumé, who fires his defensive coordinator two games into a season is thinking straight. This is break-glass-in-case-you-think-you-are-going-to-be-fired with potentially widespread effects felt regionally and nationally.“It’s not a panic move,” Brown said when I asked him why firing defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is not a panic decision. This is the first time in his 29 years as a head coach he has fired a coordinator in season.“We’re early in the season; Greg Robinson has been here,” Mack said of his new re-hire. “There was improvement after midseason last year, and that improvement needed to continue and it didn’t. We’ve got better players than we’ve got production right now.”Who says UT has better players? Mack does. He recruited ’em, so it can’t be his fault.When asked on Monday about his team’s “tackling” at BYU, Mack said, “Tackling is bad in America.”Alabama is still a part of the union.Denial is now a part of the UT game plan.The steady losses of assistant coaches from his staff, and continual whiffs on quarterbacks, has finally caught up with Coach Mack, and things in Austin have turned into a national embarrassment for the great state a’ Texas.In college football these days, with insane salaries and costs, the world moves too fast to get it back. It’s gone. One of the smartest things Pete Carroll ever did was to leave USC the moment he realized it was starting to go. Throw Chip Kelly in that sentence as well.The man who was knocked for being so fiercely loyal to his assistants, most notably former OC Greg Davis, had no problem throwing Coach Diaz under the bus Sunday morning.Brown said the tipping point came when after he watched the film and saw BYU run all over his UTers on Saturday night.“I think that was obvious,” Brown said.Brown has become Bobby Bowden, or R.C. Slocum, and he doesn’t know it. Mack is looking more like Mackovic than the guy who led UT to two national title games and one championship.Unlike Mackovic, who was easy to dismiss, asking Mack to move anywhere against his wishes is going to be as difficult as anything AD DeLoss Dodds has done in his tenure. If DeLoss is “asked” to remove Mack, it could force him to quit.Mack made DeLoss, and much of UT is in debt to what the man has done. He turned Bevo into an ATM. There is no Longhorn Network, and its riches, without Mack’s work.The scary part is, when there are tremors in Austin, they are felt in places such as Waco, Louisville and certainly here in Fort Worth.Even though Gary Patterson is smart to pull a Bill Snyder and simply stay put in a wonderful community where he has the keys, he would be an ignorant fool not to answer if his cell shows 512. You don’t say no to Texas.Personally, I think Gary would be foolish to leave the comforts of Fort Worth for Austin should that call come, but regardless of your personal college prejudices, Texas is still Texas. I maintain UT is the one job he would leave TCU for. UT is one of the top three jobs in America.Mack has been “fired” many times before (see Oklahoma last season), but this time it feels different.This thing is so beyond just a bad defense, or questionable schemes against a quarterback who could not throw. Firing Diaz doesn’t solve an offensive line that is still subpar, or fix a quarterback situation that has become a bigger embarrassment than the defense.There is a decent chance UT could be 1-2 on Saturday night after its game against No. 25 Ole Miss in Austin. The last time UT was 1-2 was 1998 — Mack’s first year.UT only lost one other game in ’98, and what followed was more than a decade of prosperity.We now have irrationally short memories, and the demands on Mack are nuts, but UT is a joke.I asked Brown why he feels he is the best suited to continue to lead a program that even his most ardent critics would admit he has done so much to build: “Just wanting to beat Ole Miss this weekend,” he said. “That’s our major goal.”And trying to figure out who to fire if they don’t.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @macengelprof