Will it be lights out on Mack Brown before supper?

Posted Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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galloway This Red River Rivalry thing is upon us again with a Saturday morning kickoff at the Cotton Bowl, and the one thing missing will be the immense national neon once frequently associated with the event.

The neon has been burning on dim for a while now.

In fairness to Oklahoma, it’s a program that hasn’t been what it was under Bob Stoops, but still lurks on the outer half of college football’s power grid.

Compared to Texas, that’s an energy upgrade. The plug has already been pulled on that Austin program.

With the Sooners as a two-touchdown favorite, if that spread is covered by mid-afternoon on Saturday, the immediate question becomes this:

Will the lights be turned out on Mack before supper?

Look, there’s been a ton of theories on what’s gone wrong over the last three or four years with Mack Brown’s football program, and this week, SI.com took some more shots at the long, long fall.

The word “soft” appeared frequently in the SI.com blame game, even fingering team strength coaches, which seems like such a reach not even the excuse-making AD, the soon-to-be-gone DeLoss Dodds, would have stooped that far.

But certainly “soft” applies. Starting with Mack, and going right down to the judgment on recruits, the lack of a tough mentality has been cited frequently as being at the root of UT’s tumble.

Sometimes, however, it’s just stupid stuff.

Take, for instance, what happened this week in Austin.

First, however, go back to last Thursday night in Ames, Iowa. The Longhorns struggled mightily to beat an Iowa State club that I’d venture to guess had lost the “Almighty 5-Star Recruit” count to Texas by like 35-or-40-to-none.

And the way Texas won the game was like a total gift from a Big 12 officiating crew/replay official. And I say that despite being the world’s biggest Johnathan Gray fan from his Aledo High School days, but my guy had the ball taken away from him on the goal line. No, he wasn’t down. And no, his forward progress had not been stopped.

If you watch enough Big 12 football, it leads you to wonder if some of these officiating crews are either involved in a criminal act, or simply incompetent. But that’s another story. So is how the Longhorns survived against Iowa State.

In the course of that game, however, Longhorns wide receiver Mike Davis committed about as blatant a cheap shot on an Iowa State defensive back as you will see at any football level.

After a Texas running back scored a touchdown, Davis went after the DB with a cut block at the side of the knee. The DB was not involved in the TD play, and had pulled up after the running back had crossed the goal line.

A flag did fly. And Davis was given 15 yards, although not ejected. The flag told us an official actually saw the cheap shot. But not ejecting the player says the official made a huge error in judgment.

The real issue came later, however.

The Big 12 office, gutless as usual, came out this week with a ruling that reprimanded Davis, although did not suspend him for any games. Pitiful.

But Davis would not shut up.

His initial reaction to his cheap shot on Twitter after the game was, “I play to the whistle … I was taught that.”

Mack initially backed his player, saying Davis was simply “competing” on the play. Such a weak response.

On Monday, Davis stirred it up again by telling the media, “I’d do the same thing … if the DB is loafing, he deserves to get cut.”

Finally, even Mack had to back off, saying that while Davis wasn’t a dirty player, he understood why the conference gave a reprimand. The Texas PR department also attempted to clarify Davis’ Monday statement.

But then came an Austin one-eighty on Tuesday. Somebody in Austin, I guess, had a come-to-Jesus meeting with Davis. On Tuesday afternoon, a lengthy three-paragraph retraction was issued by Davis, backing off on everything he previously said and apologizing to everyone this side of Earl Campbell.

That doesn’t, however, erase the real problem: No accountability by Mack for four days after the incident in Ames.

A real head coach, once he had seen the film on Friday, and clearly had seen the Davis incident (every website in the country has shown it) suspends that player immediately. Like last Friday.

Brown did not have to wait on the do-nothing Big 12 office to issue its pathetic wrist slap. This was a Texas player who did wrong. Totally wrong. That’s on Mack. It’s his job to discipline his player.

Mike Davis may be a nice kid, and I hope he is. The Ames cheap shot could have been simply a stupid, split-second decision.

But even the apology/retraction didn’t happen until the kid became an embarrassment to the university and to himself. First, long before Tuesday, Mack had to tell Davis to shut the bleep up, and then Mack had to make the right call on the player.

Davis should have been suspended by his coach for at least a game, and probably two.

But it’s Oklahoma on the agenda this week. Mack needs an upset win. Davis is his best receiver.

No accountability.

Soft.

Unfortunately, that’s what Texas football has become.

Randy Galloway, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @sportsdfw

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