AUSTIN, Texas – Texas coach Mack Brown defended longtime offensive line coach Mac McWhorter on Wednesday after three games of struggles to run the ball and score touchdowns.
No. 7 Texas ran for just 93 yards on 43 carries and gave up its first three sacks of the season in a 24-14 win at Texas Tech last week. Television cameras caught Brown chewing out McWhorter on the sideline.
When Brown said earlier this week the discussion was private, it sparked speculation that McWhorter could be fired.
Brown dismissed the rumors as "unfair" to McWhorter and the rest of the coaching staff.
"I make those decisions. Media and fans do not," Brown said.
"Anyone who knows me knows I'm very emotional" during a game, Brown said, sarcastically suggesting the raucous crowd in Lubbock made it too loud for him to whisper to his assistant. "We can put that one to rest ... rumors are disruptive."
McWhorter has been coaching Texas' offensive line since 2002. Brown noted that several of McWhorter's former players are now playing in the NFL.
Texas lost three multiyear starters off the line from last season's team that played for the BCS national championship and has been hit by two key injuries this season. Senior right tackle Britt Mitchell has only three career starts and right guard Mason Walters is a redshirt freshman. Four other freshmen are listed as the top backups.
That inexperience has showed as Texas has tried to shift from the passing offense of the last several seasons to one featuring a power running game.
Texas has struggled to run in its first three games, notably in short-yardage situations. Against Texas Tech, the Longhorns averaged a paltry 2.2 yards per carry.
The Longhorns' top three tailbacks, Fozzy Whittaker, Tre' Newton and Cody Johnson, all have suffered minor injuries in the first three games that limited their effectiveness. Whittaker will start Saturday against UCLA.
"I do want it fixed," Brown said. "The offensive line coach didn't have six dropped passes. Being young is not an excuse. Having three backs is not an excuse."
Brown said he may have created unrealistic expectations for the running game after talking about it all through spring drills and fall training camp.
"We've got to go back and worry more about scoring, not stats," Brown said.