Mack Brown has taken a lot of heat for leaving the cupboard bare for successor Charlie Strong, but the former Texas Longhorns coach turned analyst says don't blame him.
Brown said he doesn't feel responsible for Texas' current struggles. The Longhorns, coming off a 6-7 season in Strong's first year, weren't even competitive in last week's opener at Notre Dame, a 38-3 pummeling that again highlighted Texas' most apparent weakness, quarterback.
"I really don't," Brown, now a college football analyst at ESPN told Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News. "I think if that was the case, our first year, we would have to give all the credit to John Mackovic. So, to me, that happens when you change. Change is very unique. Sometimes it works great immediately. Sometimes it takes a while. Last year it didn't work. There were suspensions, changes, injuries and transfers."
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"I do think in talking to Coach Strong that he feels better ... that he and the kids are on the same page and they are moving forward. They think they can have a good year."
When Brown took over the Texas program from Mackovic, he inherited such players as running back Ricky Williams, quarterback Major Applewhite and lineman Leonard Davis.
Brown, known throughout his time at Texas as Coach February for his recruiting prowess, has been heavily criticized for a severe drop in recruiting during his final seasons, which was magnified in 2014 when Texas did not produce an NFL draft pick for the first time since 1938.
Strong's greatest struggles have come on offense where quarterback Tyrone Swoopes has been mostly ineffective, but Strong has been unable to turn to a better option. Redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard is challenging for playing time and could get the start Saturday against Rice. Strong will make that decision soon. Earlier this week, Strong stripped offensive coordinator Shawn Watson of play-calling duties and handed those over to wide receivers coach Jay Norvell.
Longhorns fans hope Strong's recruitment of highly touted 2016 quarterback Shane Buechele will give the Horns their first quality quarterback since Colt McCoy led Texas to the BCS national championship game at the end of the 2009 season.
Still, Brown says he has no regrets about how he left Texas after 16 years, and he reminded fans about the most significant accomplishment of his tenure.
"The biggest thing was that I was satisfied with what we did while we were at Texas," Brown said. "We had done our best. We brought Texas the national championship and they hadn't been there for 35 years. That's what they asked us to do."
(h/t San Antonio Express-News)