Players speak out on Mack, Oregon

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By Bill Frisbie, Inside Texas Lead Writer
Posted Dec 19, 2013
Copyright © 2014 InsideTexas.com


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Mack Brown gets an Ice bath after beating OU. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Some of them said they were stunned; others said they were not particualry surprised. Either way, Texas players responded publicly for the first time Thursday of head coach Mack Browns weekend resignation. 

So, how has the announcement impacted Alamo bowl preparation for No. 12 Oregon? Those reactions were across the board as well.


“It was definitely shocking,” said offensive lineman Trey Hopkins. “We werent expecting it. We dont read too much into that kind of stuff because we know Mack Brown is the kind of person who would bring it to us first when he made the decision. The rumors were always addressed as just that. They were just rumors. There was nothing that was true until he said something to us. So, it was a shock.”


Adrian Phillips, DB, also said the announcement was “definitely shocking.”


“We didnt expect it,” Phillips said. Theres always rumors floating around, but you never real pay attention to them. You wait until something happens. It really upset us when it happened.”


Case McCoy, QB, however, brought a different perspective; its one that stems from growing up as a coachs son. Its also nearly impossible to insulate yourself from rumors and reports since players are as involved as anyone with social media, McCoy said.


“Its part of the job, whether youre a college coach or a high school. Thats how the world turns in that profession. I was probably not as surprised as everyone else because Ive had the For Sale signs in my yard numerous times being a coachs son. Thats part of the process. You move on and get someone else in here to get this place back on track.”


College footballs winningest program from 2004-09 has stumbled to a 30-20 mark the past four seasons. The program checks in at No. 39, overall, since the January, 2010, BCS National Championship  but the problem hasnt been with the quality of personnel, McCoy insists.


I wouldnt say that the talent isnt there,” “McCoy said. “Its a matter of the mindset, and I think these guys are working on that. We were a 10-win, an 11-win (caliber) team this season. We just had some slip-ups in a couple of games. Its been right there. Its been right there for several years. If you are an eight- or nine-win team, youre on the brink of doing something really good. Whats the missing piece? I guess theyre thinking it might be coaching, so their bringing in a new coach. Well see if its the missing piece.”


Brown informed the team of his resignation just before Saturdays first practice of the post-season. He explained that neither he, nor any player, came to Texas expecting four-loss seasons, Hopkins said. The Longhorns, of course, have averaged five losses each of the past four years. Browns announcement was initially met with an extended silence, players report. But then DE Cedric Reed shouted, We love you, coach. An emotional Brown responded by telling players he loved them, too. 


And then the hugs started.  


Texas practiced for the fourth time this post-season on Thursday and, as far as All-American DE Jackson Jeffcoat can tell, the team has moved beyond the emotional fallout of Browns disclosure.


“It was hard to get past, but we still see him,” Jeffcoat said. “Its not like hes dead.”


So, is there a concerted effort for Texas to win one for the Gipper and ensure that Brown will ride off into the burnt orange sunset with a victory ride? Again, it depends on who you ask.


Knowing how much Coach Brown has meant to this program." said Hopkins. "And to his players is going to be a big, driving factor for these practices and for that game.”


Said McCoy: “It cant change the way we prepare. We have to prepare the same way weve prepared most of the year. We have to go execute, and thats something we havent done a couple of times this year. But it cant change the way we prepare. This is a big bowl game for us. We have a lot to prove because of the way we played a couple of weeks ago (at Baylor). For a lot of us, this will be the last time we play this game…Weve got a lot to prove but, what it all comes down to, youve got to play for yourself and youve got to play for your teammates. Thats our mindset right now.”


Said Phillips: “We dont feel more pressure to win this game, but its important to send coach Brown off in the right way. Coach wants us to play our butts off and play with passion, and thats the most important thing.”


Said Jeffcoat: “We love coach Brown, but you cant approach (the game) differently. This is my last game.  Im a senior.  My approach is that this is my last game, and Im working my butt off.  Thats how everybody else is.  The coaches are, too. You cant worry about the future. You have to worry about the now.”


Said Mason Walters, OL:  “Sometimes going back to the same bowl (as the previous year) might not get guys as pumped as they normally would be.  But if you dont get pumped-up and find a reason to go fight or something that brings out the competitor in you, you can really get embarrassed. Thats not something were going to let happen.”


Bottom line: players werent necessarily on the same page regarding the impact of Browns resignation on bowl preparation  but they were all on the same page about going out a winner. 


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