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Ask James Brown

Former Longhorn QB and NFL Europe star James Brown answers your questions on the decision to name Will Muschamp ‘head-coach-in-waiting’, his thoughts on a college football playoff and plays for a Texas-Texas A&M alumni game.
Legendary Longhorn QB James Brown (1994-97) answers your Texas football-related questions. Brown led Texas to three consecutive conference titles, including the inaugural Big 12 Conference championship. If you have a question for James, please submit it to insidetx@realtime.net, with the subject “Ask James” by 5 p.m., Tuesday.

Q: What do you think of Texas’ decision to name defensive coordinator Will Muschamp as Mack Brown’s successor? Any concern on your part that Texas will bring someone on board without head coaching experience? What does it mean to current players and recruits that Muschamp has been named heir apparent?

BROWN: He watches Mack Brown every day, so that’s experience. He’s been learning ever since he’s been on campus. Obviously, he has coaching experience because he’s a good coach. This is not his team. The head coach at Texas is really more of a CEO and manager. He’ll have extra responsibilities, but I’m sure he’ll delegate those to someone else. But I think it’s great to hire from within. Players always get lost in the shuffle when there are coaching changes and they bring someone in from the outside. A new coach coming in may not like a kid as much. I’m recruiting right now (at Lamar University), and I may see something I like in a kid that some other schools don’t. So, I’ll recruit the kid but, if I leave, the next coach may not see the same thing in that kid. They might not have the same personality as I do. I might, for example, see a troubled kid and say, “I can work with this kid. He reminds me of my brother, or something.” The next coach won’t have the same relationship with the kid. It’s better, from an athlete’s standpoint, to have the coach who recruited him to remain on staff.

Muschamp is a great choice. He brings a lot of enthusiasm to the program. He has a lot of intensity. It will be great. Defenses win championships, and he is a defensive coach. Texas will still get the top offensive players, and I think Texas will always be in the Top Five with the recruits we’re getting.

Q: Are you in favor of a college football playoff? What would be the format?

BROWN: Yeah, I would favor a playoff. Maybe you could take the Top 10 teams in a playoff and still have the other bowl games. The other teams not in the Top 10 would still play in a bowl game. It’s all about the money. It’s about the money these college teams get for going to the bowls. Or, maybe you could take the top four teams and have them play for a national championship. We’re not smart enough to figure this out. Or, we may be smart enough, but we’re not in charge.

Q: I understand that former Longhorn lettermen and former Aggie lettermen have played football the Saturday before the rivalry game. Is that happening this year? BROWN: Unfortunately, no. We’ve put it on two or three times already. We had played one game in Austin and another in College Station. We beat the Aggies twice. But I let this other company come in, this big-time marketing and media company and they were going to combine it a blood drive, and I don’t think it’s going to happen. I was like, “What? Man, we could have done it ourselves.” This guy came in and said he was going to make it bigger and better, and he didn’t do anything. Bummer. But we’ll start it up again. We’ve also had trouble getting players from A&M. We may have to get OU players and have a Texas-OU alumni game. But I want to make it bigger, maybe make it a Conference thing where we play a lot of games.

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James Brown (1994-96) guided Texas to three straight conference championships, including the final Southwest Conference and inaugural Big 12 titles. Brown ranks No. 2 all-time at UT in career passing yards (7,638) and third all-time with 58 touchdown passes.