Mack Brown avoids hot-button topic for Texas fans

Coming off a pressure-relieving whipping of Oklahoma, Texas' Mack Brown joined the College Football 24/7 Podcast to discuss everything from coaching with his job on the line to his decision to fire his defensive coordinator last month.

He knew better than to take the bait on a truly hot topic, though.

When Brown was asked if The Salt Lick restaurant was the best place for barbecue in the Austin area, he elected to use diplomacy.

"I've got enough people mad at me right now," he said. "I do not need to be choosing restaurants. I would say you are right, that is a great restaurant and it's one of the many, many, many great restaurants in Austin, Texas and the state of Texas."

Brown surely has fewer Longhorns fans mad at him than he did a week ago, though. Saturday's win over the Sooners snapped Texas' three-game skid against its Big 12 rival and kept Texas' hopes of winning the conference championship alive. Things were looking bleak when the team started 1-2, losing 44-23 to Ole Miss a week after an embarrassing 40-21 loss to BYU that resulted in the firing of coordinator Manny Diaz.

Texas has won three in a row since falling to the Rebels, and is off this week. The Longhorns don't play again until Oct. 26 vs. TCU, and Brown said he has some concerns about the long layoff.

"It's good that we had a week off to get some injuries well and healed up, but it's also a little bit tougher to keep your momentum when you have a week off, so we have to go back and establish that same momentum next week," he said.

Some other highlights from the interview:

On whether he senses his players are fighting for him to keep his job:

"Yes, I do feel like that they're fighting, but our seniors hadn't beaten Oklahoma. So that was huge for them. That's a huge game for them at this place and we had not done our job at all the last couple of years. Not only was it big for me, but all the assistant coaches. Most of them have been here over the last three years. They wanted to win that ball game and the players did, too. What you got to take now is take that win and that momentum and get your confidence to move forward and take the same momentum into the TCU game."

On whether his team has established an identity as a tough, physical group:

"That's where we've been trying to go for three years. We've rushed for 445 yards and 450 yards in a couple games and people still say they're soft, but we had not done it in a game against an opponent like Oklahoma, so for us to rush for 255 yards in that game does give our offensive line and our tight ends and our backs credibility that they can line up and run the football. We talked a lot about identity yesterday as a team and a staff, and that's who we want to be. We want to be a very physical team that can take deep shots and hit them. When you have to stack the box, especially in a league that's so spread out to stop the run, it puts all your receivers in one-on-one situations and we've got really good receivers. Our receivers are as good as they've been around here in a long time. All of those things right now are things that should help us as we get ready to compete in the second half of the season."

On his QB situation with starter David Ash out with a concussion:

"You don't know when (Ash) is going to play. We're sitting here waiting right now talking to doctors daily on when he will be released. You had to go away from a guy who was a dual threat in David Ash to Case McCoy. Case is very accurate. He's a very good leader. He's been around. He's not going to beat you running. That's one of the things we had planned on is David doing a lot of things with option football and quarterback draws and those things."

On the decision to fire defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and replace him with Greg Robinson after the BYU loss:

"It was disappointing that we played and coached so poorly at Brigham Young. That was the disappointing thing. It had nothing to do with outside chatter or talk or my job. I've been around here a long time, so I understand all that. What we had to do was go through a very difficult transition of asking one coach to leave after two ball games. I've never done that before. And then getting another coach to come in because you know how players love their coaches. And that's a very difficult transition. So the inner-workings were not about the outside world. They were about making sure coach Robinson could get in here early enough to get us on track so we still had a chance to reach our goal and win the Big 12 championship and making sure that the players bought into it. We had to say that when a coach leaves, it's my fault as the head coach. It's the offense's fault that they didn't stay on the field enough for the defense to get off the field. It's the other three defensive coaches as well and it's players. All of us have a part in that loss at Brigham Young. We can't point a finger at one. We just had to make a change at the time."

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