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Tuesday, October 11

 

The Rebirth of Mack Brown

Remember the movie Dave with Kevin Kline? It’s a story about a lookalike imposter who stands in for the President of the United States when the real President dies. The new President is great in all the ways the old President wasn’t. No one complains, because the new President has incredible success and is beloved by all.

I’m pretty sure the same thing has happened to Mack Brown. So that begs the question, who is the man clapping his hands on the Texas sideline?

For proof, let’s look at the OU game.

Exhibit A: On the first drive of the game, facing a fourth-and-1 at the OU 24, New Mack went for it. Old Mack would have definitely kicked a field goal and taken the early 3-0 lead. The last time Texas lead OU, Clinton was in the White House.

But New Mack doesn’t settle, he goes for it. The risk paid off, as Jamaal Charles gained 11 yards on a toss. (More proof this is New Mack: If Old Mack had gone for it, the call would have been a sneak.) Two plays later, Texas scores a touchdown and sends a message to the Sooners that this year is going to be different.

Exhibit B: Texas takes possession at its own 30-yard line with just 55 seconds remaining in the first half. Leading 17-6 and having no timeouts, many Texas fans sitting near me in the stands at the Cotton Bowl were content to play it safe and head into halftime with an 11-point lead. They figured there was no need to risk making a mistake that might allow OU to get back into the game. And that’s what Old Mack would have done.

That was the coach who took a knee at the 50-yard line with just a few seconds left in the first half in 2001 against OU, when his quarterback was strong-armed Chris Simms and his top receiver was future NFL star Roy Williams. His postgame explanation: “The wind was tricky.”

But New Mack’s totally different in 2005. With the clock ticking down to less than 30 seconds, New Mack went deep, and the result was a backbreaking 64-yard touchdown pass from Vince Young to a wide-open Billy Pittman. Game, set, match. You could tell at that moment the game was over.

The story about how Mack took the reins off Vince Young after Texas’ game against Missouri last year has been told repeatedly this season, but the real story should be about finding out when Old Mack turned into New Mack.

Old Mack never won a conference title. New Mack’s on his way to two rings, one for the Big 12 championship and another for the national championship.

--TR--



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