By Pete Thamel
“It’s up in the air,” the source said. “My thought is he’ll probably do the right thing for himself and Texas and step down. But coaches have something in their DNA that don’t normally let them do that. How many times have you seen it? With [Joe] Paterno or [Bobby] Bowden? People forget Darrell Royal was 5-5-1 in his last season.”
The source said any notion that the result of Saturday’s game will have a direct impact on Brown’s future -- win and he stays or lose and he’s gone -- is incorrect. The source said Texas officials are waiting to see what Brown says after the Baylor game is over.
“I don’t think anyone knows what Mack is thinking,” the source said. “Everyone is sitting around for the Saturday game to be over and for him to say something.”
No. 23 Texas (8-3, 7-1) enters its matchup with No. 9 Baylor (10-1, 7-1) tied for first place in the Big 12 standings. No. 6 Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1) is also tied atop the league standings. The Cowboys hold the tiebreaker, as they beat the Longhorns (38-13) on Nov. 16 and the Bears (49-17) on Nov. 23. Texas has an outside shot at an outright Big 12 title if it beats the Bears and Oklahoma upsets Oklahoma State.
If the ‘Horns won the Big 12 title (or a share of the Big 12 title), it would put new athletic director Steve Patterson in a tough position, according to the source.
“How does a new AD come in and fire the guy in the first few weeks he’s on the job?” the source said, referring to the Big 12 championship scenario. “I don’t see that happening.”
Brown led Texas to the 2005 national championship, the last season in which a team from outside the SEC won the BCS title. Brown also led the Longhorns to the 2009 championship game, which it lost to Alabama. However, the program has slipped significantly in recent seasons, as Texas has struggled to find an identity on offense or on defense. Two blowout losses in nonconference play to BYU and Ole Miss earlier this year put Brown in a tenuous position. He fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz on Sept. 8 and brought in Greg Robinson; Texas has won seven of its nine games since.
Still, the question that lingers in Austin is whether Brown can return the ‘Horns to a national championship caliber team, something they haven’t been since 2009. “I personally hope he decides to retire and go out on a good note,” the source said. “It’s a tough call. Ten years from now he’ll be remembered as a great all-time coach at Texas. At this point all he can do is tarnish his reputation.”