Season On The Brink

(This started as a reply to someone, but metastasized into the FanPost you see now)


I've been trying to put a bit of perspective on the team's current situation and while my initial instinct is to compare them with Tech teams of the past, too often I think we've all been dealt really sobering reminders of how different this current squad is from "Typical Tech"s of the past- so I thought I'd take it in a slightly different direction.

I've decided that my personal yardstick on whether what we're looking at is a problem that can be corrected by the current staff or whether a housecleaning might be required is to compare what happens in these last three games to the end of UT's season in 2010. The similarities are actually kind of eerie: last year by week 8, UT had: dropped two straight to UCLA (an embarrassing loss) and OU (a competitive loss), upset a ranked team on the road (Nebraska), and then dropped another two in a row to Iowa State and Baylor in stunning losses that undermined whatever confidence the Nebraska win had engendered.

Sound familiar? 

We've lost 4 games thus far this year. Two of them were competitive losses which are tough to take as it is, but the last two are the kind of woodshed beatings that lead one to think that maybe the wheels are coming off the wagon. 

Now, that point in the season was a crossroads for the 2010 Longhorns, but instead of pulling themselves together, they collapsed down the stretch, losing their last 3 conference games and only notching one more win, courtesy of Florida Atlantic. Most people watching the program pretty much agreed that the coaching staff had lost the players, the players either lacked peer leadership or were tuning out said leadership, and by the end there were some pretty ugly schisms within the coaching staff, even before assistants started leaving/getting fired. That's when Mack Brown started cleaning house.

To preface, I dislike Mack Brown. I find his politicking and senatorial smile insincere, and his newfound enthusiasm for the minutiae of his team's goings-on seems to be more about responding to his critics than being genuinely interested in surrendering the role of CEO Coach that he basically invented. But I credit Mack Brown with this: his response to that disastrous 2010 collapse has thus far appeared to be more or less right on the money, and the energy with which he addressed those problems demonstrated that he really wanted to keep the job. He could have easily pointed to the trophy case and said "wait 'till the new hosses get on campus", but instead he basically ripped out the foundation and started from scratch. 

Tuberville has a few advantages over Mack Brown in terms of his current predicament. As successful as Brown has been, at a job like UT, he did not have the luxury of sustaining two losing seasons in a row without his job being in jeopardy; Tuberville, two seasons in, is almost guaranteed a pass on this season and probably will be given until 2014 by the powers that be before any serious "Where Are We Going" discussions start among the kahunas. He also has a quarterback and an offense that, while displaying a newfound nasty habit of laying eggs, can also still play ball now and then: UT's offense with the Double G at the helm was a complete tire fire, barely averaging 20 points per game. 

Tech Football has enjoyed its longest unbroken string of winning seasons in school history, with a bowl appearance streak over a decade old. Now, the team is coming off two straight beatings nursing a 5-4 record, staring a tough 3 game stretch that leaves us with a very real possibility of finishing below .500 in Tuberville's second year. Obviously I'm rooting hard for a strong finish, and I think the team that beat OU and edged Nevada can beat Mizzou and Baylor, but I don't think the team of the last two weeks could beat a motivated intramural squad. So while it's not too late for Tuberville to right the ship on 2011, it's probably more likely that Tech will be going into the offseason with one of its worst, if not the worst, performance in recent history. Is Tuberville willing to pull a Mack Brown and make the changes that need to be made, or will he do what a lot of fans expect, and double down and write 2011 off as a casualty of the "rebuilding" process? What happens in the next few weeks will be instructive.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Viva The Matadors' writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Viva The Matadors' writers or editors.</em>

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