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UT Hopes Coaching Change Makes A Difference
September 09, 2013
Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 25 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

The saying goes that desperate times call for desperate measures. That’s one way to describe the coaching staff shakeup at Texas.

Saturday the Longhorns lost to BYU 40-21. The Cougars gained a school-record 550 yards rushing and it also was a school record for UT for most rushing yards allowed. BYU attempted 72 rushing plays and had only three went for negative yardage. Last year, Texas averaged 10 missed tackles a game; that figure was doubled by the Cougars’ ball carriers.

Sunday Texas announced that defensive coordinator Manny Diaz had been relieved of his duties. Greg Robinson, hired in July as a quality control analyst, replaces Diaz. Robinson was in charge of the UT defense when it finished ranked 23rd in the nation and won the Rose Bowl following the 2004 season.

For the first time in his 30 seasons as a head coach, Brown has dismissed a coordinator during the season. After 2012 when the Longhorns had the worst defense in school history, Brown thought the necessary fixes would and had been made.

"I made some hard decisions last year whether to keep the defensive staff intact or not,” Brown said Monday. “They knew there was a short leash."

"When you lose at Texas you're going to be bashed. My responsibility is to go and win Saturday (against Ole Miss). If I did the opposite (not fire Diaz) I would be bashed for that"

Brown watched the film from Saturday’s game on his iPad on the flight to Austin. The tale of the tape was that UT’s defensive scheme for BYU was flawed and that Diaz made no corrections as the game went on and the yardage piled up.

With 19 starters returning from a 9-4 team, the Longhorns had high hopes for this season. At 1-1, the story for this season as yet to be written. Replacing a coordinator two games into a season is rarely a good sign.

“This is a tough deal for everyone involved, but I love The University of Texas, and Coach Brown has been wonderful to me,” Robinson said. “I’ll do anything I can to help him, so when he called, I told him I’d be there today. I know the staff, have a lot of respect for them and am excited for the challenge moving forward.”

A Note From Bill Snyder
Your Humble Correspondent can safely and confidently report that Kansas State’s Bill Snyder is a great football coach but that he might be a greater person. Snyder is one classy dude (even if at age 73 he’s not exactly a “dude.”)

The Wildcats’ 24-21 season-opening loss to North Dakota State was gut-punch that would have left your average head coach bitter and simmering. Not Snyder. He sent a hand-written note to Bison quarterback Brock Jensen.

“I do it after virtually every game,” Snyder said during Monday’s coaches’ teleconference. “To players who have played well and to coaches whose teams have prepared well. Just a congratulatory note.”

A Scheduling Explanation
The Notre Dame-Michigan series will end after next season’s game. Before the Fighting Irish visited Ann Arbor Saturday, much was made about whether it was a traditional and historic rivalry.

Notre Dame will start a scheduling arrangement with the Atlantic Coast Conference, where all of its sports other than football will start competing with the splintering of the Big East Conference. There’s also the matter of Notre Dame’s non-conference scheduling.

"In essence, the substitution I'm making for the next six years is really Texas for Michigan," said Notre Dame’s athletic director Swarbrick who scheduled his team to face Arizona State at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Oct. 5. "That has to do with getting us to the Southwest. I've got plenty of Midwest presence. If I say to myself, is Notre Dame at an advantage by being in Texas or Ann Arbor, it's more of an advantage being in Austin."

Texas and Notre Dame begin a four-game home and home series in 2015.

Baylor Numbers To Note
It’s only two games so this is a small sample size. But Baylor’s offense, which leads the nation in scoring at 69.5 points per game, has some eye-rubbing numbers. The Bears have 17 scoring drives that have produced touchdowns.

Average number of plays: 5

Average length of drive: 64 yards

Average time of possession: 1 minute, 11 seconds.

Longest drive for a TD: 89 yards

Most plays for a TD drive: 8 (3 times).

Just one of Baylor’s 17 touchdown drives has taken more than two minutes. And that one lasted two minutes … and seven seconds.

Hot Reads
* Junior Blake Bell will start at quarterback for Oklahoma against Tulsa Saturday. Redshirt freshman Trevor Knight, who beat Bell for the starting job, suffered a bruised knee in last Saturday’s game and is expected to miss at least one week. Sophomore Kendall Thompson, who suffered a broken foot early in training camp, is expected to return to practice this week.

* Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters has thrown more interceptions this season than he did last season in junior college. He has four interceptions in 60 attempts; last season in 333 attempts he had three. Over the past two seasons, Collin Klein had 15 interceptions in 585 attempts.

* Texas wide receiver/running back Daje’ Johnson was injured (ankle sprain) early in the loss at BYU and will miss Saturday’s game against No. 25 Ole Miss. Quarterback David Ash is listed as questionable with head and shoulder issues.

* The Big 12 has seven quarterbacks who were starters for their NFL teams in Week One. No other conference has more. The list: Robert Griffin III (Baylor), Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State), Josh Freeman (Kansas State), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Geno Smith (West Virginia), Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M) and Blaine Gabbert (Missouri). Tannehill and Gabbert played in college when their schools were members of the Big 12.

* Oklahoma’s Tyrus Thompson, the team’s starting offensive left tackle, was injured late in the victory over West Virginia but was expected to be at practice Monday. OU defensive back Aaron Colvin left the game in the first half after suffering a chipped molar. He was at the dentist Monday.

* Texas Tech freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield is currently the Big 12 leader in passing touchdowns and passing yardage; he’s third nationally in that category. He has attempted 90 passes (24 more than any other Big 12 QB) with no interceptions. Mayfield remains a walk on. Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday that the team is at its scholarship limit of 85 so it can’t put Mayfield on scholarship.

* Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops “celebrated” his 53rd birthday Monday by spending 10 minutes on the Big 12 coaches teleconference and then holding his weekly news conference in Norman. “Birthdays beat the alternative,” Stoops said.

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