Brown excited to unveil 2011 Longhorns
Texas coach Mack Brown knows Longhorns fans are excited to see what his new staff brings to a program trying to rebound from a 5-7 season. He is too.
But he's also realistic.
The Longhorns hold their annual spring scrimmage on Sunday, giving Texas fans and anyone else curious enough to turn on ESPN, a chance to see the first steps in Brown's rebuilding project.
''I want to see them being aggressive, be mentally tough, give 100 percent effort, and I do want to see them having fun. We didn't have any fun last year,'' Brown said Friday. ''(But) everybody should understand we are a work in progress. We're not considered a great team right now. We're a team that has question marks ... There's some anxiety but there's a whole lot of enthusiasm and excitement.''
Texas didn't play in a bowl game last season for the first time in 13 years, prompting wholesale staff changes as several assistants retired, resigned or got jobs elsewhere.
Brown kept spring practice closed to fans and the media to allow five new assistants, including co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin (Boise State) and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz (Mississippi State), to work with as few distractions as possible.
While fans will be watching to see if quarterback Garrett Gilbert has taken steps to shake off last season's 17 interceptions, or how the depleted secondary will look, Brown isn't looking for sparkling individual performances.
There's been too many changes, too much learning to do in a short time frame, to expect that so soon. Brown also cautioned that just because all four quarterbacks will likely take snaps with the first and second teams, it doesn't mean Gilbert has lost his job as the starter. Brow said he purposely avoided having a depth chart during the spring.
''There is no message to the players,'' Brown said. ''We've asked every player that was here last year to start over. The entire team and our staff are under the microscope.''
The Longhorns will scrimmage for about 90 minutes but won't run more than base offenses and defenses. With so many new assistants, ideas and schemes, Brown wants to keep opponents guessing about game plans until the fall. Any opposing coach who wants to watch can do it from his living room couch.
''Everybody's going to have the video,'' Brown said. ''We don't need a full scouting report so people can look at it all summer. We'd rather not give them a six-month game plan.''
Brown wants the atmosphere around the scrimmage to feel as much like a real game as possible. He's encouraged a big fan turnout and the players will go through a normal game-day routine with pregame meals and warmups. The Longhorns are also bringing in recruits to watch.
''I think it will be a lot of fun,'' Brown said. ''We want fans to see the new enthusiasm and toughness the guys have shown through the spring.''