Sunday, July 02, 2006

Longhorn Q&A with Alan Trubow

Alan Trubow, of the Austin American Statesman, is the latest member of the media to stop by for a Big 12 football chat. The defending national champions, Texas Longhorns, are the subject of today’s Q&A.

My Opinion on Sports: Mack Brown shook a lot of monkeys off his back last season by winning the Big 12 and the National Championship. Has his coaching philosophy changed any over the past few years?

Alan Trubow: I don't think his coaching philosophy changed much at all. Mack had Vince Young. He had his most talented team since becoming a head coach. The Big 12 was way down, and Oklahoma was down. So everything came together. Did Mack do anything differently? Not in my opinion. For that reason, I don't really think the monkey is off Mack's back.

Beat Oklahoma this year, without VY, without the wide disparity in talent between the teams, and then I'll believe that Mack Brown is the best coach in the Big 12. Remember, Lloyd Carr won a championship at Michigan too, how's he done since then? One year doesn't make or break a coach. And Mack says the same thing.

My Opinion on Sports: Do you feel like Vince Young deserved the Heisman over Reggie Bush?

Alan Trubow: Depends on when you asked me. There were two things I thought last year. Right from the beginning, I thought Texas was the best team in the country — and I had just moved from the Midwest, so it wasn't because I was drinking the orange Kool-Aid. I also thought Vince Young was the best player in the country. However, when it was Heisman time, I was arguing for Reggie Bush. Looking back, it probably was the wrong person to argue for. How's that for walking the fence?

My Opinion on Sports: Oklahoma suffered through the growing pains of a freshman quarterback last season. How do you think it will affect the Longhorns this season?

Alan Trubow: The Longhorns will surround their rookie QBs with more talent this year than Oklahoma did last year. First of all, the UT running game will be better than Oklahoma's was after Peterson went down. Plus, UT's offensive line should give Colt McCoy or Jevan Snead plenty of time to throw. That being said, there are going to be some growing pains. Also, Oklahoma's season wasn't as bad as everybody made it out to be last season. Yes, they struggled early. But that team was rolling at the end of the year.

My Opinion on Sports: Two of the biggest games on the schedule for the Longhorns are the Ohio State and Oklahoma games. Share you thoughts on how you see those games turning out.

Alan Trubow: Here's my prediction. The Longhorns beat Ohio State and Oklahoma — I hope there's a way to delete this prediction down the road — and the Longhorns lose a game or two they shouldn't. I'm thinking Texas Tech or Nebraska.

Why do the Longhorns beat Ohio State? Because Texas' weakness (inexperienced quarterbacks) will match up well against Ohio State's inexperience, it's defense. Remember, the Buckeyes lost almost all of their defensive starters. I think that bodes well for Texas' running game, which should be explosive.

As for why the Longhorns will beat Oklahoma, just call it a hunch. Mack Brown needs to beat the Sooners again. Seriously. Not that Mack's job is ever going to come close to being in jeopardy over the next five-plus years, but if he starts losing to OU again, there will be talk about how he can't win the big one without Vince.

My Opinion on Sports: Sum up how you see the Big 12 North and South divisions finishing this season.

Alan Trubow: I think the Big 12 South goes to either Texas or OU. Surprised? I know, there's nothing earth shattering about those picks, but it's hard to see anybody else really competing with those two right now. You're talking about two preseason top fives.

As for the North. Well, does it really matter? No, really ... does it? Unless Nebraska returns to its mid-90s form, should we even be wasting time talking about this division? It's been brutal. Just to make a pick, I'll go with Nebraska. And they'll even have a winning record to go along with it.

My Opinion on Sports: Who wins the 2006 Big 12 Championship?

Alan Trubow: I'll go with Texas. But they won't be getting back to the national championship game.

Thanks Alan for stopping by and chatting. You can read more from Alan at the Austin American Statesman.

What did you think of Alan’s comments? Add your own opinions on the Big 12 and the Texas Longhorns in the Alan Trubow Thread on the My Opinion on Sports Message Board.