Mack's September firing of coordinator Manny Diaz has invigorated the UT defense, and while Mack should be slapped for hiring Diaz, the midseason firing — no easy thing to do — has been a bonanza for the 'Horns.
But Mack's ability to keep his team believing — when it has lost to heavy underdogs, even when his goose seems cooked, even when it's a do-or-die fourth down — is the most impressive element of this coaching job.
“We've just got trust in each other,” said defensive end Cedric Reed. “If we get into a bad situation, we know we trust each other that we're going to get out of the situation.”
Those are just words that don't mean anything. Except the Longhorns have proved them to be true. They've had ample opportunity to fold. Everyone expected them to fold. Yet they didn't.
And Mack deserves the credit. He remained calm. He remained confident.
“Do you know that every player and every coach on the team was looking at me to see how I respond?” Brown said. “Every one of them. And if I'm tight, they're tight.
“I told them, 'This is who we are, how much fun is this, we're exactly where we like to be.' We're going to make it.”
McCoy tossed a nine-yard completion to Jaxon Shipley on that fourth-and-seven. Soon enough, Texas' unbeaten Big 12 record was safe.
All that drivel from Mack in September, talking about competing for a Big 12 championship? It wasn't drivel. It was a coach who kept the faith.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.