AUSTIN, Texas — At different times, Mack Brown sounded resolute, determined and even quietly defiant Monday about his status as Texas football coach.
If you want the short version of the 32-minute Monday news conference: Brown said he's not going anywhere any time soon, at least on his own.
Forget any pressure to retire or resign from a disgruntled fan base or questions from a skeptical media after Texas' 63-21 implosion to Oklahoma in Dallas. Brown sounded like a coach on a mission, one he fully expects to complete.
“I know I have the time to fix it, and I know I can,” Brown said. “I'm way too competitive and have way too much pride to lose something bad.”
The 61-year-old Brown received an extension earlier this year that takes his contract through 2020. The deal is worth more than $5 million annually, making him one of the highest paid coaches in the country. The extension also came with a manageable $3.5 million buyout, which seemed to be the least of Brown's worries.
Several times, Brown referenced the support of athletic director DeLoss Dodds, who hired him before the 1998 season, and school president Bill Powers.
Brown said he had “hard discussions” with Dodds and Powers in 2010, following a 5-7 season and the departure of coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp for Florida. During the talks, Brown said he was pledged the support and money to do bring Texas back.
“I've got great bosses,” Brown said. “I'm the luckiest guy in the world.”
Other coaches have pressure, Brown said, not him.
He also cited supportive calls and texts from former players and boosters, whom he declined to identify, telling him “to keep his head up.”
Dodds has publicly back Brown throughout his tenure. In an interview last week before the Oklahoma loss, Dodds pointed to North Carolina when asked about Brown. Look at the record at North Carolina before, during and after Brown, Dodds said.
Brown won at least 10 games three times at North Carolina from 1988-97. Before he arrived, North Carolina had won as many as 10 games four times in its history. Since Brown left, it has failed to reach double-figure victories.
Brown's mindset manifested itself Sunday in a meeting with his players. He told them that he wasn't going to quit and didn't want his players too, either.
“There will be some people who say, ‘He thought about retiring before and he'll quit now,'” Brown said.
Said offensive lineman Mason Walters: “Coach Brown is a fighter, and I think that's really representative of this team because we're going to do the same.”
Brown didn't spare himself, his players and especially his two second-year coordinators, Manny Diaz and Bryan Harsin.
“At this school, you will be really criticized for not doing well in a ballgame,” Brown said. “You take it and man up and handle it and move on. That's one of the reasons you get paid a lot. You guys want to be head coaches, learn now because you're going to get some questions later.”
The problems are numerous and significant, led by a defense on pace to be the most porous in Texas history.
The Longhorns lost standout defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat for the season with a ruptured pectoral muscle and aren't sure when or if linebacker Jordan Hicks (hip) will return.
Any dismissive references to good stuff on film outweighing the bad have given way to reality.
“Right now, we have no confidence in our run defense,” defensive end Alex Okafor said.
Brown said the defense and pretty much everything else is fixable this season.
“I think we can be really good,” Brown said. “We had a bad game.”