Hooked: Brown Says LHN May Be Affecting Texas' On-Field Product
Univ. of Texas football coach Mack Brown yesterday "expressed some concerns" about the team's relationship with Longhorn Network, such as the "time commitment from him as well as if opponents may be gaining a competitive advantage" from watching it, according to Chip Brown of ORANGEBLOODS.com. Mack Brown "maintains LHN can be great exposure for Texas players, assistant coaches and for the school itself and is an incredible product for fans." However, Brown said that he "knows opponents are watching LHN content, which includes three shows featuring Brown breaking down Texas and opponents; an 'All-Access' show on Wednesdays; as well as the first 8 periods of practices." UT has added "two full-time staffers in the sports information department in the past year to help handle the production demands of LHN." Brown said that he is "spending six hours a week minimum preparing, participating or traveling to the studio for shows that air on LHN." Brown: "There's no question it takes away some of your time. And when you do a show, if your mind is somewhere else, you're screwing that up, too." He added, "I'm the soldier. If they tell me to go work with Longhorn Network, I'm going to do it, and I'm going to do it to try to help our football team the best I can." Brown said that UT Associate AD/Football Media Relations John Bianco watches LHN "to make sure ESPN isn't showing content that could be an advantage for opponents" (ORANGEBLOODS.com, 10/22). In San Antonio, Mike Finger notes Brown "stopped short of directly blaming LHN for his team's on-field struggles but called the network's non-stop coverage 'a difficult situation.'" UT men's AD DeLoss Dodds said the issues Brown raised with the media were "easy fixes" and LHN remains "a great advantage to our student-athletes" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 10/23).
THEY ASKED FOR IT: In Austin, Kirk Bohls writes when Brown "complains that he has to commit too much time to his duties with the Longhorn Network, it smacks of blatant hypocrisy." Bohls: "Texas is overexposed because, well, Texas sought the extra exposure. Go figure." His "own school pursued 24/7 coverage of all things burnt orange" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 10/23). In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel asked, "What were Brown and UT expecting when they agreed to a 20-year deal with ESPN for $300 million -- all softball all the time?" Engel: "The only way this network was going to be sold to more cable carriers was increased access to a football team that wins a lot. Softball and women's soccer isn't going to cut it" (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 10/22). YAHOO SPORTS' Frank Schwab wrote, "To think that Oklahoma beat Texas 63-21 because of the network ... is flat out preposterous. To think that Texas can't tackle anyone this season because Mack Brown has to drive to the network studios to answer some questions is absurd." To think "that opponents are winning because of things they pick up on the Longhorn Network ... is paranoia at its most extreme." The whole thing "comes off as whining in the worst way" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/22). In San Antonio, Buck Harvey writes under the header, "Poor Mack: The Great Salesman Is Tone Deaf" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 10/23).