AUSTIN, TEXAS (AP) - Mack Brown could see the warning signs back in August.
After Texas’ first training camp scrimmage, the coach privately noted a lack of passion among his players and it worried him.
But what he didn’t know was that even a team as talented as this one would turn into a punching bag in its own stadium. The lackluster Longhorns have tumbled out of the Top 25 for the second time this season after losing 28-21 at home to Iowa State.
Brown called out his players and assistant coaches on Monday.
“I do think there’s some entitlement with this team. They sit around thinking it’s just going to happen,” Brown said. “They played hard, but I mean (play) with passion, fun and excitement. It’s all about confidence and passion …. I can handle a loss if we are playing with passion. I can’t if we’re not. “
Texas (4-3) has lost two in a row at home for the first time since 1997 and Brown’s initial postgame comments Saturday raised eyebrows when he said losing makes it difficult for him to trust that his assistant coaches are doing a good job.
Brown didn’t back off that assessment Monday.
“I told them if one of your guys is playing bad, I can change them. If three of your guys are playing bad, I change you,” Brown said. “I am ready to play each week.”
Brown deferred questions about schemes and play calling to offensive coordinator Greg Davis and defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. Texas hasn’t scored more than four offensive touchdowns in any game this season and Iowa State was the latest opponent to rip the defense for big rushing yards.
“I’m the CEO who’s responsible for it,” Brown said. “(But) I expect Greg Davis to run the offense and get his coaches to get their players ready to play. I expect Will Muschamp to run the defense and get his players, get his coaches to get the guys ready to play … I tell them all the time, ‘Get it fixed.’ That’s their job.”
Several Texas players were befuddled as to why the Longhorns have struggled from week to week.
Safety Blake Gideon agreed with Brown that nine consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins with one national championship and a chance to win another has bred arrogance within the program.
“We’ve learned we can’t just roll our helmet out there and win,” Gideon said. “If we don’t have our eyes open by now, we have a lot of growing up to do.”
Wide receiver Malcolm Williams said the effort by players in some practices has been “sketchy.”
“Sometimes, it’s just going through the motions,” Williams said.