While Texas used their latest bye week to mend the rash of injuries that have hamstrung the Longhorns since opening week, the cacophony questioning the program's viability cranked up – with subversive helpings from several iconic Longhorns.
Head coach Mack Brown appeared on The Dan Patrick Show on Sept. 27 to orchestrate some coast-to-coast damage control and proffer the final word on a year's worth of criticism and second guessing over Texas' failure to adequately vet Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel, as well as Florida State freshman quarterback sensation, Jameis Winston. To speak nothing of Houston-area product Andrew Luck, Brown maintained that UT evaluated all three with varying intensity but only tendered a scholarship offer to Griffin III, as an "athlete."
Brown primarily wanted to dispel the particularly damaging rumor that Texas coveted A&M's Manziel as a defensive back. "We never offered [a scholarship to] Johnny," Brown told Patrick, "and we sure didn't offer him as a safety. That's been blown out of proportion."
Despite the shots that continue to emanate from fans and media, three former Longhorns have recently knifed their way into the conversation by calling for Brown's head. Former UT players Chris Simms – a quarterback under Brown from 1999-2002 – and Brian Jones, a decorated linebacker in 1989, joined Heisman-winning running back Earl Campbell in advocating for a change at the top.
Monday's news that DeLoss Dodds, Texas' athletic director since 1981 and an ardent Brown supporter, plans to step down next August doesn't bode well for a status quo at Texas football that's been characterized by mediocrity and rampant underdevelopment of prized recruits since 2010.
Meanwhile, the 2013 Longhorns are suddenly trending upward following their season-salvaging home victory over Kansas State to open conference play. The rehabilitating Horns get what should be a cakewalk Thursday night against downtrodden Iowa State (1-2) before commencement of Red River Armageddon against No. 11 Oklahoma (4-0) on October 12.
If nothing more goes awry on the injury-front against the Cyclones, Texas will be at near full-strength for their bellwether bout with the Sooners. Quarterback David Ash's concussion will keep him out Thursday; backup Case McCoy will start in his place. Receiver/tailback Daje Johnson is likely to play against Iowa State; and senior receiver Mike Davis has been ruled a game-time decision.
The offense should reclaim a wealth of lost big-play potency, but can it possibly be enough to outscore the Big 12's heavyweights coming up over the next few weeks?