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Mack Brown talk dominates Alamo Bowl press conference

by: COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS - MACK BROWNTexas Longhorns football coach Mack Brown said Thursday morning that he will meet "in the near future" with new athletic director Steve Patterson and school president Bill Powers to talk about "where this program is going."

Talk about Brown's future at Texas, or possible lack thereof, has dominated the early publicity for the Dec. 30 Alamo Bowl.

That was the case Thursday morning, as well, as Brown and Oregon coach Mark Helfrich answered questions at a press conference to kick off the bowl festivities.

"My situation has not changed," said Brown, in his 16th season at Texas. "I've got the best president in the country in Bill Powers, he's unbelieveable. What we did lose is an iconic athletic director in DeLoss Dodds, who had been here for 32 years and runs the best program in the country.

"We've hired what I think is a great AD in Steve Patterson. I got to visit with him a little this week.

"Anytime your AD changes, that changes the game. I will sit down with he and Bill in the near future and talk about where this program is going.

"I'm looking forward to my meeting, and we'll all get on the same page and then move forward."

That was all Brown wanted to say about his job status.

"I want the focus to be on these kids and this bowl game," he said.

Brown's humor and loquacity dominated the remainder of press conference, though, as he lavished praise on the Ducks.

He was asked if Texas plays anyone that is similar on offense to Oregon.

"I don't think anybody does compare," he said. "They do a tremendous job of running the ball. They do not give you an opportunity to line up (on defense). They've got tremendous team speed. Where they do not get credit is the line of scrimmage, where they've really improved.

"Their QB (Marcus Mariota) is as good as anybody in America. He can throw and run. And when their backs touch it, they've got a a chance to score. Then they get their receivers in one-on-one situations, and that puts you in a bind."

Brown said he initially was concerned about how his players would respond to their 30-10 loss last week to Baylor. But he said being paired with Oregon in the Alamo Bowl put his worries to rest.

The big key in bowl games, he said, is which team can come in with an "edge" mentally. And, he said that largely because finding an edge can be difficult, "there's more upsets in bowl games than in any other part of our season."

So, he said, "You always worry when you lose your last game (before a bowl), especially when it means so much (like against Baylor), but we're so lucky that we drew one of the best teams in the country.

"I was worried about who we would draw and would our guys be excited about it. There's such a buzz about this opportunity to be challenged by this great football team.

"This is a BCS type team — Oregon could be as good as anybody in the country. They had a couple of slip-ups when they had some major injuries.

But Oregon's been one of the best teams in the country since these guys have been playing college football.

"We've got to hold up our end. They're going to hold up their end, because they're good."

At one point, rookie head coach Helfrich was moved to interject: "You're really good at this."by: COURTESY OF PAC-12 NETWORKS - MARK HELFRICH

Those were some of the few words Helfrich was able to get in edgewise, as Brown continued to hold the floor with a near-monologue.

"Mark's never lost a bowl game. I have," he said, drawing some laughs.

Brown, staying away from reports that he is about to resign as Longhorns coach, said he expects to have a good time during the bowl week, because "our coaches like their coaches. If you're coaching against somebody you don't like, it's not comfortable, because you're around each other all week. But this will be fun, and we'll have a great game."

Being in San Antonio will help, too, Brown said.

His Longhorns are 2-0 in Alamo Bowl games.

"There's no better city in this state or in this country that's great to the Longhorns more than San Antonio," Brown said. "When we played here before, the crowd was unbelievable, the games were great. We had to come back to win both games, and it was fun."