Texas Coach Mack Brown has answer for critics

Texas Coach Mack Brown receives a celebratory ice-water shower following the Longhorns' 36-20 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday.
Texas Coach Mack Brown receives a celebratory ice-water shower following the Longhorns’ 36-20 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday.
(Tom Pennington / Getty Images)

Doubters and haters. That’s how Mack Brown described the critics who have been howling for the head of the 16-year Texas football coach.

“The only way to shut them up is to win,” Brown said in a television interview last week. “You shut them up, they’re your best friend, they want autographs and pictures. I’ve seen it before.”

He’ll probably see it again after the Longhorns, unranked and two-touchdown underdogs, manhandled 12th-ranked Oklahoma in Saturday’s Red River Shootout, a 36-20 victory that wasn’t really that close in a steamy Cotton Bowl.


Case McCoy threw for two touchdowns, the aptly named 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle Chris Whaley returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown, and Daje Johnson returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown to give Brown at least a temporary reprieve from speculation he’ll be fired.

Not only did the win avenge lopsided losses (63-21 and 55-17) to Oklahoma in the previous two years, it probably assured Brown will finish out this season in Austin.

“I’m not worried about how this affects me,” the often-understated Brown said after the Longhorns (4-2, 3-0 in the Big 12) won their third straight after a 1-2 start and dealt Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1) its first loss. “I’m just worried about the TCU game next week.”

Brown may have saved his job with a bold move that cost one of his assistant coaches his job. On Sept. 8, a day after the Longhorns’ second game, a 40-21 loss to Brigham Young in which they yielded 550 yards rushing, Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and replaced him with Greg Robinson.

After surrendering an average of 7.0 yards per carry to BYU and Mississippi, the Longhorns have held their last three opponents — Kansas State, Iowa State and Oklahoma — to 3.6 yards per carry.

After two sacks in the first three games, Texas has racked up 13 in the last three, including four when they lowered the Boomer Sooner on Oklahoma, which had 263 total yards and converted two of 13 third-down opportunities.

“It’s really amazing to see what Greg Robinson and those defensive coaches have done to tie this together, to put in the run-stopping defense they put in today,” Brown said. “It’s amazing to see after the BYU game what this has become.”

New perspective

Former USC coach Lane Kiffin said watching the Trojans’ 38-31 victory over Arizona Thursday night “was like watching someone else raise your kids.”

In his first public comments since being fired on Sept. 29, Kiffin took the high road during an interview with Chris Fowler on ESPN’s “GameDay” show in Seattle.

Kiffin said he had “a great passion” for USC and Trojans players and coaches, and “to have that taken away is very hard.”

Kiffin, who compiled a 28-15 record in three-plus seasons, inherited a program that was hit by the NCAA with severe sanctions, including the loss of 30 scholarships over three years. He was fired by Athletic Director Pat Haden after a 62-41 loss at Arizona State.

“Obviously, I’m to blame being the head coach,” said Kiffin, 38. “There’s a lot of things I should have done better.”

Kiffin indicated he would probably return to coaching, but he appeared comfortable on camera, even while Washington fans heckled him.

“There’s not very much stress in this right here,” he said. “This is nothing.”

Send in the Clown

So, what became of South Carolina’s All-American defensive end who caught all sorts of flak for taking himself out of last week’s 35-28 win over Kentucky just before kickoff because of a rib-cage injury?

That’s a Clowney question, bro.

Jadeveon Clowney invited scrutiny and criticism, with many wondering if he was fully committed to the Gamecocks or if he was protecting himself for next spring’s NFL draft, where he is projected as a top pick.

South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier all but accused Clowney of exaggerating his injury when, after the Kentucky game, he said, “If he wants to play, we will welcome him to come play for the team if he wants.”

Coach and player made up later in the week, and Clowney returned Saturday, though he wasn’t a factor in the Gamecocks’ 52-7 victory over Arkansas.

Clowney had one tackle — giving him 13 tackles and two sacks on the season — but he didn’t have much of a chance to shine. South Carolina held possession for 43 minutes 25 seconds; Arkansas had the ball for 16:35.

Hold that Tiger

If there were any doubts about unbeaten Missouri’s inclusion in the Associated Press top 25, they were erased between the hedges in Athens, Ga., where the 25th-ranked Tigers upset No. 7 Georgia, 41-26, despite losing quarterback James Franklin to a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter.

Missouri (6-0) intercepted two of Heisman Trophy candidate Aaron Murray’s passes, including James Ponder’s pick with 4:25 left to set up Henry Josey’s game-sealing seven-yard touchdown run, and the Tigers limited the Georgia quarterback to 290 yards passing.

“I think we earned a little more respect,” Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel said. “The respect level just went up a couple of notches.”

mike.digiovanna@latimes.comTwitter: @MikeDiGiovanna

Staff writer Gary Klein contributed to this report.