JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: Dec. 15, 2013

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Pete Dawkins …

  • It came as no surprise that Mack Brown decided Saturday to step down as the Texas head coach. His name has been thrown out for days in speculation that he would either retire or be fired.

    The Cookeville native and brother of former Vanderbilt and current Tennessee Tech football coach Watson Brown was hired 16 years ago by Texas. He had earned that job by what he had accomplished at North Carolina. The Texas team the year before he was hired won three games and Brown re-built the Texas program into a national power.

    His most recent accomplishment was leading the Vince Young Texas team to a BCS National Championship against Southern Cal in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

    It has slowly eroded from that point on, to where the vultures were circling Austin.

    Brown has always been a class act. Whether he was pushed or decided on his own to step down, is semantics. No other major college football program in the country has as many political and booster levels as Texas. Brown had a lot of the right people in his corner for years, but the won-loss record slipped to a level that was unacceptable in the circles that matter.

    Alabama's Nick Saban has already decided not to pursue the job and stay in Tuscaloosa. The Longhorns will likely look at Stanford's David Shaw, Baylor's Art Briles, Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy and others.

  • Small wonder that former Raiders, Vols and Southern Cal head coach Lane Kiffin can't hold a job.

    Then Kiffin took over for Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee, he told Fulmer quarterback commitments Bryce Petty and Tajh Boyd that they didn't fit his system. Actually Petty said he never heard a word from Kiffin or his assistants.

    Of course Petty went on to have a great career at Baylor while Boyd did the same at Clemson. Both were Heisman Trophy candidates this season.

    And Vols fans never did figure out just what Kiffin's offensive system was with the Vols.

    Another memorable Kiffy blunder was when he warned wide receiver recruit Alshon Jefferey that if he signed with South Carolina, Jefferey would end up pumping gas the rest of his life.

    The 6-3, 216-pound Chicago Bears wide receiver is currently sixth in the NFL with 1,196 receiving yards. He is seventh in receiving yards per game at 91.8 yards and eighth in the NFL with 75 receptions.

    And Kiffin is the one looking for a job.

  • I would call South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier an equal opportunity jabber. He can jab opponents with the best of them. Check with former Tennessee Coach Phillip Fulmer on that. Or former Georgia Coach Ray Goff. Or … the list is long.

    In his inaugural press conference for the Capital One Bowl to be played in Orlando, Spurrier mused – “Somebody told me the Gators are staying home for the holidays. Maybe we can get a bunch of Gators to come to our game.''

    One of my favorites was when Spurrier was interested in returning to Florida as the head coach after he bombed in the NFL.

    He sent word to Florida AD Jeremy Foley that he was interested and Foley passed it on to new president Bernie Machen. Machen, who was going to hire Urban Meyer, whom he worked with at Utah, told Foley that Spurrier needed to send his resume.

    When told of Machen's request, the Head Ball Coach bristled. “Tell (Machen) to go to the trophy case,'' Spurrier told Foley. “My resume is in there.''

  • If anyone in the NFL has a more difficult job now than Washington's Mike Shanahan, it would be his son, Kyle.

    Kyle is the offensive coordinator, having left the Texans four years ago to join his father.

    The father-son combo is under attack from fans and they are stuck in the middle of a Robert Griffin IIIKirk Cousins debate on which quarterback they prefer.

    Kyle had a candid 22-minute media session recently in which he shared some personal feelings.

    Asked about the impact of criticism aimed his way, Kyle was up front.

    “I think it's hardened me…. I think some of the worst days I ever had going to school, was having to face my friends and stuff, being embarrassed. It was usually because my dad was in a game where they lost in the AFC Championship Game and didn't go to the Super Bowl,'' Kyle told Washington Post writer Mike Jones, among others.

    “I can remember those days and how devastating it was.''

    Fans can be toughest of all.

    One wrote this comment: “That play (Kyle) keeps running where RGIII drops straight back and gets sacked by an untouched defender is sheer genius.''

    As bad as it must seem, the Redskins are ninth in total offense. In his six years as an offensive coordinator, Kyle's offenses have been ranked in the top 10 during four of those seasons.

  • After a Thursday night home loss to the Chargers, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning faced the music.

    “They played better than we did,'' he said. “We were not as sharp. They executed well on defense. They made more plays than we did. They played better than we did on offense.''

    That's why Manning is a pro's pro.

  • Raise your hand if you've been offered the Texas job. The Longhorns failed to land the biggest fish in the ocean when Nick Saban decided to remain at Alabama.

    Posturing by Saban's Memphis based agent Jimmy Sexton forced Alabama to sweeten the pot to where Saban should never have any financial worries.

    It was a smart decision by Saban. He has total control at Bama. Boosters and politicians have control at Texas. Besides, it would have been a pain for Saban to pick up his statue and move it to Austin.

  • Bowl games I want to see (other than the BCS Championship Game):

    Miami (Fla) vs. Louisville – Howard Schnellenberger's fingerprints are all over this one. He coached both teams during his time.

    Texas vs. Oregon – Is this Mack Brown's swan song and can Oregon get its mojo back?

    MTSU vs. Navy – Blue Raiders snubbed last year. Navy has a disciplined triple option led by former Goodpasture QB Keenan Reynolds.

    Baylor vs. UCF – Both teams are 11-1 and come in with something to prove.

    Michigan State vs. Stanford – Both from power conferences. Sparty defense is stingy, keeping Ohio State out of BCS Championship Game and Stanford's offense has to prove it can score points. Rose Bowl played in Stanford's back yard.

    Alabama vs. Oklahoma – How does Tide get up for this game after failing to play for third straight national championship? Two great programs, but Oklahoma is not feared as they once were.

    Clemson vs. Ohio State – Can Buckeyes make up for losing Big Ten title game and an undefeated season? Clemson got beat by South Carolina. Both teams lost two games. But Clemson gets a BCS Bowl, Gamecocks don't.

    Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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