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MACK BROWN TURNS 60 A WEEK BEFORE HIS TEAM'S OPENER ON Sept. 3, but other than the gray hair he's earned over his 13 seasons in Austin, he's not showing his age. During the spring game he chest-bumped linebacker Keenan Robinson, and in late April, less than six months after the Longhorns finished with their worst record since 1997, Brown looked rejuvenated. "It wasn't fun even when we won last year," he says. "This spring was a blast."
That could be because a month after Texas's debacle of a season ended, Brown put an overhaul—and a youth movement—in motion. He hired a 34-year-old co--offensive coordinator (Bryan Harsin), a 37-year-old defensive coordinator (Manny Diaz) and a 35-year-old strength coach (Bennie Wylie). Brown also promoted 33-year-old Major Applewhite to share the offensive duties with Harsin, the architect of the Boise State offense that has averaged 41.4 points per game over the last five years.
Along with bringing in new coaches for the offensive line, wide receivers and defensive tackles, Brown opened up the competition at quarterback—a battle that will continue into the fall—after junior Garrett Gilbert threw 17 interceptions and 10 touchdowns last season as the Horns finished tied for 116th in the nation in turnover margin (18 gained, 30 lost).
Whoever is under center (sophomore Case McCoy, Colt's little brother, is among the candidates), the offense will have a different look than it did under Greg Davis. Brown calls his coordinator duo "really creative" and points out that while the Longhorns used six formations against Wyoming last fall, Harsin's Boise State team used 26. "We're going to be all over the place with our formations and motions and shifts," says Brown.
Under Diaz, Mississippi State's coordinator last season, the Texas defense will also look different; the Longhorns will blitz more than in the past. Diaz, who wears cleats and who sprints everywhere during practice, brings a more lighthearted intensity than his predecessor, Will Muschamp, now the coach at Florida.
Muschamp was head-coach-in-waiting at Texas, but Brown's off-season makeover shows he is serious about turning things around—as are his players. "Last year we basically got checked in the mouth," says running back Fozzy Whittaker. "We want to make sure that doesn't happen again."
COACH Mack Brown (14th year) 133--34 (82--22 in Big 12)
CO--OFFENSIVE COORDINATORS Major Applewhite, Bryan Harsin