Some random thoughts about the Longhorn Network’s first wave of programming, announced today by officials at ESPN and the University of Texas:
The description for football coach Mack Brown’s weekly Rewind with Mack Brown program (Mondays during the season), as described in today’s news release, promises viewers the coach’s thoughts on the previous game “with a no-holds-barred attitude that Longhorn fans have come to expect from him.”
Really? I’m fascinated by what constitutes a “no-holds-barred” approach from Mack the Nice, who has a reputation for coddling players and once stepped in to answer a post-game question directed to quarterback Chris Simms after a loss to Oklahoma because he thought the question was too hard-edged.
In fairness, Brown did get feisty in interview sessions last season, calling out unnamed coaches and players for their roles in stunning losses to UCLA and Iowa State. Brown cited entitlement issues and a lack of trust in those sessions, and others, as the 5-7 season unfolded. But he did not name names (meaning he held his tongue, which would not be consistent with a “no-holds-barred attitude”).
This isn’t meant as criticism. Brown is a top-flight coach and a likable guy who succeeds at recruiting, in part, because he promises parents he will not embarrass their sons in a public setting. So to see his coaching show promising a “no-holds-barred attitude” from a coach known for his slick PR skills is … uh, fascinating, to say the least.
The Texas All Access show offers a description saying camera crews will be “embedded with the coaches and players to provide access to the inner workings of Longhorn football.” Maybe so. But expect a lot more internal editing of the final product than what goes into the presentation of HBO’s Hard Knocks when those camera crews visit NFL training camps.
Otherwise, the rest of the shows detailed today sound like basic, must-have, highlight/feature fodder for 24-hour network that will debut on Aug. 26. Below is a look at the description of the upcoming programs on the Longhorn Network, taken directly from today’s news release:
• Longhorn Extra (10 p.m. CT) – A nightly news and information show dedicated to the University of Texas. Every Monday through Friday, viewers will get highlights, updates, analysis, interviews, and behind the scenes looks at all 20 varsity sports teams.
• Rewind with Mack Brown (Mondays, 7 p.m.) – Exclusively on Longhorn Network, airing Mondays after every game, Coach Mack Brown will breakdown that week’s match-up, highlighting key plays and turning points, with a no-holds-barred attitude that Longhorn fans have come to expect from him.
• Texas All Access (Wednesdays, 8 p.m.) – Each week, viewers will get a never-before-seen inside look at a Texas team or group. During Wednesdays in the fall, the show will focus exclusively on the football team with camera crews embedded with the coaches and players to provide access to the inner workings of Longhorn football.
• Game Plan with Mack Brown (Thursdays, 7 p.m.) – Exclusively on Longhorn Network, every Thursday during the season, Coach Mack Brown will preview the upcoming match-up with an inside look at game preparation and a breakdown of the keys to victory.
• Texas GameDay (two hours prior to kick every Saturday) – In the mold of ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning College GameDay, Texas GameDay will be live from inside the stadium prior to kick-off for all home football games, and live from its Austin studio for all away games. Through a unique blend of talent, insights, analysis, and fan interaction, the show will build excitement around the game, providing viewers and fans with a full game day experience.
_ Jimmy Burch