BYU football: Hill-led rout triggered big changes at Texas
Cougars’ 40-21 victory in Provo sealed Brown’s fate; replacement Strong making lots of changes.
Published: September 4, 2014 05:21PM
Updated: September 4, 2014 11:19PM
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Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) looks over his shoulder as he runs for a 68 yard touchdown as BYU played the University of Texas, Lavell Edwards stadium, Saturday, September 7, 2013.

Provo • BYU fans will always remember it as the stormy night Typhoon Taysom obliterated Texas.

For the Longhorns, however, last September’s 40-21 loss at LaVell Edwards Stadium was much more than a disappointment.

The shockingly lopsided defeat, which started after a two-hour delay because slashing wind, driving rain and spectacular lightening rolled across Utah Lake just before kickoff, shook one of college football’s elite programs to its foundation.

The fallout began immediately.

After BYU quarterback Taysom Hill ran for 259 yards and three touchdowns, longtime coach Mack Brown declared the Longhorns’ level of play was “unacceptable. ... We didn’t get our job done as players and coaches.”

One day later, Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was fired. The rare in-season dismissal of an assistant spoke volumes about the doubt, anger and mistrust BYU had created within the football power structure in Austin and across the state.

Brown would be next.

He survived the season, which turned out to be respectable (8-5). But the whispers that began after the loss in Provo grew louder and louder. By the end, they had become a demand for action.

In December — one step ahead of the posse — Brown resigned. His last game as the coach at Texas was a 30-7 loss to Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.

Less than a month later, Charlie Strong was named to replace Brown. He signed a five-year, $25 million contract to become the first African-American coach of any men’s team at Texas. He is the only African-American head football coach in the Big 12 Conference.

When he was hired, Strong said, “The program is going to be about physical and mental toughness.” He also vowed to rid the Texas football of what he called a growing and destructive “sense of entitlement” among its players.

Apparently, Strong meant what he said.

Five Longhorns were quickly and permanently kicked off the team because, according to media reports in Texas, they were unwilling to accept the new “core values” of the program.

At the start of preseason camp, Strong had the Longhorn decals removed from all helmets, saying they would return only when the players earned the honor of having them put back.

Off the field, upperclassmen were no longer to live off-campus, where behavior not endorsed by the coaching staff was more likely to occur.

At Big 12 media days this summer, senior defensive back Quandre Diggs claimed the players being impacted by the stricter rules of the new regime have embraced them.

“... We had guys that just didn’t love football the way they should,” he said.

Heading into Saturday night’s rematch against BYU, Texas is 1-0. In Strong’s debut, the Longhorns rolled to a 38-7 victory over North Texas last weekend.

The Texas defense, which Hill shredded a year ago in Provo, was outstanding. The Mean Green managed only 94 yards. Their quarterbacks completed three of 17 passes for 15 yards. They were intercepted four times. Still, BYU is the game Texas players and fans has been anticipating for months — since the beat down.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say we circled it,” said senior receiver John Harris, “but we definitely have been waiting for this one. It was a hard-fought loss for us. We didn’t perform the way we wanted to perform. So we are really looking forward to this one.”

Are the Longhorns seeking revenge?

“I wouldn’t say it was necessarily revenge,” Harris said. “We just want to go out there and redeem ourselves from that game. That wasn’t us and that’s not who we are now.”

Said Diggs: “We heard about that game a lot. We still hear about it. ... [But] I can’t wait until you see us.”

luhm@sltrib.com

Longhorns trail

Former head coach Mack Brown’s season-by-season record at Texas:

Year Overall Big 12 Bowl

1998 9-3 6-2 Cotton Bowl

1999 9-5 6-2 Cotton Bowl

2000 9-3 7-1 Holiday Bowl

2001 11-2 7-1 Holiday Bowl

2002 11-2 6-2 Cotton Bowl

2003 10-3 7-1 Holiday Bowl

2004 11-1 7-1 Rose Bowl

2005 13-0 8-0 Rose Bowl

2006 10-3 6-2 Alamo Bowl

2007 10-3 5-3 Holiday Bowl

2008 12-1 7-1 Fiesta Bowl

2009 13-1 8-0 BCS title game

2010 5-7 2-6 None

2011 8-5 4-5 Holiday Bowl

2012 9-4 5-4 Alamo Bowl

2013 8-5 7-2 Alamo Bowl

BYU at Texas

O Saturday, 5:30 p.m.

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