Chris Simms

There’s no doubt that Mack Brown and his Longhorns have experienced pressure so far during this 2-2 season, but recently even more has been added onto that pile.

Last Sunday, former Texas running back and Longhorns legend Earl Campbell broke his silence and offered his take on the Texas football program, telling Fox 26 in Houston Brown should no longer be the Longhorns head football coach. 

“Nobody likes to get fired or leave a job, but things happen,” Campbell said. “I’d go on record and say yes, I think it’s time.”

The Pro Football Hall of Famer and 1977 Heisman Trophy winner wasn’t the only one to come out against his alma mater. Former Texas quarterback Chris Simms spoke out to say Brown will not be back next season and the Longhorns don’t have enough talent to save the rest of this season.

“Earl has been great for this university,” Brown said. “He will always be welcome here.  He’s one of, if not our best, player ever. I was disappointed in the comments, but he’s entitled to say what he thinks.”

While Brown didn’t hesitate to respond to Campbell’s comments, he didn’t have much to say about Simms’ thoughts on the program.

“I haven’t talked to Chris since the national championship game, so it’s been forever,” Brown said. “I’m not listening to a lot of stuff out there. I’m worrying about Iowa State.”

Brown has been compared to Lane Kiffin, who was fired as USC’s head coach Sunday, adding fuel to the fire in Austin. 

“I’d just say this, I take my hat off for USC for what they’ve done,” Campbell said. “They didn’t mess around with it. They just said, ‘Let’s do it now.’ I think at some point our university’s people are going to have make a decision.”

However, the Longhorns have learned to ignore all of this outside influence and talk.

“That’s USC’s business,” senior Jackson Jeffcoat said. “We’re still going. We’re still good. We have Iowa State this week. We’re just focused on them.”

Texas is only worried about Texas, despite comparisons to the decline at USC.

“We’re here to play football,” senior Carrington Byndom said. “All that other stuff will decide itself out. But for us, it’s just taking it week by week and making sure we are doing our job on the field.”

Instead of worrying about coaching changes, the Longhorns are doing what they can to make sure Brown doesn’t go through the experience that Kiffin has gone through this past week.

“We know that our performance Week 2 had some effect on coaching changes but for us we don’t want anything like that to happen again,” Byndom said. “For us it can be motivation for us to play that much harder.”

In a 2000 guest column, Major Applewhite reflected on a quarterback controversy and his burning desire to win

It was so hard not to doubt.

A few days after I underwent surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament of my left knee, I looked at the injury, and it was swollen to the size of a volleyball. The pain was so excruciating that I could barely move and there was blood all over it because the doctors couldn’t clean my knee without hurting it.

Imagine that. You’ve got blood all over your knee and you can’t do anything about it.

Then on top of that, your whole quad is deteriorated from the tearing of the muscles the doctors do. The surgery left my entire left leg dead and I literally couldn’t do a thing.

For instance, after I got done at the hospital, I went home to my apartment and I couldn’t walk down three flights of stairs to get to where my car was. That’s such a simple thing to do, yet I always took it for granted.

I felt completely helpless, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t start to doubt my knee at that point. I mean, how could I not doubt my situation?

I truly didn’t know what was going to happen to me, and I never knew if I would make it back. There was a chance that I had played my last game at Texas, and the thought was killing me.

I had put a lot of time and effort into this program, and now there was a chance that was being taken away.

It was around that point that all of those fears started to set in.

I had them a little bit when I was taken off of the field at the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas, but at that point, questions were mostly just floating through my mind.

I wasn’t thinking about the injury or rehab because the pain didn’t bother me as much as the immediate worries.

I just kept asking myself, how the situation was going to pan out because it was imminent that I wasn’t going to be there for spring training, and along with that, I didn’t know what I would be like when I got back.

I mean, I left the field a starter and now there was no question that I was going to have to compete for the job with Chris Simms, who’s a very talented quarterback.

You know, Chris and I get along fine, contrary to what others think, but as a competitive person, I didn’t want to lose what I had as a starter.

Football has been such a huge part of my life, and after experiencing the things I have in my career, I didn’t want more precious moments to slip away. I want to lead the team back to the Big 12 Championship game, and I want to try to help this team win a national title.

I had planned on having that opportunity, but now I was scared that I lost it.

Fortunately, I got rid of the worries, I made it through the ordeal by surrounding myself with the right people.

The training staff kept giving me motivation by telling me I was ahead of the schedule and there were a lot of prayers with my family, girlfriend and friends.

A lot of people believed that I could make it back, and by the end of February I was feeling what they believed.

The last week of spring I was able to drop back and throw the ball. When I did that. I just thought, “Man, it’s still February and I can do this. I’ll be back.”

You know, I have won some big games, but I can’t remember being more thrilled than that in my career.

I knew I would be ready to go. I knew I would be ready to compete for the job.

And that’s all I wanted. I wanted to have the opportunity to compete with Chris.

Of course, some people might think I am bitter about the whole situation and having to earn the job back, but I’m not.

There’s so many circumstances in football that you can’t really put a tab on whether one situation is fair or not. There are certain things that are fair about it, and I admit there are some things that seem unfair about it. That’s just how it is.

Along with that, there’s been situations that have been tough. There’s times when you lie in bed at night and you think about it. I’m human, I don’t just get in front of a camera with a straight-forward glare and pretend nothing is going on. I’m not an android, and when you’re as competitive as Chris and I are, your mind wanders. What if the coaches are doing this, or what if they are trying to do that?

You even look at the positives of what they are doing, but that’s something you kind of have to keep away from. You don’t want to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

So you can’t worry about all that, and you just have to keep in mind that you can’t turn this into something larger. We’re not going to let a controversy brew.

This has got to be a football team, and I don’t think either of us is going to put our personal aspirations ahead of the team.

Neither one of us is bigger than this University.

I mean the worst thing I could have done is come out, pouted and not try to compete. There was no way I wasn’t going to do that because that’s not how my mom and dad raised me.

I have the opportunity to play, and I am going to fight for it.

I’ve come out here and given it my all, and now I just have to trust the coaches from this point on because it’s their job and they are going to put the best guy out on the field.

So I’m not worried about the decision. I’ve done everything I can do, I made it through two-a-days and I worked hard during rehab to have a chance to win the job back. I realize that I can only go out and do what I’ve been doing. If that’s not enough, then hey, I gave it my all.

I’m not going to dislike Chris if he gets the job, and I am sure he would feel the same way if I got it.

The situation we are in could have easily been a strain on our relationship, but it hasn’t been that way.

We’ve dealt with all the questions, and, of course, there’s been those polls going around about if it should be me or him.

But we don’t pay much attention to the polls because they are so misrepresented and people aren’t always right. I mean Bill Clinton was elected President, and look at what a Bozo he turned out to be.

I don’t pay much attention to polls or majority votes after that one, and neither does Chris.

We have the same goals for the team, so we have to realize that we are on the same page in that regard.

But I do want to be out there, just like Chris does. It’s human to want to play, and we wouldn’t be playing if we didn’t want to.

I would love to have the opportunity because I would have made it back from such a tough injury, and that certainly would say something about my character if I did go out there an show them my knee is fine.

I want to play more than I have ever wanted to before.

You only realize what you have until you lose it, and you don’t really realize what you’ve lost until it’s gone.

I would love this thing to have a happy ending.

When I first came here, I had no aspirations. It was sort of like if it happens great, if not, no big deal.

But my goal now is to win a national championship at the University of Texas, and I’m not going to worry about the NFL unless it occurs.

There are no individual goals.

I don’t care about the Davey O’Brien Award, the Heisman or any of that stuff.

I just want to win national championships.

I mean we had a chance to put the word “champions” next to or name last year at the Big 12 Championship game in San Antonio and we let it get away from us.

That may not mean a lot to a lot of other people but to me, being able to put champion next to your name means a lot.

And I think I’ve gone through enough doubts and questions to earn it.

As told to Damien Pierce, Daily Texan Staff
Printed on Thursday, August 31, 2000

 

It was so hard not to doubt.

A few days after I underwent surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament of my left knee, I looked at the injury, and it was swollen to the size of a volleyball. The pain was so excruciating that I could barely move and there was blood all over it because the doctors couldn’t clean my knee without hurting it.

Imagine that. You’ve got blood all over your knee and you can’t do anything about it.

Then on top of that, your whole quad is deteriorated from the tearing of the muscles the doctors do. The surgery left my entire left leg dead and I literally couldn’t do a thing.

For instance, after I got done at the hospital, I went home to my apartment and I couldn’t walk down three flights of stairs to get to where my car was. That’s such a simple thing to do, yet I always took it for granted.

I felt completely helpless, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t start to doubt my knee at that point. I mean, how could I not doubt my situation?

I truly didn’t know what was going to happen to me, and I never knew if I would make it back. There was a chance that I had played my last game at Texas, and the thought was killing me.

I had put a lot of time and effort into this program, and now there was a chance that was being taken away.

It was around that point that all of those fears started to set in.

I had them a little bit when I was taken off of the field at the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas, but at that point, questions were mostly just floating through my mind.

I wasn’t thinking about the injury or rehab because the pain didn’t bother me as much as the immediate worries.

I just kept asking myself, how the situation was going to pan out because it was imminent that I wasn’t going to be there for spring training, and along with that, I didn’t know what I would be like when I got back.

I mean, I left the field a starter and now there was no question that I was going to have to compete for the job with Chris Simms, who’s a very talented quarterback.

You know, Chris and I get along fine, contrary to what others think, but as a competitive person, I didn’t want to lose what I had as a starter.

Football has been such a huge part of my life, and after experiencing the things I have in my career, I didn’t want more precious moments to slip away. I want to lead the team back to the Big 12 Championship game, and I want to try to help this team win a national title.

I had planned on having that opportunity, but now I was scared that I lost it.

Fortunately, I got rid of the worries, I made it through the ordeal by surrounding myself with the right people.

The training staff kept giving me motivation by telling me I was ahead of the schedule and there were a lot of prayers with my family, girlfriend and friends.

A lot of people believed that I could make it back, and by the end of February I was feeling what they believed.

The last week of spring I was able to drop back and throw the ball. When I did that. I just thought, “Man, it’s still February and I can do this. I’ll be back.”

You know, I have won some big games, but I can’t remember being more thrilled than that in my career.

I knew I would be ready to go. I knew I would be ready to compete for the job.

And that’s all I wanted. I wanted to have the opportunity to compete with Chris.

Of course, some people might think I am bitter about the whole situation and having to earn the job back, but I’m not.

There’s so many circumstances in football that you can’t really put a tab on whether one situation is fair or not. There are certain things that are fair about it, and I admit there are some things that seem unfair about it. That’s just how it is.

Along with that, there’s been situations that have been tough. There’s times when you lie in bed at night and you think about it. I’m human, I don’t just get in front of a camera with a straight-forward glare and pretend nothing is going on. I’m not an android, and when you’re as competitive as Chris and I are, your mind wanders. What if the coaches are doing this, or what if they are trying to do that?

You even look at the positives of what they are doing, but that’s something you kind of have to keep away from. You don’t want to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

So you can’t worry about all that, and you just have to keep in mind that you can’t turn this into something larger. We’re not going to let a controversy brew.

This has got to be a football team, and I don’t think either of us is going to put our personal aspirations ahead of the team.

Neither one of us is bigger than this University.

I mean the worst thing I could have done is come out, pouted and not try to compete. There was no way I wasn’t going to do that because that’s not how my mom and dad raised me.

I have the opportunity to play, and I am going to fight for it.

I’ve come out here and given it my all, and now I just have to trust the coaches from this point on because it’s their job and they are going to put the best guy out on the field.

So I’m not worried about the decision. I’ve done everything I can do, I made it through two-a-days and I worked hard during rehab to have a chance to win the job back. I realize that I can only go out and do what I’ve been doing. If that’s not enough, then hey, I gave it my all.

I’m not going to dislike Chris if he gets the job, and I am sure he would feel the same way if I got it.

The situation we are in could have easily been a strain on our relationship, but it hasn’t been that way.

We’ve dealt with all the questions, and, of course, there’s been those polls going around about if it should be me or him.

But we don’t pay much attention to the polls because they are so misrepresented and people aren’t always right. I mean Bill Clinton was elected President, and look at what a Bozo he turned out to be.

I don’t pay much attention to polls or majority votes after that one, and neither does Chris.

We have the same goals for the team, so we have to realize that we are on the same page in that regard.

But I do want to be out there, just like Chris does. It’s human to want to play, and we wouldn’t be playing if we didn’t want to.

I would love to have the opportunity because I would have made it back from such a tough injury, and that certainly would say something about my character if I did go out there an show them my knee is fine.

I want to play more than I have ever wanted to before.

You only realize what you have until you lose it, and you don’t really realize what you’ve lost until it’s gone.

I would love this thing to have a happy ending.

When I first came here, I had no aspirations. It was sort of like if it happens great, if not, no big deal.

But my goal now is to win a national championship at the University of Texas, and I’m not going to worry about the NFL unless it occurs.

There are no individual goals.

I don’t care about the Davey O’Brien Award, the Heisman or any of that stuff.

I just want to win national championships.

I mean we had a chance to put the word “champions” next to or name last year at the Big 12 Championship game in San Antonio and we let it get away from us.

That may not mean a lot to a lot of other people but to me, being able to put champion next to your name means a lot.

And I think I’ve gone through enough doubts and questions to earn it.

As told to Damien Pierce, Daily Texan Staff
Printed on Thursday, August 31, 2000

Texas linebacker Marcus Wilkins (56) consoles free safety Ahmad Brooks as the two leave Texas Stadium following the LonghornsÂ’ 39-37 defeat in the 2001 Big 12 Championship.

Photo Credit: Andrew Loehman | Daily Texan Staff

The last time Texas won a national championship, they beat Colorado by 67 along the way. But four years before that, it was the Buffaloes that came out on top and denied the Longhorns a chance at the title.

Despite a 14-3 loss to Oklahoma earlier that season, Texas found itself in an extremely advantageous position. All the Longhorns had to do to reach the national title game was beat No. 9 Colorado, a team they demolished, 41-7, just five weeks ago. But the Buffaloes stunned them, 39-37, to clinch a BCS berth of their own.

Quarterback Chris Simms tossed three touchdowns in the 34-point regular season win over Colorado, but threw three interceptions in the postseason rematch. Cedric Benson put Texas up 7-0 with a five-yard touchdown run, only to see Simms’ miscues erase his team’s momentum and lead. Colorado led 36-17 at one point, but senior signal-caller Major Applewhite, who replaced Simms in the second quarter, nearly brought Texas all the way back.

Rod Babers’ 54-yard interception return on a Colorado fake punt made the score 36-30, but Colorado capped off the ensuing 15-play, seven-minute drive with a crucial field goal to make it 39-30. Applewhite’s second touchdown, a one-yarder to B.J. Johnson, was followed by Colorado recovering an onside kick, shutting the door on Texas’ comeback and national title hopes.

“50 years from now, when I’m sitting around with my kids and grandkids watching this, this night will look every bit as good as it does right now,” said Colorado defensive lineman DeAndre Fluellen after the game. “It’s better than I ever could have imagined.”

It was incredible that Texas and Colorado even met in the conference championship game. For the Longhorns to get there, Oklahoma State had to upset Oklahoma, 16-13. For the Buffaloes to get there, they had to knock out No. 1 Nebraska, 62-36. And hours before the Big 12 Championship, No. 5 Tennessee beat No. 2 Florida, 34-32, to clear the way for Texas to take their place in the national title game.

But Texas never took that place. Whether or not Texas could have beaten Miami, who crushed Nebraska in the title game, 37-14, is anybody’s guess. The Hurricanes were stacked — they had six first-team All-Americans, 13 first-team All-ACC selections and six first-round picks in that year’s NFL Draft.

Simms was condemned by many Texas followers who used this game as the catalyst for what they considered an underachieving college career. Naturally, Applewhite apologists used it (and his subsequent 473-yard, four-touchdown performance in the Longhorns’ 47-43 Holiday Bowl victory over Washington) as the catalyst of what they considered to be Applewhite’s overachieving career.

The next month, a highly prized quarterback from Houston, Vince Young, committed to Texas. Young would eventually exorcise the demons from 2001, leading the Longhorns to 42-17 and 70-3 victories over Colorado during the 2005 championship campaign. Part of what made that title so special was that it had been 35 years since their last championship. It could have been only four years between championships had the 2001 Big 12 Championship played out differently.

Printed on 06/30/2011 as: Texas split championships with CU