Capitals

Texas coach Mack Brown says no plans to retire

201210131339491804612-p2.jpeg

Texas coach Mack Brown says no plans to retire

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Two days after another whipping at the hands of rival Oklahoma, Texas coach Mack Brown dismissed any suggestions he may be ready to retire, saying he's still got energy and the backing of the school and its big boosters.

Brown said Monday that several prominent boosters told him keep his head up and keep fighting after the 63-21 blowout, the third time in Brown's tenure the Sooners have hung more than 60 points on the Longhorns.

Texas' second consecutive loss dropped the Longhorns (4-2, 0-2 Big 12) to 17-14 overall under Brown since 2010, and raised new speculation that the 61-year-old who led Texas to the 2005 national championship may consider retiring.

Brown is under contract under 2020. At more than $5 million per year, he is one of the highest-paid coaches in the country.

``I have my energy. I'm moving forward,'' Brown said. ``I know I've got time to fix it and I know I can.''

Brown would not say which boosters reached out to him, but added that he heard the same positive message from many former Texas players.

``I'm way too competitive and (have) way too much pride to leave something bad,'' Brown said, adding he still thinks Texas can win 10 games this season

Brown has heard rumblings about his job before but nothing truly serious. From 2000-2004, his teams lost five in a row to Oklahoma, but those teams still won at least nine games every year. Texas ended the losing streak the season the Longhorns won the national title and the dissension melted away.

The strongest speculation about his possible retirement came in 2009-2010.

Texas had a coach-in-waiting in defensive coordinator Will Muschamp in 2009, the season Texas lost in the BCS title game. Some thought had Texas won that game, Brown would retire with his second championship.

Texas fell hard to 5-7 the following season and Muschamp bolted for the head coaching job at Florida. Brown said he met with school President Bill Powers and athletic director DeLoss Dodds after that season.

``When I decided to come back, I told them it was going to take some time,'' Brown said. ``We sat down and had hard discussions. They were 100 percent in their support. They said, `We want you to stay and we'll give you the time and money to do it.' That's not an issue.''

Brown said he doesn't face the constant pressure coaches do at other schools.

``I've got great bosses. This job isn't like the others,'' Brown said. ``I'm the luckiest guy in the world.''

Texas gave Brown his initial $5 million-per year deal in December 2009 after a 12-0 regular season but before the BCS game loss. The contract was extended it four years in January 2012 after Texas rebounded from the losing season to go 8-5 in 2011.

After Saturday's loss to Oklahoma, when the television cameras often caught Brown looking frustrated on the sideline, the coach clearly expected his team to hear speculation about his future. He told his players he wasn't going anywhere.

``He told us he wasn't going to quit and didn't want to see any quit in us, either,'' offensive lineman Mason Walters said.

Brown also had a message on Monday for his top assistant coaches, offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, whose unit is on pace to be statistically the worst in school history. The Longhorns surrendered nearly 700 yards against Oklahoma and have given up at least 31 points in four consecutive games.

``At this school you will be really criticized for not doing well in a ball game. You take it and man up to it it's the reason you get paid a lot. It's part of the deal here,'' Brown said. ``You guys want to be head coaches, learn now, because you are going to get some questions later.''

Brown got a bit of good news after the loss when quarterback David Ash was cleared to return to practice despite an injured wrist on his left, non-throwing arm.

Ash left the game in the fourth quarter after taking a hit and team doctors initially worried the arm was broken because of the severe swelling. X-rays showed no fractures and Ash was taking snaps from center on Sunday.

Ash said Monday he'll play this week against Baylor (3-2, 0-2).

Any criticism of Brown and speculation about his job should ``stop,'' Ash said.

``He's a winner. He's a competitor. He wants to stay positive,'' Ash said.

Quick Links

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

usatsi_10624922.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise. Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Towes intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. Toews' interception led to a 2-on-0 in the second period. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal. He also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board. Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.

Quick Links

4 reasons why the Caps lost to the Blackhawks

usatsi_10625301.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

4 reasons why the Caps lost to the Blackhawks

The Caps were outplayed in just about every facet of the game on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. It is hard to narrow it down to just a few reasons they ultimately lost this game, but here are the most glaring.

The first period

The opening 20 minutes of this game was, to be blunt, awful. The Caps managed only nine shots attempts, six of which went on net. Chicago, meanwhile, fired 21 shots on goal with 29 total shot attempts. Washington was held to 21 shots on goal or less six times this season, so to allow 21 to an opponent in 20 minutes is not a good start. Of course, you can’t allow that many shots and escape unscathed and Washington found themselves down 3-1 at the end of the first. The Caps were outskated and sloppy with the puck and thoroughly dominated by the Blackhawks.

A bad early goal

Chicago did not need any help scoring in this one. The first goal of the game came when Jonathan Toews just threw a quick shot from the corner on net that caught Braden Holtby off guard. Holtby allowed six goals on the night, but only two of them looked soft. It was an inauspicious start to the game and a save Holtby really needed to make.

Two breakaways in the second period

A breakaway represents a breakdown in the defense. When you give up two in a span of 1:10, including a 2-on-0, that means you're not having a good night. In the second period, Brooks Orpik tried a cross-ice pass that was easily picked off by Toews that launched a 2-on-0 with him and Patrick Kane. There may not be a worse tandem in hockey to give up a 2-on-0 against than that. Just about a minute later, Ryan Hartman weaved his way through the defense to spark his own breakaway. It wasn't a good pass that launched him or a bad line change. Hartman's feet were moving and the Caps' were not. As bad as the first period was, it looked as if the Caps had stopped the bleeding as the score remained 3-1 with less than four minutes remaining in the second which is in no way is an insurmountable deficit. In the remaining four minutes, Chicago extended its lead to 6-1.

Defense

Holtby allowed six goals in this game before he was replaced by Philipp Grubauer for the start of the third period. Of those six, only two were "soft" goals Holtby should have had. The other four were the result of poor defense. The breakaways were already described in detail above. The second goal of the game came when Orpik and Madison Bowey both challenge Brandon Saad as he drove into the Caps' zone, leaving Vinnie Hinostroza to go in on net unimpeded. When Saad got the pass to him, Holtby did well to stop the initial shot, but could not get the Saad rebound shot. In the closing seconds of the first period, Holtby stopped a Carl Dahlstrom shot, but the rebound went to a wide open Nick Schmaltz who had all the space he could want to shoot in the rebound. John Carlson finished the game with a minus-3, Orpik, Bowey and Christian Djoos were minus-2 and Matt Niskanen was a minus-1.