July 26, 2006

Brown, Longhorns hope to defend crown

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Mack Brown is holding court for members of the media who have gathered around the University of Texas football coach. They laugh at his responses to their questions, the sound of his light Southern drawl spilling across the room.

As always, Brown is one of the centers of attention at the Big 12's annual Media Days event, but this year is remarkably different for Brown.

The proof of that difference is 20 feet away, hanging around senior safety Michael Griffin's neck. Suspended from a gold rope chain is a Texas national football championship ring. The face of the ring is three-quarters-of-an-inch square with a raised diamond "T" sitting in a sea of diamonds.

It's some serious bling, but it's also a symbol that Mack Brown's status as a perennial also-ran is a thing of the past. Brown is the coach of the defending national championship football team.

"I don't think it sunk in for a long time, and I'm not sure it has to this point because you do what you do everyday. And Roy Williams at North Carolina told me your friends will be happy and family will be happy and the perception will change about your coaching nationally and you won't understand it and you have to go back to work," Brown said. "I think those things are true. … The kids are happy. They feel good."

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