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College football Tuesday: What can Brown do for Texas?

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Texas coach Mack Brown sings the school song following a game against Wyoming on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in Austin, Texas.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Mack Brown's 150-43 record at Texas should ensure he will coach Austin for a long time.

But Brown (right) is only 22-16 over the past three seasons, including 5-7 in 2010. He turns 62 on Tuesday and should be mindful that another subpar season could lead to calls for his early retirement.

Of course, subpar at Texas is cause for celebration at other NCAA schools. Texas returns 19 of 22 starters and is ranked No. 15 in the AP and USA Today preseason polls.

“They understand that nine's not what we want to win at Texas,” Brown said at Big 12 Media Days regarding the Longhorns' 9-4 record in 2012.

So what does Brown do? Despite David Ash returning at quarterback, Brown changed his offense, which sputtered at No. 40 nationally a year ago.

Say hello to a wide-open offense as Texas becomes another Big 12 team to feature a no-huddle, up-tempo passing attack.

“We think that David is ready to go up-tempo with the offense. He's in command,” Brown said.

“Vince (Young) and Colt (McCoy) won a lot of football games. There were times last year that (Ash) played like Colt, and he played like Vince and looked as good as anybody in the country. There were other times where he struggled.

“That's our load, but that's our expectation for David.”

Coaches on the hot seat

• Lane Kiffin, USC: His Trojans opened last season ranked No. 1 only to finish 7-6 with a loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. With quarterback Matt Barkley in the NFL, will Kiffin be able to hold it together?

• Randy Edsall, Maryland: You can't blame Edsall for injuries felling his QBs, but his arrival coincided with key player transfers. Edsall needs a healthy QB to guide him through the Terps' final season in the ACC.

• Tim Beckman, Illinois: A hot coaching property a year ago, Beckman's star fell with a 1-11 disaster. No one's expecting a title this year. But Beckman can't afford to produce another dud.

Quarterback battles

Christian Hackenberg and Tyler Ferguson, Penn State: Ferguson (top), who decommited from Houston, enrolled at PSU in January after throwing for a school-record 2,614 yards at the College of the Sequoias. He was 9 of 15 for 90 yards and two touchdowns in the Blue-White game. He has three years of eligibility remaining. Hackenberg (bottom) joined the Nittany Lions over the summer after attending Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy and recently narrowed the gap in the quarterback race. •Paul Millard, Ford Childress and Clint Trickett, WVU: This is the first time WVU coach Dana Holgorsen will start a quarterback he recruited. Millard has the best understanding of the offense, and Childress has the greatest upside. However, Trickett, a transfer from Florida State, is the only one among the three candidates to start a game.

• Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has the luxury of having two starting quarterbacks. With Wes Lunt's transfer to Illinois, it's a two-player race with Chelf in the lead. Chelf likely will start. But Walsh is effective in short-yardage situations, and Gundy won't hesitate to play him.

Comeback players of the year

• Tom Savage, QB, Pitt: He was a freshman All-American at Rutgers in 2009, but he transferred to Arizona after losing his starting job due to an injury. How did that work out? He's now starting for the Panthers in their first year in the ACC.

• Malcolm Jones, RB, UCLA: A former Gatorade National High School Player of the Year, Jones quit the team following limited playing time in last year's opener. He returned to the team as a walk-on and has the chance to do big things with Johnathan Franklin going to the NFL.

• Jake Heaps, QB, Kansas: It looks like a perfect marriage. Heaps (above) is a former No. 1 recruit who started 16 games at BYU. Kansas was one of three teams in the country to complete less than 50 percent of its passes in 2012.

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