Photo courtesy of Kevin C. Cox – Getty Images
Saturday morning, the Texas Longhorns released a statement announcing that they will be moving away from Tom Herman as the head football coach.
This decision, while understandable, was unexpected by many after the team announced they just weeks ago that Herman would remain at the helm.
“With the close of the regular season, I want to reiterate that Tom Herman is our coach,” Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte said.
Now while this isn’t a straight-up endorsement of Herman, after reports that Urban Meyer rejected the Longhorns offer it looked as tho Herman was still the best option for the University. As it turns out, there was still some moving pieces behind the scenes.
Herman has been a hot topic within the Texas fandom, and there wasn’t much support for his return even after Del Conte’s endorsement. Whether it be playing time for stars like Bijan Robinson or the inability to get it done in the big moments, the Longhorns never seemed to be able to get over the hump and Herman will be paying the price. Even with that, Texas’ price may be even higher as the school is set to buyout the remaining $15 million of the coach’s contract.
Nonetheless, the Longhorns look to return to the Mack Brown era of success with the announcement of Steve Sarkisian’s hire. As fun as coaching searches are for fans, I’m sure Texas fans are happy with the poaching of one of Alabama’s top assistants.
Now, Sarkisian has been a head coach before, and he was essentially a perfect average in his stints at Washington and USC. Do I think this hire is on par with the school’s first option in Meyer? Not by a long shot, but Sark has grown a fair bit under someone that many consider to be the greatest of all time and he’s certainly deserving of the job.
I think one of the major changes within the program could be recruiting inside the state of Texas. Recruitments such as that with 2022 5 star Quinn Ewers, a Southlake Carroll product, have fallen through in part due to a lack of relationship with the head coach. Even a slight improvement on that front lends to a far better chance to compete with teams like Oklahoma and Iowa State within their own conference.
Do I think this returns Texas to its mid-2000s high point? No. I think that Mack Brown was able to do something that has been a historical anomaly, and I also don’t believe that Sarkisian is Mack Brown. Despite all the blue-blood hype that Texas gets in college football media Texas has just 4 national championships in their history, with 3 of those coming in the 1960s. Expectations tend to be unrealistic in college fanbases, and there may be no truer case than with the Texas Longhorns.
All negativity aside, this hire was the best possible move for Texas, and I think Sarkisian has a very good opportunity to get Texas into Big 12 contention almost immediately. Simply having been around Saban will heighten the allure around playing for him, and recruiting should surge. Look for big things out of Austin in the coming years, and who knows, we may be seeing a reignition of one of the most iconic videos to come out of college football in the last decade.