AUSTIN, Texas (AP): A new coach, a new quarterback and a new conference. Well, that last part still doesn’t apply to Texas number 21.
The eventual move to the Southeast Longhorns and Oklahoma conference sparked a summer earthquake across the college football scene when it was decided. But it’s for future seasons, when Texas hopes to have shaken off years of little achievement.
For 2021, the Longhorns are still in the Big 12, still trying to conquer Oklahoma and now trying to catch up with Iowa State in hopes of winning their first league crown in a decade.
These hopes have a new coach. Texas fired Tom Herman after four winning but still disappointing seasons, and removed Steve Sarkisian from Nick Saban’s staff in Alabama. Sarkisian brought with him a group of Crimson Tide assistants.
Texas awarded Sarkisian, former head coach of Washington and Southern California, a guaranteed contract of six million dollars for six years this should lead to the eventual transfer to the SEC scheduled for 2025, if it doesn’t happen sooner.
And if Texas ’patience doesn’t run out sooner, as happened to Herman.
Runner Bijan Robinson was the player who escaped the last two Texas games last season with 355 yards running with an incredible 18.7 yards per carry. Sarkisian promised to get the ball more than Herman. Far more. Sarkisian even compared Robinson to former USC runner-up Reggie Bush, whom Sarkisian trained as a Trojan assistant.
“The biggest thing about Bijan resembling Reggie Bush is the ability to single-cut,” Sarkisian said. “I hadn’t seen this in a long time, the ability to make a violent, complete cut of speed, not lose top speed and get upright, and Bijan has it.”
Casey Thompson was supposed to be the easiest option in the quarterback after four years of Sam Ehlinger. Hudson Card has made him work hard for this. Thompson was flawless in last season’s relief appearance in the Alamo Bowl with four touchdown passes. Still, Card turned it into a full competition in the spring and has kept up the pressure on the training ground. He could even steal the job.
“I wanted them to make it difficult for us,” Sarkisian said, “and they do it exactly.”
Defensive attack Keondre Coburn is the front anchor for the Longhorns defense. Alfred Collins is the potential star. A former 5-boot recruit, the 6-foot, five-and-300-pound Collins, got his first start last season in the Alamo Bowl and had five tackles, one passing break and even an interception.
TRIO OF TRANSFERS
The Texas defense could get a boost from a group of transfer line advocates. Ben Davis of Alabama and Ray Thornton of LSU participated in national championship programs. Ovie Oghoufo played for last year’s Notre Dame team that made the college football playoff.
All three left those programs after a limited playing time, but they all “know how to win,” Coburn said.
Texas will be put to the test soon. The schedule includes a season start against an experienced Louisiana team on Sept. 4 and the annual game with Oklahoma in Dallas on Oct. 9. fix it.