1) Grading the staff and what’s next for Sark…
Steve Sarkisian impressively accomplished step one.
At times, the everchanging projection and construction of Sarkisian’s initial Texas coaching staff felt like a three-month process. But it only took about three weeks. @Ketchum delivered a great column grading each individual hire. So, I’ll simply summarize with a grade, out of 10, for the staff as a whole. Give it to them, Billy Bob!
Okay, so I’m not actually giving the total staff a 10 because that’s reserved for things like Vince Young in the Rose Bowl and Huston Street in high leverage situations. But I really wanted to include Billy Bob’s legendary Landing Strip visit in the column. The real grade courtesy of my favorite college football player of all-time:
Could we nitpick parts of Sarkisian’s initial staff? Yeah. This is Orangebloods. We can and will nitpick anything.
The amount of time I can remain skeptical about the receiver recruiting is rapidly diminishing. Although A.J. Milwee is Sark’s right-hand guy with six years of offensive coordinator experience, projecting him as a recruiter is tough. Jeff Choate arrives to Texas overqualified for his position and enormous boost to football IQ of the defensive room, but he’s also a TBD on the recruiting side. I’m confidently all-in on Blake Gideon’s total potential. He’ll need to prove it, though. Terry Joseph has a background coaching corners, but he mostly coached safeties at Notre Dame.
However, the main objectives of building a coaching staff were achieved: a very good, proven defensive coordinator to compliment a head coach calling plays on offense; at least a few strong, proven recruiters and some ties to Texas; balancing recruiting prowess with development and coaching ability; acting like Texas should act and flex some financial muscle for a change.
On paper, could Sark’s first staff have been better? Sure. But realistically, how much better? If we’ve evaluating the staff within the context of the Texas program now, the head coach, and the college football landscape, I’m not sure Sarkisian could have done noticeably better, which speaks to the strength and diverse construction of the group. This I know: we’ve seen much worse. That’s for damn sure.
Now, about those next steps…
2) Step two…
Sarkisian might be done with this already. He and his staff need to comprehensively audit their new roster. They need to know the strengths and weaknesses of each spot. While each player has a clean slate under the new head coach, Sarkisian and company must have a working depth chart in mind.
Again, this one has probably been completed, but it’s paramount because of how much talent is available in the transfer portal. Head coaches are afforded a rare opportunity to immediately plug holes with transfers and can pursue more available talent than ever before. Florida State has already added over 10,000 career starting snaps to its 2021 team and I think Oklahoma just landed another talented transfer. Clearly, Texas is looking at the defensive line and linebacker structure and and acting. Ovie Oghoufo is a solid add and should at the least be in a rotation with a chance for more.
If Texas believes a player could immediately be in the rotation or a legitimate starting candidate, it needs to do its homework and see if that player is worth pursuing. Obviously, the proven starters flying first class through the portal should at the very least receive a call to gauge interest because those players are capable of changing a season outlook; yes, players plural because there are more than a few looking for a new home.
The obvious benefit of adding proven talent doesn’t need to be stated, but here’s why it’s uniquely important to Texas: maximizing the margin for roster error and boosting the potential of 2021 is critical because a good initial season affords Sarkisian a better opportunity to recruit top high school players in the future…