Arch Manning bought Steve Sarkissian some time to turn things around in Texas — for now

Think of all that stands against Steve Sarkissian on the eve of his second lap with the Texas Longhorns. He opened his stay in Austin with a losing record, a season that ended with six defeats in the last seven games. He arrived with a resume that included seven previous seasons in major Power 5 jobs but none of which ended with double-digit wins. Follow two coaches who compiled more impressive resumes before they were hired by UT but only lasted seven seasons in between. He got into a program tied to the Big 12 but now hopes to remain in charge when he moves to the SEC after two years down the road.

He also landed potential quarterback Arch Manning this summer.

Which means the rest of those things don’t matter.

At least for now.

Jeff Howe, who writes for Horns247 and hosts a radio show at 104.9 The Horn, told The Sporting News. “I believe that when you get the Manning Family Seal of Approval, you are at least doing something right. You are on the right track.”

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Arch Manning is 18 years old, 6-4, 215 pounds and still two weeks from starting his senior year of high school. But he has that last name, the institutional knowledge of three Pro Bowl players in his family tree and an arm that has produced 5,731 yards and 72 touchdowns in three seasons according to MaxPreps. Ranked #1 in college football in the Employment Category 2023 by and 247Sports. Alabama and Georgia, who played in the CFP tournament last season, wanted him. He committed to Longhorns after visiting all three schools in June.

This is how Sarkissian enters what history tells us should be a pivotal second season in Texas. Fans will want him to win a bunch of games, sure, but he’s already brought in an Arch and last winter made Quinn Ewers, who was the number one prospect in the 2021 enlistment class, move from Ohio back to his home country. . That’s what they’re talking about now, instead of a record 3-6 in the Big 12 in his first season and a one-score loss for Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas. (Yes, Kansas, which has won two more league games in the past five seasons.)

“The only thing I can compare to it is, which I’ve seen in my time – kind of like when Mac Brown got Chris Sims,” ​​Howe said. It came in 1999, and extraordinary talents like Cedric Benson, Roy Williams, Sloane Thomas, and eventually Vince Young would follow suit.

It was: Hey, he earned a Super Bowl MVP son and the number one enlistment class in the country,” Howe said. “Essentially, based on that commitment, I’ve built the core of a team that’s come out of the 10 seasons they’ve won and won a national championship. It’s been a long time since Texas had something like that. I think one commitment has given that fan base — at least From the interactions I’ve had–more hope than anything else in the field.”

Ultimately, perhaps once the September 10 home game against Alabama, Texans fans will want more. It’s been a while since they got it. The 2021 defense ranked 100th in yards allowed, and ranked 99th in points allowed. The Horns scored a set with Casey Thompson in the quarterback, but D gave up more. The final record was 5-7. Obviously there was no bowl game.

It was a poor showing for Sarkissian, who was hired by UT after spending two seasons as offensive coordinator in Alabama. Tom Hermann, the man who replaced him, was 7-3 and won the Alamo Bowl the previous season. Even Charlie Strong, Hermann’s predecessor, who had no winning record in UT, won six games in his first year.

2nd year Texas coaches
Noun year register
Tom Hermann 2018 10-4
Charlie Strong 2015 5-7
Mac Brown 1999 9-5

It’s clear that Sargsyan won’t have much patience to push this program forward, and he seemed to feel that by emphasizing the team’s youth by pointing out in the big 12 media days, Longhorns has 57 freshmen and sophomores out of 85 Scholarship player. These were no longer normal circumstances, given Manning’s impending arrival, although that could change if it didn’t.

“Texas have the best talent pool in the conference,” college football analyst Gabi Eckard of SiriusXM Big 12 Radio told TSN. “You start with Bijan Robinson, who I think is the best in all of college football. I think he would have been the first to fall off the board if he had been able to get into the NFL draft last season.

“And then Xavier Worthy was one of the best players in college football last season and people don’t talk much about them. I think he’s the best wide receiver in the Big 12. It’s hard to imagine he won’t have a really big season, especially if Jordan Whittington manages From staying healthy.When he’s healthy and he’s right, you can just see the explosion and go on the road.

“Someone should get them the ball, but I’m not worried about the quarterback. Whether it’s Hudson Card or Quinn Ewers, I think they’ll get a decent level of play as the quarterback. They’ve been highly recruited as they were for a reason.”

There seems to be quite a bit of pressure on Ewers to win the job and succeed, given that he’s already moved once and entered college with the expectation that he’ll develop into a first-round pick. With Manning coming in next year, wouldn’t that make it all the more important for the Ewers to become an instant star in Texas?

“I think if Quinn Ewers gets to his roof – you’re talking about a naturally talented quarterback guy I saw coming from Texas. That’s Matthew Stafford, Keeler Murray, the guy’s name – just in terms of his football throwing ability, he’s as good as any of them Hao said. “If he wins the job and hits his roof, he’ll probably only be in Texas for two years.

“I don’t think Quinn would have moved to Texas if he didn’t think there was a really good chance of getting in to be the guy.”

As appalling as the defense was last season, Sarkissian did not choose to blame the staff and make a cool-down change in the coordinator. Pete Kwiatkowski, who previously worked in Washington and Boise, will remain in his position. However, what needs improvement may not be fully rooted in the schema.

“The most frustrating part of the defense was a lot of what people call ‘LOE’: the lack of effort,” Eckard said. “I felt two games late last season, some of those guys on the defensive side of the ball folded the tent. It can’t be happening.

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“That’s why in the second year under Pete Kwiatkowski they should be more comfortable in the system. I think that’s huge. The easiest way to play a bad defense is to think too much on the field, not line up properly. That’s how you get injured. That’s how you You give it up for points. There was a lot of that in Texas last year.”

This is almost certainly the sport’s richest division in the NCAA sub-division football, located in the heart of country football, with a history of excellence dating back at least as far as Daryl Royal in the 1960s and 1970s. Since Mac Brown’s tenure decline began after his 2009 BCS debut, however, UT football has been essentially an arena of misery.

Howe attributed much of the dysfunction related to oversight of the football program to the changing infrastructure within the university and the sports department. There were more athletic directors (four), college presidents (three) and head coaches (four) than seasons with double-digit victories (one).

After Brown resigned after the 8-5 season in 2013, the Longhorns struggled under Strong, who was a rising star. Things went better under Hermann, with four winning seasons and four victories, but recruitment was slim and 22-13 in the Big 12 wasn’t anyone’s idea of ​​standing out. The firing of a winning coach in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic was kind of brutal, but that’s Texas football.

Or it used to be anyway.

With Arch Manning on the way, that might be the case again. However, Longhorns fans would prefer not to wait.

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