In a shocking announcement, the Texas Longhorns football team has fired head coach Tom Herman just a month after announcing his return. Herman may possibly be set up to get replaced by current Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, according to Dennis Dodd on Twitter.
Texas Longhorns Football Program Looks to the Future
In four years at Texas, Herman put together a solid 32-18 record. Those wins included not only a bowl berth but also a bowl game win in each of his four seasons with the Longhorns. Based on the incoming hire, this seems less of a move driven by Herman’s lack of success in winning the Big 12, even though he reached the championship game in just his second season. On the other hand, Steve Sarkisian looks like a can’t miss opportunity for a Texas Longhorns football program that is wanting to return to the national stage.
The Question Marks of the Tom Herman Firing
As it goes with most coaching changes, a few question marks surround Tom Herman’s departure from Austin. One that sticks out to me was the announcement by Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte in December. Del Conte sang Herman’s praises following a 6-3 season capped off by a big Alamo Bowl win over Colorado. But now, less than a week later, Herman is looking for a new stomping ground.
The only real blemish on Herman’s resume at Texas was his inability to win the Big 12, which they haven’t done since 2009 with Mack Brown at the helm. Tom Herman did take the Longhorns to a championship game and had then ranked fourth, but Texas lost that season to a fifth-ranked Oklahoma squad for the Big 12 title in 2018.
More recently, Herman led Texas through the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season admirably. The only “bad” loss on the schedule came against TCU, a two-point loss at home.
Recruiting also hasn’t been an issue for the Texas Longhorns football team under Tom Herman. Since his hiring, he brought in three top-ten ranked recruiting classes. Even though his player development can be questioned, Herman hasn’t struggled to bring in talent. With all that in mind, this coaching change appears to be more about what Steve Sarkisian can bring to Texas.
What Steve Sarkisian Can Bring to the Texas Longhorns Football Program if Hired?
First of all, it needs to be said how great of a job Steve Sarkisian has done at Alabama. Every year, no matter the personnel, the Alabama offense is a potent group that can rack up points on any opponent. That type of consistency in a sport that features incredible change every year is remarkable.
That type of consistent offensive punch is likely one of the first things Texas is looking at in making this hire. Under Herman and former starting quarterback Sam Ehlinger, the Texas offense was good enough to get the job done most of the time, but there were stretches of inefficiency that lost the team games. We don’t see that out of Alabama, something Steve Sarkesian will definitely bring with him to Texas.
Even though it has been five years since Sarkisian’s last foray into head coaching, the 46-year-old has a ton of experience for a coach his age. Before working under Nick Saban, Sarkisian led Washington and USC to a pair of bowl game wins and an overall coaching record of 46-35.
With all of his success at ‘Bama, Sarkisian should have no issue bringing top recruits to a historic program like Texas. A smudge on Herman’s resume has been his player development; Sarkisian shouldn’t have that same reputation.
Just look at the amount of top tier offensive NFL talent coming out of the program under Sarkisian. Both Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones look ready to take over NFL franchises; a whole host of Alabama wide receivers are hitting the league at one time; and, Najee Harris put on a show against Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl just last night.
This coaching change should not be an indictment of Tom Herman. He is a good, young head coach who still has some to learn. On the other end of the deal, the Texas Longhorns football program looks to be getting a new start under an offensive guru ready for his second chance at a head coaching gig.
Thanks for reading my article on the firing of Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman and the possible hiring of Steve Sarkisian!
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