Golden: Fan base should practice patience with Steve Sarkisian
Sarkisian is coming off a national championship with Alabama as an assistant coach.
- This is Sarkisian's third head coaching job.
- He piloted the two most prolific scoring offenses in Alabama history.
Give him time.
Steve Sarkisian won’t cause the lame to walk.
He won’t cause the muted to talk.
He won’t give eyesight to the blind.
But he just might win at Texas.
If you give him time.
Texas’ newest head football coach served as a capable right hand to coaching legends Pete Carroll and Nick Saban at USC and Alabama, coaches known for demanding of their assistants and players levels of perfection that led to all-time great teams.
“They both want to win,” Sarkisian said during Tuesday’s introductory press conference. “They both want to develop players into grown men and they have the best interests of their players at heart, but the one lesson I got out of it is they did it their own way.”
Sarkisian is Texas’ new Sinatra and his way will be expected to include holding his coaches, players and most importantly, himself, to the same high standards he was exposed to as an assistant under those winners, lest mediocrity will continue to befall this program.
So let’s see if he can make it happen in due time. Not in 20 minutes, but over time. The sane among us all understand that a crockpot is more prudent than a microwave in this instance.
Give Sark time to build. Tom Herman got the program back into the top 25 and did it with unique challenges in 2020, but it wasn’t enough for the administration to bring him back for a fifth season.
With Sarkisian, Longhorn Nation believes it has its man. Chris Del Conte said as much on Tuesday. Board of Regents chairman Kevin Eltife called it a monumental day for the football program. President Jay Hartzell referred to being in the “talent business” and recruiting the best and brightest to the university.
They’re all giddy with excitement over there and should be because they’re bringing in a coach with great credentials. Of course the same could have been said of Charlie Strong when he replaced Mack Brown in 2013 and of Herman when he replaced Strong in 2016.
Neither got it done here.
The administration may have gotten it right his time, but fans must remember that it took Darrell Royal seven seasons before he won a national title. Brown took eight.
Unlike his winning predecessors, Sarkisian knows the heat is turned up much higher in the present day when coaches aren’t always afforded the ability to play the long game when it comes to championships.
He has encountered obstacles in his personal and professional life that point to him being a fighter. Sarkisian admits he wasn’t ready to be the head coach at Washington at age 33 but learned from the experience. His personal struggles with alcohol are well documented and were undoubtedly part of the leadership’s discussions during the vetting process.
“We wanted someone who was battle-tested,” Del Conte said.
They made the call and Texas now has a coach who piloted the Alabama offense to the two most prolific seasons in its history. He woke up Tuesday morning as the most celebrated play-caller in the United States and will now shed that assistant’s cloak for head coach’s whistle.
The pressure cooker that is the head football coaching job at Texas will be in the same temperature range as the one he occupied at Southern Cal, but different in that USC was a college team in a massively professional sports town. The Trojans were great under Carroll but have always ranked behind the Lakers and Dodgers on the local level and that’s not even to mention the Angels, Kings and Clippers.
Austin, though, is a major-league college town.
If anything, he has hopefully taken those lessons from St. Nick and Carroll in the areas of organization, leadership and decision making that will benefit him here. The time has come to apply them at one of the largest stages in college sports. The fans believe Texas should be mentioned in the same conversation as Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and LSU, but there's been only one championship for Texas in the last 50 years.
Performance hasn’t always met with the oversized expectations at this place. It’s up to Sarkisian to bridge that gap.
The people around here are desperate for a return to prominence and he just might be the man to get them there.
If they give him time.
With that said, welcome to Austin, coach Sarkisian.
The clock is ticking.