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Bohls: Texas' Steve Sarkisian needs a big upgrade, so it should be hello, transfer portal

  • Texas' Steve Sarkisian didn't sound too sure of how many elite players he has.
  • Roger Staubach recalls his eight concussions and his career with the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Texas A&M has at least two first-round draft picks on its roster.

While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:

1. Talent or coaching? Both, actually. Can Texas get a whole new team out of the transfer portal? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But Steve Sarkisian needs to be so active and on the market for every position, but especially on the offensive line and defensive front. It’s become crystal clear that this is a major rebuild despite his denials. … When I asked Monday whom he would list as some playing at an All-Big 12 level, he demurred. Maybe with good reason. As his predecessor Tom Herman once told me when I asked how many elite players he had, Herman famously said, “Some.” I wonder if Sarkisian might be thinking to himself, “A few.” I’d offer that Texas has three who have played at an all-conference level, and they’re pretty obvious. Other than the completely deserving Bijan Robinson and Xavier Worthy, I’d suggest only punter Cameron Dicker is first-team worthy All-Big 12. He's No. 2 in the league in punting with a 47.8-yard average behind only Oklahoma's Michael Turk's 51.2. But Dicker has been, uh, quite a bit busier with 19 more attempts, God bless him. … Sarkisian has been reluctant to label this a rebuilding season, but of course it is. "Say you buy a used classic car," he said. "It's easy to put on a new paint job and make it look like you restored it. We are under the hood and fixing the engine. When the thing is done, we’ll put the fresh coat of paint on it whether schematically or culturally. Ultimately the car will look shiny and good, I get it. That’s where we’re at. I do think there has been incremental progress." ... Astute local radio analyst and former Longhorns defensive back Rod Babers had an interesting thought about the storylines of the last three Texas head coaches. He said the narratives thrown out have been that Charlie Strong was accused of not being able to recruit, Herman was accused of not being able to develop talent and now Sarkisian has no talent. Some truth in all of them. Let’s get one thing straight. Texas does have talent on hand, just not an abundance of it. It’s especially glaring since the offensive line, basically with two true freshmen starting, is one of the worst in ages, and there is not a dynamic playmaker on the defensive line. 

Bohls: Steve Sarkisian clearly needs to figure out Texas' quarterback options for 2022

Texas kicker Cameron Dicker and deep snapper Zach Edwards celebrate an extra point during last week's 30-7 loss at Iowa State. Dicker, who also has handled UT's punting duties all season, is one of three Longhorns with the best shots at making all-conference lists, along with Bijan Robinson and Xavier Worthy.

2. Looking for wideouts. Attrition has whittled away at Texas' wide receivers corps with the transfer of Joshua Moore, last year’s leading receiver, and injuries to Jordan Whittington and Troy Omeire. Apparently, the injured slot receiver must have been the team MVP since the passing game has shriveled up since Whittington broke his clavicle in the Oklahoma game. That and the transfer of fellow slot man Jake Smith to USC also has hurt. After Worthy's eight touchdowns and Moore's three, no other active receiver has a touchdown. None. Robinson has three and the tight ends have three. Otherwise, squat. … Asked if he’s seen less buy-in from his teammates, tailback Roschon Johnson said, "It’s not really a matter of worrying about guys not buying in or just instilling the culture. What buying in is, so when you see certain stuff, you point it out and make sure that the team is going about things the right way. So at the end of the day, if people aren't with that, that's on them. But they shouldn't be the ones out there playing. But then if they buy in, we’ll be just good.”

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, right, shares a moment with new fellow Hall of Famer Drew Pearson this past August. Staubach was in Austin this week for a Headliners Foundation of Texas banquet.

Golden: Steve Sarkisian is trying to turn this Longhorns clunker into a Texas classic

3. Roger dodges no questions. Roger Staubach, the best Dallas Cowboys quarterback ever and a personal favorite of mine, was honored by the Headliners Foundation of Texas at a terrific banquet Monday night and had a wildly entertaining give and take with Hall of Fame broadcaster Verne Lundquist. … He revealed he had eight concussions in his career, almost signed with Purdue, played baseball for four years at Navy, chose not to comment on anti-vaxxer Aaron Rodgers other than to say he hoped “you haven’t taken any of his pills,” and once turned down $700,000 on a two-year contract at age 38. “That was pretty close to Dak’s $40 million,” he said of Prescott. … Here’s a bigger sampling of it. Staubach, who was the 1970s version of Lamar Jackson and the original NFL quarterback to operate out of the shotgun formation, sparred with coach Tom Landry over the quarterback’s penchant for running but eventually won him over and won two Super Bowls in five appearances. “He put up with me on that,” he said of his scrambling. Staubach also inadvertently coined the phrase "Hail Mary" pass on his desperation heave to Drew Pearson to beat the heavily favored Vikings in 1975. A devout Catholic, Staubach mentioned it as a Hail Mary and the term has stuck to this day: “I told the media I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.” Staubach said Pearson “didn’t shove (Viking) Nate Wright.” Added Lundquist, “Nate slipped.” … Staubach also said he once was trying to get in to see Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm, who was tied up on the phone. Staubach, to get his attention, walked out on a ledge some 12 stories high and peered in at Schramm. “He saw me and couldn’t even talk. That was one of the dumbest things I ever did. So we’ve got three kids and I’m out on a 3-foot ledge. (Wife) Marianne nearly divorced me.” … Staubach also mentioned that Hall of Fame draft guru Gil Brandt once suggested that Roger try to get free of his four-year commitment to the Navy after graduation. “Yeah,” Roger said, “he mentioned that to my mother, and she threw him out of the house."

4. Bearcats barely winning. I wonder if Cincinnati might be done. Three close games against three nobodies in a row (Navy, Tulane and Tulsa) will do nothing to impress the College Football Playoff selection committee. It also doesn’t help that SMU has lost two straight because the two teams meet this month, and the Mustangs are not the quality opponent they once were. … Still can’t believe Oklahoma was picked eighth in the first CFP standings despite a 9-0 record and its blue blood status.

5. Aggies on the rise. A&M’s DeMarvin Leal, who was projected as high as the third overall pick in next spring’s NFL draft and 16th by 247Sports, couldn’t brag enough about his defensive coordinator. “Mike Elko is scary smart,” Leal said. “He just shows us what to do and we we go out there and go with the game plan. He shows everything he puts together works.” Would a TCU consider Elko for its head coaching vacancy? … Besides Leal, All-American left guard Kenyon Green was projected to be the eighth pick of the draft by the New York Giants. … Leal and everybody else is high on freshman linebacker Edgerrin Cooper, who makes plays all over the field even if he is a bit undersized. “He’s extremely fast. He’s there one second and gone the next,” Leal said. “He’s able to plug holes and run through there with bad intentions.” Here’s betting he’s an All-American by next season. … I know LSU AD Scott Woodward isn’t giving up on luring Jimbo Fisher to Baton Rouge, but I’ll still be shocked if he goes. One prominent Aggie told me he thinks Fisher “hates Baton Rouge.” Guess we’ll see. … Former Lake Travis wide receiver Garrett Wilson, starring for the Ohio State Buckeyes, is projected to go 17th in the first round to the New England Patriots by 247.

One recent NFL mock draft has Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson, a product of Lake Travis High School, going No. 17 overall to the New England Patriots.

6. Tech hires a Texan. Joey McGuire just might be an inspired choice to be the next Texas Tech football coach by athletic director Kirby Hocutt. As is true in almost every case, a new hire is usually the direct opposite of the person he or she is tabbed to replace. I think Matt Wells is a good coach but couldn’t get the Red Raiders over the hump as a hire from Utah State with no name identification in the state. McGuire won’t have that problem as a five-year assistant at Baylor and with a decorated career at Cedar Hill. His network among his former fellow high school coaches should pay big dividends in Lubbock. I loved his comment at Tuesday’s press conference when he said, ”My phones, I had 993 texts on one and about 575 on the other. And the majority, I promise you, were Texas high school football coaches.” I don’t guess one was from Arch Manning. … Does anyone out there think Manning is coming to Austin? Yeah, I didn’t think so. … Is there any chance that A&M, Texas and Oklahoma can all be good at the same time? Are there enough five-star and four-star blue-chippers to go around? 

More:Needing two wins in three games, getting to a bowl game vital for Texas, Steve Sarkisian

7. Around the league. What’s the deal. Why do the Cowboys leave MVP candidate Dak Prescott in for the entire game when they’re losing 30-0 to Denver midway through the fourth quarter? I have never understood that NFL mentality. Ridiculous. … My front-runner for MVP? I’ll take Lamar Jackson with his four fourth-quarter comebacks.

8. Scattershooting. While wondering whatever happened to Andy Erickson, the Lake Travis wide receiver who was the 2009 Central Texas player of the year with 5,000 total yards and later played at Rice and for Dennis Franchione's Texas State Bobcats

9. At the box office. Son Zach and I took in “Eternals” on Sunday. If there’s anything this world needs more of besides lawyers, it’s super heroes. I liked it OK, but it basically lasted an eternity at 2 hours, 37 minutes. Had the perfect amount of humor. I love Kumail Nanjiani. But lots of confusing flashbacks. Gave it 6 1/2 ducks.

Crazy prediction: Kellen Moore will not take another NFL or college head coaching job because he will be the next Cowboys head coach in the next two years.