Texas coach Steve Sarkisian to keep holdovers, bring back other familiar names in new staff
Running backs coach Stan Drayton, receivers coach Andre Coleman expected to stay on for 2021
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Texas coach Steve Sarkisian is looking to keep several members of former coach Tom Herman’s staff for next season while bringing in other familiar faces.
Sarkisian is scheduled to be introduced in Austin at 4 p.m. Tuesday, assuming all goes according to UT’s plan. He will fly to Austin from Miami after Monday night’s national championship game against Ohio State.
It’s unclear whether UT will formally announce the staff members who have already been decided upon, but in an interview Sunday, Sarkisian told the American-Statesman that “we’re doing good.”
“We've got a couple guys,” Sarkisian said. “We’re just waiting to get signed before it's announced. I feel very good about it.”
Running backs coach Stan Drayton and receivers coach Andre Coleman are expected to stay in their current roles. Drayton has already tweeted once with the message “Stay tuned, @TexasFootball. #AllGasNoBreaks.” The hashtag is one of Sarkisian’s favorite sayings.
Drayton has been the UT running backs coach the past four seasons, all under Herman. Coleman joined the UT staff as an offensive analyst in 2019 and was promoted to full-time assistant coach last season. “Andre is going to stay with the wideouts,” Sarkisian said.
“Andre and I have a unique connection,” Sarkisian said. “I talked to him a couple different times the last few years when I was in Atlanta and in Alabama. I love his confidence, but also love his humbleness. I think he's got a great relationship with these kids.”
Sarkisian is also expected to hire Texas ex Blake Gideon to work with the safeties. Gideon was a four-year starter and two-year team captain for the Longhorns from 2008 to 2011. As a coach, he’s worked at Florida, Georgia State and Houston, and he spent last season as the special teams coordinator at Ole Miss.
Bo Davis, who was UT’s defensive tackles coach in 2011-13, is a possible candidate for defensive line coach. He’s had two stints at Alabama and worked for multiple NFL teams.
Davis was fired at Alabama and hit with an NCAA show-cause penalty that was in effect through April 2019. The NCAA claimed that he had an impermissible meeting with four recruits. AL.com reported in 2017 that school sources said Davis simply met with the players at the urging of their high school coach.
A UT source said the school was doing background work to determine the severity of the violation before making a hiring decision.
Also, Sarkisian is likely to meet with current defensive coordinator Chris Ash when he arrives in Austin. The UT source said Sarkisian does not know Ash, who knew Herman from their time together at Iowa State and Ohio State before coming to Austin.
It’s unclear who would hold the offensive coordinator title. Sarkisian told the Statesman he will call his own plays from the sideline. Former offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich has already left for Penn State.
“Obviously, staffing is unique, because there's a lot of pieces to a jigsaw puzzle that need to get put together to get it right,” Sarkisian said. He said it’s ultimately about formulating the right culture for recruiting and staff camaraderie.
“And so it takes time,” Sarkisian said. “Sometimes a certain hire may look really good from 10,000 feet, like yeah, that’s the guy. Then as you start to narrow in on it, I don’t know if that’s going to be a great mesh. Or, I don’t know if that coaching style is going to work with me or with our players. And so there's a lot that goes into it.
“I definitely don't take it lightly. It is very important to me,” he added. “The one thing with hiring coaches is that it’s one thing to win the press conference or win the perception battle, when in reality our goal is to be the best 365 days a year and to make sure we have people coming into that building every day that want to be the best versions of themselves, that have the idea of place that our job is to put our players in the best position to be successful, whether that’s on the field or in life.”