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Eyes on Texas: Bo Davis’ rant was full of passion, but are the right Longhorns listening?

Sark can’t lower standards while setting new culture: ‘We really believe in the staff that we hired and what we came here to do’

By now, chances are good you’ve seen or heard about what happened on the Texas bus after the Iowa State game. Defensive line coach Bo Davis didn’t take the 30-7 loss in Ames all too well. 

There’s a lot to unpack in the 48-second video that was secretly shot on a darkened bus and then leaked to the world.

Haven’t seen it? Just Google it. Company ethics prevent me from quoting it extensively in this space, this being a family-friendly space and all. Let’s just say Augie Garrido would’ve been proud.

Anybody want to “laugh and joke?” Bleep that. Davis said what probably needed to be said about 4-5 Texas.

Never forget Darrell Royal’s line. “Don’t matter what they throw at us. Only angry people win football games.”

First off, please spare us the pearl-clutching over Davis’ profanity. If that’s your main takeaway, you’ve probably never played competitive athletics. Or, for that matter, watched television, movies or navigated MoPac during rush hour.

Set aside the language and focus on two things: Davis’ message and the motive behind whoever recorded and leaked the video. Are any Longhorns listening? And if you’re not on board with the Steve Sarkisian experience, please see yourself to the transfer portal. 

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Texas defensive line coach Bo Davis watches defensive linemen Keondre Coburn, left, and Moro Ojomo warm up before the 70-35 win over Texas Tech in September. Leaked video of Davis' short, fiery speech to players on UT's team bus following last Saturday's loss at Iowa State went viral this week.

'Unfortunate' Bo Davis rant was recorded, Steve Sarkisian says

Someone who wanted to embarrass an assistant coach is not someone that can help Texas snap a four-game losing streak or win a league title.

“I think one thing that jumped out to me when I first saw the video, you could hear the passion in Bo’s voice,” Sarkisian said Thursday. “We really believe in the staff that we hired and what we came here to do. I think you could feel the passion and want to get it done."

Sarkisian said Davis embodies the spirit and passion he wants from the coaching staff. That feeling “spreads throughout your staff, your roster and your entire building.” 

“Clearly we’re here to build a culture that we want,” Sarkisian said. “That’s not to say the previous culture wasn’t good or was good. It’s just the culture that we’re looking for.”

Sarkisian called it “unfortunate that a young man decided to do that.” 

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“We have plenty of young men on our team that are buying in and have continued to buy in that are doing it the way we want it done,” Sark added. “And clearly, we have some that don’t.”

Sarkisian did not name the leaker. But figuring out who did it has become a parlor game on the message boards. 

Look, it can’t be that hard. This isn’t Colonel Mustard in the study with the lead pipe. The players know which bus Davis was on, and it’s not hard to figure out who was sitting on the left side of the bus near the back, based on the camera angle. The coaches probably figured it out quick.

Surprisingly, this Longhorn is still a Longhorn.

More:Are the Longhorns even having fun anymore? Texas players talk focus, feelings and football

Sarkisian knows the player — assuming it is a player and not some equipment manager — is in a tough spot. If he outs this person, he’s drawing a social media bullseye on the player’s back. This player’s college career might be over. Are you pulling that athlete from the transfer portal to join your team?

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said discipline against a player who leaked a video of UT defensive line coach Bo Davis' expletive-riddled rant to players after the 30-7 loss to Iowa State would be handled internally. Sarkisian has discussed the leak with his players' leadership committee.

It’s possible that Sarkisian, someone who was once laid low professionally himself, knows that the rain of hell that would come pounding down would do this person no good.

“We’re going to handle the discipline of that internally,” Sarkisian said. The coach noted that he met with the players’ leadership committee to discuss the situation. Those players expressed their feelings. “That’s why you have a group of young men to make sure that we’re all on the same page with what we’re doing,” he said.

If this Longhorn was indeed trying to embarrass Davis or Sarkisian, it backfired.

“How is this filmed and shared?” ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit tweeted. “I’m giving Bo Davis a standing ovation for his passion and messaging.”

Texas exes were almost universal in their response. 

Quandre Diggs tweeted, “Whoever recorded the video of Coach Bo need to be gone plain and simple.”

Charles Omenihu responded, “What he said!!”

Deshon Elliott chimed in. “Kicked off the team.”

Sarkisian was rather matter-of-fact about it. “I think the response from it has been good internally, and quite frankly, the response externally has been pretty good,” he said. 

So who exactly is Bo Davis? The Mississippi native has earned the right to say just about whatever he wants. He played nose guard at LSU, lettering from 1990-92. As a coach, he has been a part of three national championship teams and has coached in the NFL.

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian doesn't let his assistant coaches, like defensive line coach Bo Davis, above, speak to the media during football season. But Davis' leaked comments to players on the team bus after the Iowa State loss have placed even more focus on the struggling Longhorns this week.

Davis first came to Texas under Mack Brown in 2011 and stayed three seasons. He was at Alabama from 2014-15, the Detroit Lions in 2018-20 and now is back at UT under Sarkisian. 

Simply put, Davis, 51, is legit.

Now, should he be the assistant coach yelling and banging on bus panels when his defensive line hasn’t played all that well of late? Well, that’s debatable. The Texas run defense ranks 116th nationally and allows 201.7 yards per game.

Say whatever you want, but recruits liked what they heard.

“Coaches like @CoachBoUT are the ones that’s going to help drive you to succeed and do it out of nothing but love,” UT defensive line commit Justice Finkley tweeted. Assistant coach Kyle Flood retweeted that message probably hoping some offensive line recruits would see it, too.

Players today are just wired different. Once the game is over, athletes immediately pull out their phones and scroll social media, looking for what’s being said about them. Today’s youth snap, tweet, like and share everything.

But some rules still apply. What’s said in the locker room stays there. What’s said on the bus, in the team hotel, during team meals, all of it, stays there. This Longhorn broke that cardinal rule and for that, some believe, he’s got to go.

“It’s like anything. You’ve got 115 men in our locker room. To think I have all 115 all bought in, that wouldn’t be a realistic approach,” Sarkisian said. “But I’m not here to give up on young men, either.”

This (expletive) is real, as Davis said. Playing football at Texas is not a joke. 

All fans can hope is that Sarkisian finds more players willing to believe while ridding himself of those who don’t.

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.

Saturday's game

Kansas at Texas, 6:30 p.m., ESPNU, 104.9