AUSTIN (KXAN) — Steve Sarkisian was officially introduced as the Texas Longhorns next head football coach on Saturday through a Zoom press conference.
The Alabama offensive coordinator will fully take control of the Texas football program after Alabama plays Ohio State in the national championship game on Monday, Jan. 11. Sarkisian is expected to go through a full introductory press conference at Texas on Jan. 13.
Texas opted to fire Tom Herman on Saturday morning after four seasons with the program.
Sarkisian has served as Alabama’s offensive coordinator for the past two seasons, winning the 2020 Broyles Award, which is a prestigious honor given to the top college football assistant coach.
Here’s what Sarkisian said about his new job.
“First and foremost, thank you guys for taking the time this evening to get together. A lot of emotions but all of the good ones…I’m humbled to be the head coach at the University of Texas. It’s a tremendous opportunity for me. There’s a lot of talent on this team. I think there’s championship talent on this team. Clearly, there’s work to be done. In my opinion, we’ll assemble the best or one of the best staffs in the country. This is an exciting time for me. What an amazing opportunity. It’s pretty well-documented…I’m going to stay with Alabama through the championship game and directly after that I’ll be in Austin. We’ve got some great days ahead of us but a lot of work to be done.”
Why was Texas the right job for you?
“For me, what was unique. I’ve had opportunities to interview. I’ve been offered jobs and ended up not taking them. I was in a different scenario as a head coach before. I wanted to make sure that if I took the head coaching job it was the right job. I wanted a job with a rich history and traditions. I looked at every job separately and…no, that’s not the right one. Texas felt right and continued to feel right. This just felt like an awesome opportunity for me.”
What have you learned from previous head coaching experiences?
“With age comes maturity, at Washington I accepted the job at 33 or 34 years old. When you’re a young head coach, you try to tackle them all on your own. I think now after spending time in the National Football League and with Coach Saban. You realize the value of the staff. I think that takes some of the burden off your shoulders. I think that keeps you focused and keeps you grounded. I think I’ve grown a lot from maturity and just understanding the players. It’s not always about winning the game…winning the game is a process.”
What needs to be done for Texas to have championship success?
“This is a talented roster. There is plenty of good football players on this team to go win a championship. You have to recruit really well and you have to recruit really well in the state. We have to have a great developmental staff. We have to develop our players. We have to instill some core standards to live by…that comes from mental and physical toughness. These things are easy to say in a press conference but the real work is doing the work. The game of football is the best sport in the world. It’s the ultimate team game. You need everyone in that locker room as a driving force.”
How will you split duties between Texas and Alabama?
“Coach Saban was tremendously supportive. Without his guidance at Alabama, this would not be possible. The mentor that he is to me and everybody at Alabama. Coach Saban wants to win this national championship so he didn’t push me out the door. For juggling duties, it’s pretty clean. First and foremost at Texas is assembling a staff. I’ve already had one team meeting with the (Texas) team. I’ve done this before. I coached the Rose Bowl at USC before taking the job at Washington.”
How will your offensive scheme translate to the Big 12?
“I believe it will translate well. It was effective in the Pac-12, it was effective in the NFL and, so far, effective in the SEC. It is an attacking style of offense. We believe in running the football and using the run game to set up the pass game. There’s definitely belief in running the football, but the balanced attack is what makes us go. To make all of that go, you need a good offensive line. It’s a great system because it is versatile and I think it was translate well in the Big 12.”
Will you try to convince Sam Ehlinger to stay? What do you think about the Texas roster?
“Clearly, Sam [Ehlinger] is a heckuva football player. He’d be someone I’d be remiss not to try to keep around. There’s a phone call coming. We’ll see. He’s got a personal decision to make. Those are all conversations down the road. I do believe this is a talented roster. There are a lot of young talented players.”
What is the outside perception of Texas over the last decade?
“What’s wrong. Why isn’t Texas in the College Football Playoff? Texas is held in such high regard in my world, in my community of college football. Now, it’s my responsibility to make the perception of Texas a reality. I think the perception is what we think Texas should be and now it’s my job to make Texas a reality.”
What’s your plan for assembling a staff?
“I already had a brief meeting with the current staff members, but I plan to meet with current staff members individually. Putting together a staff is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. There’s definitely a process to it. With the signing day coming up, we want to make sure we solidify the class.”
What’s your message to the fans?
“I want when people to watch us play…that they’re proud of the brand of football that we play. They want to be able to brag to their buddies…did you watch Texas play?”