Steve Sarkisian has many questions to answer in his first offseason as the Texas football coach.
When the Texas football program hired Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian to be their next head coach, it sent shockwaves throughout the entire Power 5 landscape.
The former USC Trojans head coach had made his way back to being a head coach again. Not only that, but Sarkisian’s rehabilitation went over so well that he is leading the Texas Longhorns. Few men get the opportunity to coach a blue-blood like this and Sarkisian has done so twice. You better believe he will make the most of his second chance at being a major program’s head coach.
If Sarkisian is about the work, he can be the one to turn the Texas football program around in a manner his two predecessors never could. Texas is not ready to compete with arch rival Oklahoma for Big 12 championships, but give it a few years and the Longhorns will be regular staples playing in the conference title bout in Arlington. For now, Sarkisian and Texas have questions to answer.
3 biggest offseason questions facing Texas Longhorns
3. Who emerges as Pete Kwiatkowski’s defensive superstar?
A lot has been made about what Sarkisian will bring to the Texas offense. He was able to bring with him from Tuscaloosa former Alabama offensive line coach Kyle Flood to the same position. While Sarkisian has built back up his reputation as a brilliant play-caller, he will need to have a great complementary defense to back up his side of the ball in an effort to help bring Texas back.
Sarkisian hired former Washington Huskies defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski to run the defense for him. While Kwiatkowski may not have been the biggest name up for the job, he will be able to give the Longhorns a stronger defensive identity, starting with his preferred defensive group: The pass-rush. What players will become Texas stars in Kwiatkowski’s defensive system?
Outside linebackers Keondre Coburn and DeMarvion Overshown will benefit from Kwiatkowski as their position coach, as well as their new defensive coordinator. However, the player that could be a total game-changer for the Texas defense is defensive tackle Alfred Collins. He certainly turned heads in the Alamo Bowl victory over the Colorado Buffaloes during bowl season. Collins is special.
So whether it is Coburn, Collins or Overshown, it is not like Kwiatkowski is devoid of talent coming in to take over this Texas defense. While the Longhorns will likely be an offensive-driven team, given that it is Sarkisian’s specialized side of the ball, Kwiatkowski comes from a strong defensive-minded culture up in Seattle. How his side of the ball progresses will be key in Texas’ success.