- May 29, 2001
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Alabama coach Nick Saban must be blushing.
Texas, under Steve Sarkisian, doesn't want to be like Alabama; the Longhorns want to BE Alabama.
If that wasn't apparent after Texas added Sarkisian 15 days ago, it became clear after offensive line coach Kyle Flood made the move from Tuscaloosa to Austin to take on the same role, along with a shiny little coordinator title.
Or when Sarkisian didn't take no for an answer with tight end coach Jeff Banks, who is suddenly making a million-plus per year and showing what a rainmaker in college football recruiting is worth in 2021.
Or when Sarkisian hired his right-hand man from Alabama to be his new quarterback coach, even if it meant that Arkansas State suddenly had to replace the offensive coordinator it just hired.
Just when folks in Alabama thought Sarkisian was done looting the Tide staff, Sarkisian decided he may want Saban's defensive coordinator Pete Golding as well. Hell, cornerback coach Karl Scott can come, too.
"Sark wants anyone and anything with Bama ties," one Alabama source joked via text message over the weekend. "He'd probably take Bryce Young as well if he could."
A few minutes went by and another text arrived.
"You know Young would probably transfer to Texas if Mac Jones had come back for another season. Young loves Sark."
Then another from a source in SEC Country on Saturday afternoon.
"Hearing anything on player personnel guy there? Just heard (Sark) wanted (someone) with Bama ties," the source texted.
My brain has been so focused on tracking down the defensive coordinator choice that I didn't think a lot about that personnel question, not realizing that less than 16 hours later word would come out that Drew Hughes was leaving South Carolina to replace Derek Chang as the new Director of Player Personnel (or some similar title) for the Longhorns.
Hughes, who worked at Alabama from 2007-11 as a "recruiting specialist", was already making three times as much money as Chang... before Texas swooped in and offered whatever it took to get Hughes to leave the SEC for the first time in almost a decade. He has been at Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama, but now his home is in Austin.
"Sark wanted Bama ties, and Drew came up in that system," a South Carolina insider told me.
The truth of the matter is that what we're watching right now is probably just scratching the surface when it comes to Sarkisian modeling his program after Saban's. Look for the strength and conditioning program to eventually mimic Alabama's transition in the last 12 months, when two positions were created to lead that department - Director of Sports Performance and Director of Performance Sciences. Expect Texas to follow a similar path with wall-to-wall support staff.
Does all of this feel like the scene in Coming to America when Cleo McDowell had that "little misunderstanding"? McDonald's has the golden arches. McDowell's had the golden arcs. McDonald's has the Big Mac. McDowell's had the Big Mick.
The only difference is Sarkisian isn't even bothering with the "little misunderstanding". He's serving up two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions AND a sesame seed bun.
Sark doesn’t give a damn.
If Texas wants to be Alabama, it appears Sark believes the best way to get there is by BEING Alabama.
When Alabama visits DKR in two seasons, Saban might not know which sideline to stand on.
No. 2 - A few more notes on Drew Hughes ...
I thought I'd share a few more notes on Hughes.
Over the course of the last decade, Hughes has worked at Alabama, N.C. State, Florida, Central Florida and Tennessee prior to his year in Columbia.
During that one season, Hughes had already made quite an impression on those covering the South Carolina program.
"I would say he brings a blend of experience with big-time recruiting, but he's also been at NC State and UCF, where you have to be resourceful," the South Carolina source mentioned. "He did a really good job in the transition period between (Will) Muschamp and (Shane) Beamer."
"He's very passionate, (he) can bring some intensity. He has some juice."
No. 3 - About the defensive coordinator position ...
I know there's a gigantic sense of urgency to get this staff completed so the Longhorns can truly start the Sarkisian Era in full force, but I'll say this...
Worry less about urgency and more about getting it right, which means that if it takes a month to get the most important hire right, so be it.
The 2021 recruiting class is not on the line. Yes, you'd like to have this hire in place as soon as possible for future classes, but there's nothing that is going to happen in January in defensive recruiting that a hire on the 17th of January will likely impact.
Just get it right.
If that means failing nine times and landing the big name difference maker on the 10th try, so be it.
You get the sense that Pete Golding has truly been the apple of Sarkisian's eye for possibly the last two week, and he's going to give his former co-worker as much time as he needs to make a decision before diving into a true back-up plan.
Whatever It Takes.
No. 4 - Funny conversation...
I was having a conversation with a well-connected Texas-Ex this weekend about the changes in the football program when the subject of Board of Regents chairman Kevin Eltife came up.
"That's not his job," the Houston resident griped. "He's not supposed to hire football coaches. He's the chair for the entire Texas system."
"Well, I think he's kind of a hero to a lot of people," I replied. "He's getting a lot of credit for there being excitement in the program."
"Who does he think he is, Frank Erwin?" he shot back.
"I think he'd find that to be a compliment," I joked. "It's not an accident that everyone at the press conference made a point to call him 'boss' in front of everyone else. Frank would have loved that, right?"
"Who is going to be the defensive coordinator," he finally asked after taking my comment in for a few seconds.
No. 5 - Klubnik vs. Ewers ...
Man, that was fun.
For two quarters on Saturday night, two of the best quarterbacks in the 2022 recruiting class went toe to toe, and it felt like an all-time championship ending was coming.
Then Klubnik and the rest of the Westlake team did the damn thing in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen from a Westlake squad. I'm not saying it's the greatest team in school history, but that third quarter might have been the best 12 minutes of football that I've ever seen Westlake play.
It was as emphatic as it was impressive.
Along the way, Klubnik emerged as an elite prospect in my mind... I'm talking national top 50 good. I already thought of him as a national top 100-level prospect, but he was the best player on the field on Saturday night, with all due respect to Westlake defensive back Michael Taaffe.
That doesn't mean he's a better prospect than Quinn Ewers, but he was better on the biggest stage Saturday.
It felt like a lot of conversation on Orangebloods evolved into a Ewers vs. Klubnik comparison, but I don't think there's any reason to tear one down to build the other up. Both are big-time. Both have sick skills.
Klubnik's athleticism and raw suddenness give him a dimension that makes him a little different than Ewers, while Ewers’ natural throwing ability is probably higher.
Overall, I couldn't have been more impressed with Klubnik.
p.s - As soon as this coaching search is over, I'll be updating the 2022 LSR list. Stay tuned. Hang in there with me.
No. 6 - Five UT hoops thoughts...
a. Get well, fellas. When the news came down on Sunday that Wednesday's game in Ames had been postponed, I assumed the Longhorns were the cause of the cancellation after three of their players missed Saturday's win over Kansas State with what may have been COVID reasons. To find out that Iowa State was pausing team activities on top of the problems Texas was already having... well... let's just say it was a reminder of what we're in the middle of right now. Again, get well, fellas.
b. Texas beating the hell out of Kansas State is football and basketball is getting to be way too normal. I don't even know how to react to it.
c. This team is all kinds of fun.
d. I think the Iowa State game being postponed is good for the Longhorns. Suddenly, Texas has a week to possibly get some guys back, while avoiding a back-to-back road trip. Winning at TCU on Saturday becomes a must if the Longhorns want to take advantage.
e. The Texas women's team lost in Lubbock on Sunday to a very average Texas Tech team, mainly because it couldn't hit the broad side of the barn from the field (32.8 percent). Sometimes the analysis is as simple as that.
No. 7 – BUY or SELL …
(Sell) Not even a little. I'd be more concerned if a "meh" hire had occurred.You’re concerned that DC hire hasn’t been made yet?
(Buy) Sure, If I'm wrong, it might be by only a few days. I have a feeling Texas gets another soon.Sark finalizes his staff this week & picks up at least 1 more 4 star commit for 2022.
(Buy) Yup.Texas has had a culture problem dating back to the late Mack days, and it has been unrealistic for Texas fans to expect a single player or group of players to save the football program when the culture responsibility falls on the coaching staff and administration. Having said this, the program is now in better hands with Hartzell, CDC and Sark in charge.
(Sell) I'm not sure I buy into such concrete thinking at this point.Klubnik has a better college career because of his overall athleticism, but Ewers will be the more sought after pro QB come the draft.
(Buy) It'll be close, but I'll take Texas edging A&M by a spot or two. Both could finish in the top five.Sark ends up with a higher ranked class in 22 than both aggy and ou.
(Sell) It's silly for me to even think about it while the team is in the middle of one of the best seasons in school history (through the 1/4 mark in conference play).Shaka still needs to win 2 tournament games to be Texas' coach next year?
(Buy) And it's not even close, if you believe the left tackle production in the final two games of the season means anything.Picking up a pass rusher in the transfer market is the top roster priority.
(Buy) Were there 17 fun days in 2020?The first 17 days of 2021 have been more fun for UT fans than the 366 days of 2020? The first 17 days of 2021 have been more fun for the OB staff than the 366 days of 2020?
(Buy) Yup, I'll go with the inverted Daryl Hall and say that I can go for that.Texas adds 6 new 2022 commitments by the end of the spring game.
(Buy) I can go for that, too.If the o/u on new transfers starting in 2021 is 1.5. Ketch is taking the over
(Sell) I just don't think that's happening in this decade.Sark will someday coach the Horns in a regular season game against Jimbo & the Ags.
(Sell) I don't believe that at all.Sark blew his coaching budget on a number of great hires so far and is struggling to find an elite DC now due to money.
(Sell) I can't go for that, can't go for that, can't go for that, can't go for that.CDC and Sark will be a stronger combination to move the football program to elite status (regular playoff contender) than Dodds and Mack?
(Sell) I don't think he's in play for the Texas DC job.Tennessee DC Derrick Ansley, who is likely a candidate for Oregon DC, and is looking to exit Knoxville, is a sleeper fall-back pick to note for Sark's DC.
(Buy) He feels very Shawn Watson-esque.Hiring Scott Linehan could doom Urban's NFL career.
(Sell) You ain't winning a damn thing.I win the huge lottery this week. If you answer buy, I’ll run out and buy a ticket.
No. 8 - Scattershooting on the world of sports...
... Play of the Weekend. Wow.
... The Katy Tigers are a damn machine that never stops.
... I was rooting for Cedar Park, but Denton Ryan was just way too good. Man, that's a talented team.
... Andy Reid has some massive stones.
... I enjoyed Baker Mayfield losing on Sunday. Can't help it.
... Can't believe Al Michaels double-jinxed Justin Tucker. I thought he was jinx-proof.
... It probably is time for Drew Brees to retire.
... Green Bay and Buffalo will be very difficult to beat. I'm not sure Kansas City is going to pull it off.
.., If you're the Texans, would you take Sam Darnold, the No. 2 pick in the draft and a first round pick next year for Deshaun Watson? Will a deal get better than that?
... Kevin Durant and James Harden looked kind of fun together on Saturday night. Also, did Harden lose 25 pounds in two days?
... I'm ready for the Sixers to trade Ben Simmons to the Wizards for Bradley Beal.
... Ok, Max Holloway, well done.
... Liverpool just isn't playing well enough right now. My team is just in a big ol' funk.
No. 9 - The List: Romantic Comedies ...
One of our dear OB brothers lost a bet to his wife this week and was put in a position where he thought he was going to be forced to watch a ROM-COM.
As the resident chick-flick champion on this site, I was a little disappointed that he didn't just come to me for advice. With that said, I thought I would make this the subject of this week's list.
This isn't so much a list of my top 10 personal all-time romantic comedies as much as this is my Top 10 list of romantic comedies to watch if you're typically not into the genre and want to survive/make your wife happy.
You can thank me later.
10. Crazy, Stupid, Love (Legit funny movie with Steve Carell. Your significant other will be ready to stop the movie by the time she sees Ryan Gosling's abs.)
9. Love Jones (Some might not call it a comedy, but I'd argue Bill Bellamy makes it one. This is the choice if you and your date prefer a little diversity.)
8. 10 Things I Hate About You (This is for the guy dating a woman in her 30s. A young Heath Ledger. A young Joseph Gordon-Levitt. A young Julia Stiles.)
7. Love Actually (Tons of raunchy British humor. Doubles as a holiday movie.)
6. Notting Hill (A better Julia Roberts choice than Pretty Woman for all of the British charm that Love Actually brings to the table. Hugh Grant's roommate makes this an absolute top 10 selection.)
5. Groundhog Day (It's one of the best comedies of all-time. Full stop.)
4. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (The best romcom of the 21st century.)
3. The Apartment (If you want to go with a classic Black and White, there are a lot of great options, but this Jack Lemmon/Shirley MacLaine classic is tough to beat.
2. Sleepless in Seattle (It's Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan at their ROMCOM best. It might be Hanks' best work.)
1. Bull Durham (Arguably the greatest sports movie of all-time. It ticks all of the boxes.)
No. 10 - And Finally ...
I probably don't say it enough. Just in general.
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