- May 29, 2001
Welcome to a brave new world of college football in the state of Texas.
With the addition of Steve Sarkisian to the Texas sideline this season, the Longhorns are hoping this move will counter Oklahoma and Texas A&M, with one winning its sixth consecutive Big 12 title and the other recording a top-four finish for the first time since Gone With The Wind was released.
Tom Herman's teams never quite met expectations, but now that he’s been replaced at the helm of the Texas program by Sarkisian, we're closing in on uncharted territory.
Forget about the Sooners for a moment and let's just focus on the Longhorns and Aggies. In the history of the two football programs, the two have never won nine games in consecutive seasons at the same time. The last time it could have happened was in 2019 when the Longhorns were coming off of a 10-4 season, while the Aggies were 9-4 in Jimbo Fisher's first year.
Both went 8-5 in 2019.
The two rivals have never been great at the same time for more than a flash in the pan, and if we bring the Sooners into the conversation, there's certainly never been a time when all three of the programs have been very good simultaneously.
Oklahoma is very good. A&M is on the cusp of being very good if it isn't already there. If the Longhorns can get to be very good under Sarkisian, we'll be looking at the most competitive state of football programs in the history of the sport.
That's not hyperbole. If this region had been an old western town, we might say the town was big enough for two rough and tough cowboys, but never three.
A week ago, when I graded the incoming Texas coaching staff on a newly created 1-10 scoring scale, enough people asked me to compare the new Sarkisian staff with Oklahoma and A&M staffs that I thought it would make for good content.
So, here we are. Using the same scales from last week, we're going to compare the coaching staffs of each program.
No. 2 - Let's start on the offensive side...
Like I did a week ago, I'm going to go through both sides of the ball with an eye on coaching and recruiting resumes.
It's also important to note that these comparisons aren't completely apples to apples. For instance, Oklahoma has two wide receivers coaches, while Texas and Texas A&M do not. Texas is the only team that has one defensive line coach, but two linebackers coaches. Meanwhile, only the Longhorns have a designated special teams coach.
So, keep all of that in mind.
As a reminder, here is the scale that I created last week.
The Ketchum 10-point Coaching Grading Scale
10 - Elite of the elite of the elite.
9 - Nearly nationally elite.
8 - Ranks as one of the best in the Big 12/SEC at his position
7 - Damn Good
6 - Slightly Better Than Average
5 - Bang Average
4 - Slightly Below Average
3 - Poor
2 - Damn Poor
1 - Close your eyes and imagine the worst of Orangebloods
OU: Lincoln Riley/Cale Gundy/Bill Bedenbaugh (10.0)
A&M: Jimbo Fisher/Darrell Dickey (10.0)
TEX: Steve Sarkisian/Kyle Flood (10.0)
Thoughts: It's a pretty incredible group of offensive coaches. Does it really need to be explained? Even though all three schools have offensive coordinators, the head coaches handle the heavy lifting, and all three have resumes that include Heisman winners, No. 1 overall NFL draft picks, multiple first-round quarterbacks and offenses that will be remembered as some of the best the sport has ever produced. If the Longhorns were at a disadvantage in the last couple of years, it was having a head coach that was hired for his offensive reputation but only felt comfortable putting his toes into the water, while his peers never shied away from the responsibility.
OU: Lincoln Riley (10.0)
A&M: Jimbo Fisher/Darrell Dickey (10.0)
TEX: Steve Sarkisian/A.J. Milwee (10.0)
Thoughts: We probably shouldn’t pretend that the quarterbacks are in anyone's hands other than the head coaches to some degree. The Sooners didn't even bother to name a quarterbacks coach outside of Riley. With all due respect to Dickey and Milwee, the offense and quarterbacks begin and end with their bosses.
OU: DeMarco Murray (7.5)
A&M: Tommie Robinson (9.0)
TEX: Stan Drayton (9.5)
Thoughts: It's kind of unfair to compare Murray's resume to the other two because his coaching career has just begun, while both Drayton and Robinson have resumes that include NFL coaching chops and multiple successful college tenures. Frankly, I'm not sure that anyone in college football has a better coaching resume than Drayton, which is why I ranked him slightly ahead of Robinson. Ultimately, I decided that there needed to be something other than a tie in this category, and Drayton's development of Brian Westbrook at Villanova gave him a development edge that Robinson and Murray can't claim.
OU: Dennis Simmons (10.0)/Cale Gundy (8.5)
A&M: Dameyune Craig (8.0)
TEX: Andre Coleman (7.5)
Thoughts: Simmons is one of only two coaches with multiple Biletnikoff winners, rolling out the likes of Dede Westbrook, CeeDee Lamb and Hollywood Brown in the last few years. Craig has spent time coaching quarterbacks and wide receivers, and while his resume is impressive, it's not on the level of either Simmons or Gundy, who once upon a time coached running backs at Oklahoma when Adrian Peterson and DeMarco Murray were on campus.
OU: Joe Jon Finley (8.0)
A&M: James Coley (9.5)
TEX: Jeff Banks (9.5)
Thoughts: Coley hasn't had the string of success at the position that Finley and Banks have both had in recent years because he's been coaching quarterbacks for so much of his career, but the fact that he's been an offensive coordinator at four different schools in the last decade gives him a very slight nudge over Banks as an offensive coach. Banks' chops as an elite special teams coach give him a bonus half-point. Finley's resume is sneaky good. He's just in a stacked category.
OU: Bill Bedenbaugh (9.0)
A&M: Josh Henson (7.0)
TEX: Kyle Flood (9.0)
Thoughts: Bedenbaugh and Flood make for a tight battle. On one hand, you've got a guy in Bedenbaugh that gets credit for the overall body of work he's put in at Oklahoma, but there's no getting around the success that Flood has had at Alabama in the last few seasons, in addition to the work he did at Rutgers, both as a position coach and the head guy. Both guys are in the discussion for perfect 10s.
No. 3 - Shifting gears to recruiting ...
As a reminder, here's a look at the 1-10 scale that I created last week in regards to evaluating recruiting acumen.
The Ketchum 10-point Recruiting Ability Grading Scale
10 - Elite of the elite of the elite. Has "Rainmaker" printed on his business card.
9 - Nearly nationally elite. A constant threat for a Rivals Top 25 Recruiter spot
8 - Ranks as one of the best in the Big 12/SEC at his position. Has the ability to be the lead recruiter for a 5-star.
7 - Damn Good. Has displayed the ability to land national Top 250 players on a regular basis.
6 - Slightly Better Than Average. Sometimes lands a very good prospect, but is never really involved with elite prospects.
5 - Bang Average.
4 - Slightly Below Average. Deep down you know your school is wasting its time if he's on the recruiting trail with a high-level prospect
3 - Poor. Is kind of known as a f-up.
2 - Doesn't even try.
1 - Mike Leach.
NR: Impossible to gauge
A&M: Darrell Dickey (7.0)
TEX: A.J. Milwee (NR)
Thoughts: At 61 years old, Dickey isn't really on the A&M staff for his recruiting, but he's certainly capable and historically has had some success. With Milwee, no one can really say what the Longhorns have in this capacity based on his lack of experience recruiting at the major college level.
OU: DeMarco Murray (6.5)
A&M: Tommie Robinson (8.5)
TEX: Stan Drayton (8.0)
Thoughts: Both Robinson and Drayton have landed five-star running backs in the last few years and rate closely when you look at the success that they've achieved on the recruiting trail, but I'll give Robinson a slight edge based on the job he did with USC back in 2017 when 247 named him the Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year. It's really difficult to know where to slot Murray at this point because he just doesn't have a track record yet. Still, he didn't make an instant impact as a recruiter in his first year with the Sooners.
OU: Dennis Simmons (10.0)/Cale Gundy (7.0)
A&M: Dameyune Craig (10.0)
TEX: Andre Coleman (6.5)
Thoughts: Both Simmons and Craig have landed a slew of five-stars in recent years and warrant being regarded as elite of the elite as recruiters. It's as simple as that.
OU: Joe Jon Finley (6.5)
A&M: James Coley (9.0)
TEX: Jeff Banks (10.0)
Thoughts: Poor Finley. The competition in this category includes some serious rainmakers. Everyone knows that Banks has been pulling in monsters for Alabama over the last few seasons, but Coley has a deep resume. Banks gets the slight edge here because he's had more recent success as a primary recruiter.
OU: Bill Bedenbaugh (10.0)
A&M: Josh Henson (8.5)
TEX: Kyle Flood (8.5)
Thoughts: Bedenbaugh gets the edge for ranking as a Rivals.com Top 25 recruiter in the country for the Sooners for three consecutive seasons from 2017-2019. Both Flood and Henson have strong recruiting chops of their own, but they can't quite claim that kind of annual national success.
No. 3 - Moving on to the defensive side of the ball ...
Here are the coaching grades for the defensive side of the ball.
OU: Alex Grinch (9.0)
A&M: Mike Elko (9.5)
TEX: Pete Kwiatkowski (9.5)
Thoughts: I considered giving Kwiatkowski a slight edge at this position because of the success his team had in getting to the playoffs and performing well in the playoffs specifically because of its defense, which isn't something that any of the other coaches in the conversation can quite claim. But in the end I decided to give Elko some damn respect for the job he's done in turning around an awful A&M defense in the last few seasons. It doesn't quite feel like Grinch belongs on the same tier as Kwiatkowski and Elko.
OU: Calvin Thibodeaux (8.0)/Jamar Cain (6.5)
A&M: Elijah Robinson (7.5)/Terry Price (8.0)
TEX: Bo Davis (8.5)
Thoughts: This is one of the only categories in the discussion thus far where you'd be hard-pressed to find someone that stands heads and shoulders above the rest of the crowd. Here's what I know about Davis that motivates me to give him a small edge. He's the only guy that has ever coached in the NFL (four seasons) and the only guy in this group that has coached and succeeded on a national championship/playoff team. Everyone in this group has done some good work. I'm wondering if I underrated Davis in my scoring from last week, which has me underrating a couple of the other coaches. It just felt like Davis belonged in his own tier.
OU: Jamar Cain (6.5)/Brian Odom (6.5)
A&M: Tyler Santucci (6.5)
TEX: Jeff Choate (9.0)
Thoughts: None of these dudes are in the class of Choate from a coaching standpoint. Cain and Odom are both just now starting to achieve some sustained success, while Santucci only has a couple of seasons under his belt. All might be really good coaches, but when it comes to comparing resumes, there is one guarantee in the group.
OU: Roy Manning (7.5)
A&M: T.J. Rushing (7.0)
TEX: Terry Joseph (8.0)/Blake Gideon (7.0)
Thoughts: Joseph actually has the best resume of the four guys in this discussion, although it's important to remember that Alex Grinch works with the defensive backs at Oklahoma. It's fair to say that Gideon, Manning and Rushing are still in the early phases of their major college football journey as coaches.
No. 5 - One last section of scoring...
Here are the recruiting grades for the defensive side of the ball.
OU: Alex Grinch (6.0)
A&M: Mike Elko (7.0)
TEX: Pete Kwiatkowski (6.5)
Thoughts: None of these guys are in their positions because of recruiting skills. Elko and Kwiatkowski seem like guys that can put in some sweat equity in a second tier of prospects, but Elko's bio isn't as impressive as you'd think when you consider where he's coached.
OU: Calvin Thibodeaux (8.5)/Jamar Cain (8.0)
A&M: Elijah Robinson (8.0)/Terry Price (9.5)
TEX: Bo Davis (8.5)
Thoughts: All of these dudes can recruit, and I might have Davis slightly undervalued when you consider that he has landed a number of five-stars in his career. But the fact that Price has landed Myles Garrett (2014), Daylon Mack (2015), DeMarvin Leal (2019) and Shemar Turner (2021) gives him a quartet of five-star level prospects from the Lone Star State. That deserves a “wow.”
OU: Jamar Cain (7.5)/Brian Odom (5.0)
A&M: Tyler Santucci (4.0)
TEX: Jeff Choate (6.5)
Thoughts: Cain has emerged as a real recruiter to watch after landing Clayton Smith, but his track record is still pretty limited. Choate has a reputation for being a solid recruiter, but he has limited major college experience. Odom and Santucci are non-factors at this point.
OU: Roy Manning (6.0)
A&M: T.J. Rushing (6.0)
TEX: Terry Joseph (7.5)/Blake Gideon (6.5)
Thoughts: Joseph gets the easy edge as the recruiter with the best career resume, as he's the only coach in this quartet to ever land a five-star prospect. Manning has been mostly a recruiting non-factor in the last decade, while Rushing's track record is incredibly limited. Gideon doesn't have a huge resume yet, but he has a reputation for being aggressive and active on the trail.
No. 6 - Some Takeaways!!!
* This was an interesting set of comparisons. What I think I've learned is that the Longhorns have been bringing a knife to a gun fight for the last few seasons. Almost every coach that Tom Herman employed would rank behind their peers in College Station and Norman. This new staff gives the Longhorns a fighting chance. I don't know how to describe what a Bill Bedenbaugh/Herb Hand match-up looks like on paper, but it's one-sided. Frankly, so is comparing a Tom Herman/Mike Yurcich combo with what is on the other sidelines.
* I can't say enough about the quality of offensive coaching for all three schools, but especially with the head coaches. Each of them has a resume that would blow away most in the nation, and this three-way tie speaks to the advantage these schools have with their leaders.
* Not including the head coaches, there were seven offensive coaches that racked up 9.0 or higher coaching scores: Drayton, Robinson, Simmons, Banks, Coley, Bedenbaugh and Flood. Only Choate and the three defensive coordinators recorded such scores on the defensive side of the ball.
* Isn't it curious how the offensive scores are so much higher than the defensive scores? Is that because of the state of the sport? Is it because most of the unproven track records were found on that side of the ball? It really made me appreciate the resume that a guy like Bo Davis brings to the table.
* The high scores for recruiting favor the offense as well. Outside of the defensive line coaches and Joseph, the entire defensive side of the ball is full of coaches without big recruiting track records. It'll be interesting to see how this evolves in the coming years.
* Overall, the three coaching groups look similar on paper.
Let the three-way battles commence!
No. 7 – BUY or SELL …
(Buy) He's been a valuable asset for the program and has given more in return versus his cost by a handsome margin. He's not impossible to replace, but there's a reason why Sarkisian has been very open-minded about keeping him on staff when so many others were removed pretty quickly.Carrington would be a significant loss?
(Buy) I have to be honest, your question was easy to answer, but the fact you used such a timely metaphor meant you easily got your question in!Casey Thompson is our version of GameStop with so much hype starting 2021, his career could explode higher this season with Sark development or come crashing down with being overhyped from a 2nd half Alamo bowl game.
(Buy) Not only that, but he's suddenly ranking very highly in side by side comparisons to coaches all over the place!In retrospect, Stan Drayton's comeback from where he was prior to the Bijan signing to one of two coaches retained by Sark is pretty remarkable.
(Buy) Man, you know how it works.Unless Texas at least makes it to this year’s CCG, the natives will quickly get restless and the Sark honeymoon is over.
(Buy) Tom Herman for four years. Charlie Strong got three years. David McWilliams went 7-5, 4-7 and 5-6 in his first three years and still got five years total.Generally speaking, times have changed and college football coaches no longer have as much time as they used to to turn around a program before being fired or resigning under pressure?
(Sell) I think he's going to chill and enjoy himself. Maybe he’ll be an analyst somewhere.We see Tom Herman coaching in 2021? Bit surprised not hearing his name much given the instant mobility of many other coaches that have been fired this season.
(Buy) And that's a good thing.Let's face it, once NIL goes through, the genie will never get put back in the bottle.
(Sell) I don't think their interest in him was some kind of revenge counterpunch. I just believe they are looking to bring in someone they believe can impact recruiting in a strong way behind the scenes.Carrington being hired by USC is their counterpunch to Texas trying to recruit in their backyard. His views on UT as a whole will be used against us going forward.
(Sell) There will be more, but the 2021 class was already significantly scouted before the pandemic.The 2021 class will have significantly more ranking based misses than normal due to a lack of in-person evaluation, camps, and reduced film.
(Sell) Maybe two. I'm thinking one right now.This staff brings in 2-3 OL that are starter level players via the portal or grad transfer.
(Buy) Just to be clear, that's Sam territory as well.Our starting QB (either Casey or Hudson) has a better QB rating in their first year under Sark than Sam ever had in his career? (151.8)
(Buy) The Longhorns already have three transfers on the ledger and I think we'll see several more before August.The Texas Staff will add 4 quality plus players from the portal before its all over.
No. 8 - Scattershooting on the world of sports...
... Damn, Covid, leave the Texas basketball season alone, already.
... After taking an unexpected beatdown at the hands of Oklahoma State mid-week, the Texas women's basketball team bounced back against Texas Tech on Saturday. Very quietly, this team is going to win 20 games and be a sneaky Sweet 16 candidate in March.
... Pat Mahomes is 25-1 in his last 26 starts. That's good enough for me to pick the Chiefs to beat the Bucs next Sunday.
... The Rams just don't give a damn about first round picks. Not at all. Still, I kind of like going all in with Matt Stafford, especially since it allows them to get out of the Jared Goff contract. But.... if Stafford gets hurt and the Rams crumble.... the Lions will be licking their chops for draft capital.
... It feels like the Deshaun Watson situation is going to be much uglier than the Stafford situation in Detroit turned out to be.
... Don't look now, but the Nets are second in the East and have won 8 of 10 games. Maybe having three superstars on your team can be a good thing.
... No team in the Eastern Conference is better than 5-5 on the road so far in the NBA. Meanwhile, seven teams in the West have better than 5-5 road records.
... I just can't be bothered by Patrick Reed.
... Are Spurs about to collapse and is Jose Mourinho about to lose his job (when this season ends)?
... This is one of the best goals I've seen Liverpool score in years.
No. 9 - The List: Movie questions ...
I started listening to a new podcast this week called Films to be Buried With, hosted by Brett Goldstein (otherwise known as Roy Kent in Ted Lasso), and it centers around the idea that the person being interviewed has just died and gone to heaven. It turns out everyone in heaven wants to ask about movies, and each podcast asks the guest the same set of questions.
I thought answering the questions would make for a good list this week.
1. What is the first film I remember seeing?
I think… I think.. it was the Disney movie called The Song of the South when I was about 4. After not seeing it for years and years and years, I got a copy of it back in 2003 or so on eBay from Europe, and I watched it with a friend and his biracial child. Let's just say that movie has aged horribly, and I understand why it was banned. Never needed to see it since.
2. What is the movie that made me cry the most?
As someone that will go into a movie by himself and sob like a baby if pushed in that direction, I could probably name 100 movies, but the movie that made me cry the MOST? With all due respect to Lion and Finding Neverland, I have to go with Inside Out. I love Bing Bong.
3. What is the movie that scared me the most?
I once watched Friday the 13th when I was about 5-6 years old and my babysitters pretended to leave me alone in the dark and then acted like they were trying to get me... Jason-style. How did I not end up really messed up from that?
4. What movie do I like that no one else likes, but I think they are crazy because it’s awesome?
Wyatt Earp >>> Tombstone. Yeah, I said it... again.
5. What is the movie that I used to love that I don’t love any more?
Am I allowed to say that the original Star Wars puts me to sleep at the age of 44?
6. The movie that you find to be the most sentimental to you?
I’m going to say Dirty Dancing. It makes me think of my mom when I was growing up as a kid. The movie Six Pack is up there as well, as one that I loved to watch with my grandmother.
7. The sexiest movie of all-time?
I'm going to go Dirty Dancing for a second time. Do not judge me.
8. Most relatable movie?
You guys are going to love this, but you'll learn a lot about me if you know that my answer to this is probably Jefferson Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
9. The worst film I have ever seen?
Jack and Jill. It's possible that Adam Sandler did something worse, but I haven't seen it.
10. Movie that made me laugh the hardest?
Planes, Trains and Automobiles. My mom and I had tickets for a sneak preview when it came out, and we had a huge fight before we went to the movie. We almost didn’t go. But we decided to go and we laughed as hard as I can ever remember laughing in my life. To this day, just saying the name of the movie makes me smile.
11. The movie I would be buried with?
It kind of has to be Dirty Dancing, doesn't it?
No. 10 - And Finally ...
As far preferred walk-ons are concerned, consider me a big fan of this kid. I have to believe he'll be a special teams contributor and a guy that earns multiple letters before he graduates.
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