HOUSTON (KXAN) — It’s taken about five months longer than it usually does, but Steve Sarkisian finally got to hit the road and meet with Texas fans outside of Austin for the first time when he spoke to the Touchdown Club of Houston Wednesday.
In speaking with reporters, the new Longhorns football coach laid out his vision for the coming months — starting next week with a hectic open to the summer.
“We’re excited,” Sarkisian said. “There’s a lot of moving parts in the month of June. Obviously, with recruiting opening back up and recruits being able to come on campus, it’s a big deal from an unofficial visit standpoint, from an official visit standpoint, from a summer camp standpoint.”
Coinciding with in-person recruiting opening up on campus is the the return of his football team for both summer school and summer conditioning.
“The big thing I keep reminding the staff about is not to get lost in…here’s our own football team,” Sarkisian said. “We start summer school and we start our summer workouts June 2, which is a key component to the immediate future as much as recruiting is for our future moving forward. It’s a big month for us on a lot of different levels.”
As far as the current team is concerned, after 15 practices during the spring, Sarkisian has a good feel for what his team looks like, but he’s not ready to announce anything definitive when it comes to the depth chart.
“I really don’t think anything’s solidified,” Sarkisian said. “We’re a competition-based organization. Not that I don’t want anyone to feel comfortable, but I want everybody to feel like they’re competing for something. The moment I relax, ‘Hey, I got my spot, I’m good,’ I’m not maybe pushing myself or getting pushed by somebody else throughout the summer and through fall camp.”
So like I said at the end of spring ball, we’ve got a lot of work to do, and we will do it, but in my opinion, nobody is set in stone,” Sarkisian said. “We’ve gotta earn what we get, and we’ve got 15 practices under our belt right now, so we’ve got a lot of work to do to get ourselves prepared for a very challenging schedule.”
As far as what he liked most after the spring, Sarkisian pointed out that he was impressed with the interior defensive line and its depth. On the other side of the ball, while he likes the veteran depth on the offensive line, he still needs to figure out how it will piece together.
“It is a good starting point when you’ve got veterans who have played football who are physical up front,” Sarkisian said. “I do believe, to win championships, you’ve gotta be good up front.”
In terms of recruiting, at the time of this article being published, Texas’ 2022 class currently has eight commitments, which ranks ninth in the country and second in the Big 12. Like everyone else, that class has been pieced together entirely virtually, without any in-person evaluations, meetings or campus visits.
Fortunately for Sarkisian, that all ends in less than a week.
“Me personally, I’m a big relationship-based recruiter,” Sarkisian said. “I like the face-to-face contact. I love the interaction. I try to be personable as I can be. I try to be as transparent as I can be. I think that sometimes that’s helpful for me in recruiting. Getting to know the recruits and their families in person, we do a lot of our stuff, obviously on FaceTime and on Zoom and different things, but in-person, there’s nothing like just being there and spending that time.”