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New Look Longhorns: How new coach Steve Sarkisian plans to return Texas to old stature

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Steve Sarkisian

These aren’t the same Texas Longhorns.

Former Texas quarterback Sam Elhinger and coach Tom Herman came to Austin together in 2017 and both left it for the NFL this summer.

Texas replaced Herman with former Alabama, USC, and Atlanta Falcons coach Steve Sarkisian. Sarkisian has worked his way up the coaching ladder all the way up from El Camino Community College and has held head coaching positions before.

The challenges Sarkisian faces at Texas are different from the challenges he has faced at his other stops. Texas has had moderate success in the Big 12 the last few seasons but is held to much higher standards than that.

Sarkisian is attempting to rebuild this new-era Longhorn football team into the national championship contending powerhouse of the mid-2000s.

The Longhorns are returning only six projected offensive starters and seven on defense. Sarkisian said in the last six and a half months his team has hired a new coaching staff, implemented a strength and conditioning program, and created new schemes on offense, defense and special teams.

“I've done a full rebuild before,” Sarkisian said. “This is my third time around, being a head coach. And to inherit this team coming off a 7-3 season with three losses by a combined 13 points, is something that we're in a little better position than most when you take over a new program.”

Sarkisian isn’t dissecting what has held the Longhorns back in the past, but rather attempting to stride forward by looking at his present situation.

“The point I've been trying to make is to focus on us and what we're doing and not necessarily what didn't work before, but what are we going to do to make it work this time,” Sarkisian said.

sports.ed@ocolly.com