Steve Sarkisian: Texas Can't Rely on 'Magical Fairy Dust' to Compete at High Level

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 15, 2021

AUSTIN, TEXAS - APRIL 24: Head coach Steve Sarkisian of the Texas Longhorns reacts during the Texas Football Orange-White Spring Game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on April 24, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Texas Longhorns may be one of the most recognizable and lucrative programs in college football, but new head coach Steve Sarkisian doesn't believe the university can assume it will succeed just because of the resources it possesses. 

"We can't sit back and relax and think because we've got a great stadium, because we've got great resources, because we've got 5-star, 4-star players, that we just sprinkle a little magical fairy dust and all sudden we're a really good football team," he told reporters Thursday. "Winning is hard. Winning takes work. Winning takes grit and great teamwork."

Between the 2010-20 seasons, Texas had just one year with 10 or more wins. They haven't won a conference title since 2009, and have yet to appear in the College Football Playoffs.

Sarkisian, 47, has been tasked with returning Texas to the realm of the elite programs in college football. He's had two previous stints as a head coach—from 2009-13 with Washington (34-29) and 2014-15 with USC (12-6). He went 2-2 in bowls between the two schools. 

Neither stint was particularly successful. He had more success in his two separate stints as Alabama's offensive coordinator (2016, 2019) and as an assistant for USC, seeing those two programs play in four national championship games and win two titles. 

So Sarkisian, like Texas, is looking to prove he can reach the upper echelon in the sport. And he's projecting optimism about the Longhorns chances of taking the next step. 

"We've got a roster that is one that is more than capable of being competitive at a high level," he 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, we're in a little better position than most when you take over a new program."

Jeff Howe @JeffHowe247

Sarkisian: “Cultures are formed organically.”<br><br>For cultures to form, Sark said you’ve got to give the players a chance to take ownership of the culture. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HookEm?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HookEm</a>

Jeff Howe @JeffHowe247

Steve Sarkisian on recruiting: “We have an awesome product. The University of Texas is a tremendous product to sell.” <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HookEm?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HookEm</a>

There's no doubt Texas has the tools in place to be successful. They had the No. 15 recruting class in the nation in 2021, per 247Sports.com, and their Class of 2021 is currently ranked No. 5. They have a long, proud history and world-class facilities. Everything is in place except for the product on the field. 

Sarkisian's job security rests on him handling that part of the equation.