Steve Sarkisian arrived at Texas in January to turn around a long-struggling football program and prove that he's head coach material again after a tumultuous near-decade long stretch in his personal life. As we've seen so far, Sarkisian's Texas team is failing for all the same reason his other squads did. Texas is most definitely not back.
In Sark's first year in charge, the Longhorns are 4-6 and just suffered a humiliating overtime loss to Kansas team that had lost eight in a row. Texas has now dropped five in a row, and has been plagued by inconsistent effort and strategy. The Longhorns play well in bursts on both sides of the ball, then look completely lost in others.
Like in his stints with Washington and USC, Sark's short tenure at Texas has already been marred by controversy and distractions. Receiver Joshua Moore is transferring after a reported confrontation with his head coach. Then there's the crazy story of special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Jeff Banks, whose stripper wife's monkey attacked and injured a child. Before that, Sarkisian courted controversy by fully endorsing "The Eyes of Texas" despite its racist history. For those who followed the 47-year-old coach's previous stops, none of this is surprising.
In five years at Washington, Sark went 34-29 and 24-21 in the Pac-12. The program showed little discernable progress under his watch despite solid recruiting. He went 5-7 in his first year, then 7-6 for the next three before going 8-4 in 2013. He somehow failed upwards and convinced USC to hire him. He lasted a year and a half before personal problems and a battle with alcoholism cost him his job. The Trojans went 9-4 in 2014, then 3-2 in 2015 before he was shown the door.
Consistent themes showed up in both spots. His teams lost games they shouldn't have, they were plagued by a lack of focus and inconsistent effort. Sound familiar?
The same story is playing out in Austin, as Texas can't seem to get out of their own way and seem ill-prepared for teams to punch them back.
Can Sarkisian turn it around at Texas? Sure, it's possible. He's got a six-year, $34.2 million contract, so he'll be given time. But it's a terrible sign that all the same problems from we've seen in past are haunting his current team.