When Texas finished with consecutive lopsided victories last December, it seemed that coach Tom Herman would be back for a fifth season despiteof a Big 12 title again. Even after a winless , there was no reason to think Les Miles would be gone from Kansas.
Yet, the Longhorns and Jayhawks went through spring practice with different coaches.
Four days after Texas won the Alamo Bowl, Herman was fired and replaced hours later by Steve Sarkisian, the offensive coordinator for national champion Alabama.
Asked about only two offensive touchdowns in last Saturday’s glorified scrimmage, Sarkisian responded bluntly: “Spring game.” He also mentioned watered-down versions of the offense with split squads and unusual rotations.
“All in all, it was fun, I think, for our guys just to get out and compete. We’ve got a long way to go,” said Sarkisian, a former USC and Washington head coach. “We’ve come a long way in 3 ½ months, but we’ve got plenty of work to do here, starting in June and then into fall camp.”
Texas had four seasons with four bowl wins under Herman and is still the last national champion from the Big 12 (the 2005 season). But Oklahoma has won the previous six Big 12 titles. Iowa State went to its first league championship game last year after winning 23-20 in the Longhorns’.
Miles had three years left on his contract when Kansas announced his departure in March, only days after he was placed on administrative leave, where he won a national title in 2007.
Interim head coach Emmett Jones has led the Jayhawks this spring, with theirset for Saturday.
, averaging only 310 yards and 23 points per game after no spring workouts because of the pandemic.
Offensive coordinator Larry Fedora was replaced by Texas native Jeff Grimes, the BYU offensive coordinator for the past three years, and there are also new receivers and offensive line coaches. Grimes was previously at LSU, overlapping in 2016-17 with the first two of Aranda’s four seasons as defensive coordinator there that were capped by the 2019 national title.
“To be the consistent, reliable offense we want comes with running the football and setting the stage for the play-action passes,” Aranda said after the spring game. “We can see that. I think the details we can hone in on better.”
No player frustrated Texas fans last season more than tailback Bijan Robinson, not because of anything he did but because of Herman’s odd refusal to give him the ball more often. The five-star recruit lived up to that billing by smashing the Texas record for yards-per-carry at a whopping 8.2. He gained 355 yards and averaged 18.7 per carry in his last two games. But Robinson’s 86 carries over nine games was nearly 30 fewer than departed quarterback Sam Ehlinger, as Herman insisted on platooning tailbacks.
QBs COACHING QBs
Four former Big 12 quarterbacks are coaching QBs at their, and three are moving into that role this spring.
Collin Klein, the 2012finalist at Kansas State, is going into his fifth season as the Wildcat’s quarterback coach. The spring additions are Sonny Cumbie at Texas Tech, Kenny Hill at TCU, and Shawn Bell at Baylor.
Cumbie returned to Texas Tech as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach after seven seasons in the same role at TCU. The former walk-on threw for 4,742 yards and 32 touchdowns as a senior for the Red Raiders in 2004.
Hill, an offensive analyst at TCU last season, replaced the position coach when starting for the Horned Frogs in 2016 and 2017.
Bell is in his fifth year on Baylor’s staff. He started as an offensive analyst, then coached the offensive line andbefore taking over the position he played for the Bears from 2003-06.
quarterback Jarret Doege’s stock fell at the end of last season when he struggled in a blowout loss at Iowa State and was benched in the second half of a Liberty Bowl win over the Army.
Doege was second in the Big 12 with 259 passing yards per game but was sixth with only 14 TD passes. During the spring, he worked on his efficiency in the pocket. He seemed to have the starting job for his senior season after backup Austin Kendallin January.
AP Sports Writers Jim Vertuno and John Raby contributed to this report.
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