We’ll start this week’s roundtable with the news of Chris Beard’s termination. With Rodney Terry taking over as interim head coach, would you like to see him take over full time after the season? Or someone else such as Royal Ivey, John Calipari, Nate Oats, etc…
Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - Nothing against Coach Terry, but given the recent investment into the program with the new arena I think it is going to be imperative that a hire that energizes the fan bases happens and encourages fans to turn out in a major. I’m not sure which of the guys mentioned above does this, but there will need to be some kind of name recognition that comes with this hire. Fortunately for CDC, he has a good bit of time to figure things out and put together a comprehensive coaching search.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - I want to live in a world in which Rodney Terry earns the job because that is a world in which Texas made it to the Sweet 16 or better. If that dream doesn’t turn into reality, I think Texas has to go big game hunting. It needs to be someone that can generate excitement from both fans and recruits to move this thing in the right direction. Frankly, Del Conte seemingly has a coach for every sport in his back pocket that we wouldn’t expect (see Mike White and/or Vic Schaefer), so I am just going to sit back and wait for it to happen.
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - It depends on a) how many games he wins in March and b) what happens to this recruiting class. CDC has gone after the big whales in coaching hires and I fully expect him to do the same. One or two wins in the NCAA tournament is’t enough. CDC hired Chris Beard because he was proven in the postseason. I’m a big fan of Nate Oats and Eric Musselman because of their pedigree in the postseason but Rodney Terry at least gets a chance to prove himself.
Cody Daniel (@CodyDanielSBN) - I’m in wait and see mode. Texas absolutely needs to go see who’s interested and do their due diligence and interview the best options they can find, but Terry is spearheading this program for the rest of the season. He has a 2/3rd of the season-long job interview, and if he guides Texas to a Sweet 16 or an Elite 8, it would be a little difficult to see Texas parting ways with him.
The Horns have lost a little momentum but still are 7-1 since Terry took over as acting head coach, pulling off a major comeback win over TCU earlier this week. Is the goal for this team still a deep run into March or does that change with Beard gone?
Daniel - It’s still the goal for sure given that the talent on the roster is still intact, but the optimism of that happening has probably dropped a good bit. There is still plenty of season left for the team to move past the firing of Beard mentally and continue to push forward towards their goal in March, but they will have to rally behind a new voice in their huddles.
Gerald - I doubt that any player in that locker room would say anything other than championship or bust, but I don’t know if that’s a fair expectation to set on the team. This is absolutely a team with the talent to make a deep run and making it through the Big 12 gauntlet is great preparation for the tournament, but I just don’t know what to expect from them yet.
Cameron - Yes. The rest of the season is a job interview for Rodney Terry. Make a deep run and I think CDC brings him back. Early exit and the coaching search begins. I believe the floor of the team is a lot lower without Beard BUT the ceiling is still there. The Kansas State was, well, concerning but the team is playing solid basketball again. Let’s see how they handle Kansas and Iowa State.
Cody - I think it depends on what you’re the definition of a deep run is. It’s clear Beard’s absence is a factor, and I think it’s fair to adjust your expectations a bit. But this is still a pretty talented veteran group, so I’d say a Sweet 16 is still a pretty reasonable expectation or goal.
The winter transfer portal closes this week with the Horns adding punter Ryan Sanborn (Stanford), cornerback Gavin Holmes (Wake Forest), and safety Jalen Catalon (Arkansas). Did Sark fill all the needs heading into spring ball?
Daniel - They addressed some needs, but still have a pressing need at wide receiver. The staff has been very diligent with their approach at that position and they absolutely need to add another body there even if Xavier Worthy appears to be content for now and Jordan Whittington returning for one last rodeo.
Gerald - I would say Texas is probably ok if they don’t add anything else from the portal, but I wouldn’t hate to see them shore up with another proven WR and an edge. Based on how limited they have been with portal offers going out, I think they are fine if no true game-changers emerge but definitely could use an upgrade.
Cameron - The big holes? Yes. There are still a few positions that would be nice to add another piece including RB or WR but the spring portal will throw a few more names into the pot. I think Sark and the staff added the three guys they thought could start from day one and await what happens in the next window. I’m curious to see if the Horns lose any more names as well.
Cody - I wouldn’t say all. Texas could certainly benefit from adding a proven receiver to the room, and adding a quality edge to the roster would be ideal, especially with starter Ovie Oghoufo transferring to LSU.
While Sark was able to add a few key defensive pieces, he also managed to hold onto a few key players on offense in Xavier Worthy, Jordan Whittington, and Christian Jones. Worthy and J-Whitt are obviously key returners to an inexperienced WR room but Jones comes back to an offensive line that appeared to be fine with his departure. How will his return impact the development of Cam Williams and the rest of the OL?
Daniel - If anything it allows a guy like Williams to incubate for a little bit longer before trying to force him into the lineup. One thing to keep in mind is that Texas will now return all five offensive line starters from 2022 and it has been a while since Texas has been able to roll into the fall with that amount of experience up front. On top of that, Williams will only be a redshirt freshman come the fall and he is just about to go through his first spring practice period. He stands to greatly benefit from development time before being asked to take on starter snaps and you can still get him involved as a blocking tight end as the staff did with Andrej Karic this past season. Kyle Flood has strengthened his position group in a short amount of time by accruing both talent and depth to the point his entire incoming recruiting class can comfortably redshirt. It has been a long time since Texas has been able to do that and it illustrates that the roster is much healthier.
Gerald - There are only two reasons to play young offensive linemen, either you find a unicorn like Kelvin Banks or you have no other options. Giving your kids in the trenches a longer development cycle can only benefit them and the program, so Jones returning to Texas is nothing but a positive in my book. Let Neto and Cam develop and grow more into their big boy bodies can only pay dividends.
Cameron - The smart guys around me explained it pretty well. It’s not great when a true freshman has to play from the beginning. Sure, it helps his development to be on the field but you know what else helps that? Not being thrust into the starting lineup at a young age and when you’re not ready for D1... Jones was a rock at RT and with Junior Angilau gone, he’s the senior leader.
Cody - I know many, myself included, are excited about the upside of someone like Cam Williams, but the kind of continuity and experience Texas will have along the OL next year is something this program hasn’t enjoyed in quite some time. You’d assume Jones will only improve, and Williams will be afforded another season to completely develop his body.
With Brennan Marion becoming the UNLV offensive coordinator, who would you like Sark to target to fill the vacancy?
Daniel - Ideally with someone that blends the ability to coach with the ability to recruit the position well. One name I personally liked was Texas Tech wide receivers coach Emmett Jones, but it was reported today that Oklahoma will be hiring him for the same position in Norman. Thankfully for Texas, there will be no shortage of options given the talent the incoming coach will have to work with moving forward. Sark should have plenty of resumes to shuffle through before he has to make a decision.
Gerald - Are we talking about our hopes and dreams or realistic options? Because if we’re talking fantasies, Brian “Steals All of the Austin Receivers” Hartline is at the top of my list, but he only lived outside of Ohio because the Browns didn’t draft him. He’s literally only had one job outside of Ohio and it was because the Miami Dolphins drafted him. I don’t think TCU is going to part with Malcolm Kelly, so as an effort to get revenge on the Huskies I want Sark to target JaMarcus Shepherd.
Cameron - 2024 is a big recruiting class for wideouts and it’s convenient that the #1 prospect at WR is from Duncanville. What’s even more convenient is that Ra’Shaad Samples is the son of the Duncanville head coach - Reginald Samples. Now, I’m not saying just hire him because he knows one guy but because he knows the state of Texas well and has done a great job at his two stops in Fort Worth and Tempe. Holmon Wiggins is a popular name and I don’t mind adding someone who Nick Saban trusts.
Cody - Emmett Jones would have been my first call, but obviously, he’s headed to Norman. Ra’Shaad Samples and Holmon Wiggins have been a couple of the other names floated around, and both make sense. But as Daniel said, ideally, it will be someone who can recruit at a level similar to Marion and develop notably.