What the Bo Davis tirade says about the current state of Texas football?

“We have to change our mentality, we hate to lose more than we want to win, and that’s something we have to change in our dressing room.”

On Monday after the Texas Longhorns suffered a painful 40-21 loss in Fayetteville to the Arkansas Razorbacks, head coach Steve Sarkisian shared his thoughts on how to change the team’s mindset.

In the midst of a four-game run, the worst program since 2010, a video surfaced Tuesday of a profane rant by coach Bo Davis, recorded by a player after Saturday’s 30-7 loss against Iowa State (NSFW – warning for extreme language use). ):

Notably, the tirade was apparently accelerated by players laughing and joking after the loss – hardly the change of mindset Sarkisian demands of his players, coming into practice just days after an incident between Sarkisian and later-departed junior wide receiver Joshua Moore .

A couple of important things about the culture around Texas football that seems more fractured than it seemed after the loss of Baylor or even when Tom Herman was fired early this year.

The team struggles with hard coaching

Sarkisian is widely known as a player’s coach for his personal character and supportive approach on the sidelines during games—never more apparent than after Xavier Worthy’s costly fumble against Oklahoma—but the altercation with Moore forced the Texas head coach to go against faith. that he doesn’t demand much from his players.

“He is coached and that is what we do. I think sometimes people have the misconception that because I’m a ‘player coach’, we don’t coach hard. We have a very demanding staff, we coach hard, we believe in discipline, we believe in doing things the right way, and when things don’t go that way, we coach our guys,” Sarkisian said.

Where Davis may have crossed the line was in humiliating players, but he would probably argue that he was trying to be demanding by holding players accountable to the standard of hating losses.

“We have to create our own breaks and the only way I know how to do that is by being demanding about what is expected,” Sarkisian said. “Not humiliating, not humiliating players, but being demanding of what is expected of them so that we can ultimately progress and achieve the results we are looking for.”

The need for Sarkisian to speak publicly about players not misinterpreting constructive criticism as a personal attack points to some difficulty for the players to tell the difference.

The team lacks player leadership

While some in the media chose to focus on the language Davis uses in the video, former players became more aware of the lack of police supervision by other players.

After the departures of leaders such as quarterback Sam Ehlinger, hybrid defensive end Joseph Ossai, safety Caden Sterns and safety Chris Brown, this team clearly lacks a strong leadership presence on the team.

The Davis diatribe makes that clear, but Sarkisian barely flinched and suggested the same on Monday when asked if he has a “sergeant at arms” on the team, the only player he named was junior Roschon Johnson, a backup with only 44 is wearing this season.

Earlier in the press conference, he emphasized the importance of player leadership.

“I think when teams really get to that point where they’re really good teams, and they’re not just in their game, but in their culture, players start holding players accountable for what’s acceptable and what’s not. coaches hold the players accountable I think the players recognize who’s doing things the right way and who might be trying to cut corners – that’s when they step in and start holding each other accountable, then we’ve got something special. ”

If a coach like Davis, who has won a league title, has to rage like he did on Saturday, there isn’t enough player leadership.

The team doesn’t see itself as enough family

The video went public because someone, presumably a player, recorded it and then posted it on social media or otherwise shared it, and it’s the type of video that, even if it was recorded at all, should never be made public.

When Tom Herman was first hired, he asked parents not to leak information to the media for similar reasons.

“Our business is our business. If your son tells you something, it is expected to stay within the family, because that is a family business,” says Herman.

More exhaustion is coming

Including Moore, three Texas players entered the NCAA transfer portal in the past month and more are likely to follow — Davis was explicit in his rant that all players not bought into the program can also enter the transfer portal.

So this staff doesn’t seem to be in a position to be willing to talk down players who want to leave, as reportedly happened with Moore last Wednesday before he decided to leave anyway, and as former head coach Tom Herman did with several players who went. entered the NCAA transfer portal and then decided to return to the program, which included two starters this season, defenseman Denzel Okafor and Nicky Cook.

With the clear need for systemic culture change in the locker room and an imminent increase in the scholarship limit from 25 men to 32 to balance the one-time transfer waiver, there is both a clear need for that approach and the opportunity to of the stock market that would otherwise make high turnover impossible under the current rules.

Leave a Comment