BON Roundtable: Did Sarkisian overreact?
Nothing screams “it’s the offseason” more than the Moro Ojomo story that popped up over the week. Is Steve Sarkisian overreacting by pulling Ojomo’s availability with the media? Or is it everyone else who’s doing the overreacting?
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) – I have no issue with Ojomo calling out his teammates but I understand that Sark would prefer to keep that kind of talk in the locker room. I understand Ojomo is trying to get his teammates to step up and become a leader on the defense. Maybe Sark feels like he hasn’t earned that right yet or he simply doesn’t like that kind of talk to the media. Does he deserve to lose his media availability over it? I think that’s a little over the top but again Texas patrols what is said very closely so it’s not surprising. Should this even be a storyline? No, but you can thank Twitter for that.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) – I’m curious which comments got the reaction out of Sark, whether it was the ones about his teammates or the ones about Pete Kwiatkowski stepping into the DC role. For my money, the latter is the bigger no-no. Honestly, the craziest thing about the whole reaction is that as long as I’ve been covering Texas sports, they’ve always picked guys that can stay on script to speak to the media and had a quick hook when guys went too rogue. Anyone who’s covered Texas for any amount of time knew as soon as Ojomo’s comments came out that we wouldn’t be hearing from him for a while, so really Sark just created an unnecessary controversy by saying the quiet part out loud. From my perspective, my biggest issue is that the media policy – and in this case pulling Ojomo – impacts his ability to get exposure and therefore NIL opportunities.
Westcott Eberts (@SBN_Wescott) – The initial reaction from a lot of national media was that Sarkisian was overreacting and it’s definitely easy to chalk it up to a coach being stereotypically controlling, but after sitting with it a few days and considering the entirety of Ojomo’s comments, my conclusion on Tuesday was that neither one is wrong. Where I ultimately landed on it is agreeing with Sarkisian on keeping these comments personal and man-to-man in the locker room and that, most importantly, Ojomo just hasn’t done enough on the field to be the person who can legitimately deliver those criticism in public, because he went pretty hard after some teammates. If Roschon Johnson was saying those things, at least he’s earned the right, but I also think that Johnson understands the need to keep any opinions like that in the family.
ESPN’s FPI has given Texas a 20% chance of reaching the College Football Playoff and has them ranked No. 6 in the country. Is ESPN’s FPI tripping or do you think both are fair assessments?
Cameron- Don’t drink the kool-aid folks. I understand why there’s more optimism in Year 2 but don’t have the expectation of this team reaching the College Football Playoff. You’re just setting yourself up for disappointment. With the turnover at Oklahoma, the Big 12 might be open like it was last year but I wouldn’t put Texas as the leader of the pack. Maybe it’s the PTSD from the past 12 years, but my only expectation is to win more games than last year.
Gerald- I get why the FPI has the predictions it does. Texas returns a 1,000-yard rusher and what is essentially a 1,000-yard receiver, in addition to adding Isaiah Neyor who had nearly 900 yards at Wyoming. There’s a ton of returning production for Texas and the rest of the Big 12 has lost quite a bit, so Texas is probably overvalued and the rest of the Big 12 is undervalued. They’re likely predicting Texas to win the conference with one loss on the year, Alabama in Week 2. So if you’re projecting Texas to the CFP as a one-loss conference champion – especially if that loss is to Alabama – the math check out. But as someone who has watched the last 13 years of Texas football, pump the brakes. There’s a lot of potential, especially if the offensive line can continue on the trajectory it was at the end of 2021 and the 5* freshmen can come in and contribute, but those are big ifs.
Westcott- More precisely, FPI is tripping. I’m not really sure how to analyze why FPI is spitting out numbers like that, but it definitely isn’t in line with any type of observable reality with this team. So this isn’t exactly on the level of clickbait, but it is definitely a silly offseason thing that doesn’t deserve to take up a lot of airspace.
Scottie Scheffler won his first major at The Masters, joining Jordan Spieth and Ben Crenshaw as former Longhorns to reach Butler Cabin. Is Scheffler the next golf superstar?
Cameron- And it is. The Tiger Woods hysteria allowed Scottie to come into the week under the radar and he excelled with the pressure not on him. He was already the world’s best golfer into the week, winning three tournaments in five starts and climbing to No. 1 in the OWGR. I have solidified that ranking by winning the Masters. No one will ever dominate the sport like Tiger did in the early 2000s but this is as close as we’re gonna get. Next up is the PGA Championship which is Scottie’s favorite course. We might see shades of 2015 Spieth with Scottie winning the first two majors of the season.
Gerald- Absolutely. Scheffler was dominant in the most-watched Masters in three years, not coincidentally the year Tiger Woods won his fifth. Putting up that performance on what is arguably the biggest stage in golf can, and should, do wonders for his profile of him. While I am prepared to live in a world where he doesn’t lose another golf tournament, I’m sure that won’t happen. But even without that, in the last nine weeks, he’s doubled his career earnings, won four of the six events he played in, and took the No. 1 spot in the world. He’s set up for a win.
Westcott- It sure seems like Scheffler is on the verge, but it was the same way with Spieth and we have all seen how that turned out. A couple of things that really stood out to me – Scheffler is unorthodox with his swing, but he has confidence in it and it works, and he was completely unflappable on the biggest stage in golf playing a game that demands an extraordinarily high level of mental toughness. Even if Scheffler can’t maintain his current streak – and he won’t be able to, he’s just been playing too well for this to be sustainable – no one will ever be able to take away the magic at Augusta last weekend and that’s an accomplishment for an entire lifetime.
True or False? Texas baseball will be just fine this season and we overreacted after the Longhorns series loss to Texas Tech?
Cameron- If just fine means a trip back to the College World Series, I say false. With the bullpen trouble, I don’t think this team can make it past the super regionals. If just fine means they’ll be able to compete in the postseason, then I would say true. A long road trip to South Carolina plus an opening series on the road against Texas Tech was a brutal stretch of scheduling. I believe Texas can finish strong but if it’s any less than hosting a regional, I’d be disappointed.
Gerald- Can I push? Because I think I need to know the definition of “just fine.” Will they make the postseason, yes? But based on the way the pitching staff continues to struggle, it looks like a team that was once “Omaha or Bust” could just as likely see its year end in a regional or super. So it was the season over after Texas Tech did what they do at home, obviously not, but it is starting to feel like Texas is going to fall well short of what we all hoped to see from that team.
Westcott- I’ll go with true here although I would argue that the overreaction was more to the entire month of March, during which the Longhorns struggled in a lot of road games as fans tried to deal with losing Sunday starter Tanner Witt to injury, a truly crushing development. Texas has certainly turned things around with an offense that is producing at a high level, good starting pitching from Pete Hansen and Lucas Gordon, a steadily improving bullpen, and a defense that continues to play extremely well.
Texas softball retires Cat Osterman’s number eight on Saturday – who’s the next Longhorn that needs to have their jersey number retired (any sport)?
Cameron- Quinn Ew – oh wait I’m being told to wait until he plays a game. I don’t know if any former player currently jumps out but one comes to mind is Andrew Jones. What he’s been able to overcome is simply incredible. The No. 1 is very popular number is basketball but the boston celtics have retired have the numerical alphabet so why not?
Gerald- I don’t know if they retire volleyball jerseys, but Haley Eckerman is the easiest answer in the world. She won two consecutive national player of the year awards (2012 and 2013) and led the team in scoring for four consecutive years – including on the 2012 national championship team. I don’t know of another athlete, regardless of sport, that has the resume she does.
Westcott- The player who comes to mind who fits the school’s strict criteria – player of the year honors – is Kody Clemens, I’m just not sure that one season at an extremely high level is enough to warrant his number being retired. But since this was announced, I’ve been wondering why it’s taken so long, as this will be a ceremony that is both more than well-deserved and definitely overdue.