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At Texas, big names, Texas ties dot Sark's potential staff additions

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As previously noted, staff assembly was a key factor in Texas' hiring as head coach of Steve Sarkisian away from Alabama.

There's been no shortage of big-name candidates associated with spots on Sarkisian's initial Longhorns staff.

While it appears that Will Muschamp, the former Texas defensive coordinator and most recently the head coach at South Carolina, has decided to take a step back from the process right now, other high-profile coaches have emerged on the defensive side of the ball to be on staff in Austin, Texas.

Chief amongst them is former Missouri head coach and current Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom, whom sources confirmed to FootballScoop on Monday is in the mix to run the defense for Sarkisian.

Odom's reputation as a defensive mastermind is among the nation's best, and he turned in strong work first as Missouri's defensive coordinator and then the Tigers' head coach. At his alma mater, Odom serviced as architect of multiple top-15 national defenses, including Missouri's only top-10 defense since the late-1970s. Additionally, this season at Arkansas Odom helped the Hogs' stop-unit shave nearly three points per game off its scoring average, improving it 25 spots in the national rankings. The Hogs leaped from 116th to 65th in yards per play, shaving nearly a yard per snap off their average.

Odom also has recruited in Texas during stops at Arkansas, Memphis and Missouri.

Tosh Lupoi's been in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns in recent years, but Lupoi has deep ties to Sarkisian. Lupoi was on Sarkisian's Washington staff as defensive line coach in Sarkisian's final two years atop the Huskies program.

Houston co-defensive coordinator Doug Belk, who worked at Alabama with both Lupoi and Sarkisian, also is said to be in the mix to potentially join Sarkisian's defensive staff, per sources with direct knowledge.

Sources also tell FootballScoop that Sark has engaged Blake Gideon in discussions to join the staff. Gideon recently completed his first season as the special teams coordinator at Ole Miss, and was selected by his peers as the 2019 FootballScoop Special Teams Coordinator of the Year in 2019 for his work at Houston. He coached the Cougars to a national-best six blocked kicks while also coaching the club's nickel backs.

Gideon has no direct ties to Sarkisian, but is a Texas Ex who started at safety for the Longhorns from 2008-11. He is the son of longtime Texas high school coach Steve Gideon.

Other candidates could emerge through the process, and obviously the defensive coordinator will be determinative in which position coaches do and don't ultimately wind up on the staff.

In the meantime, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.

Yesterday we shared this planned addition on the offensive side as well.