Skip to main content

Steve Sarkisian takes issue with player's public criticism of locker room culture

"A really good player-led team, those issues get taken care of in the locker room," Sark said Tuesday. "If you're really a family, you don't go out and talk about family business."

In case it had somehow slipped by you, things have not been good with Texas football for quite some time. While the program did reach the Big 12 championship and win the Sugar Bowl in 2018, UT's ongoing 12-season conference title drought is the longest in program history. The 2021 season, Steve Sarkisian's first, saw, the program's first 6-game losing streak since the pre-Darrell Royal days and its first home loss to Kansas.

This generated a near-constant discussion of who's at fault here. One camp blames the boosters for constantly undercutting the coaches' and players' best-laid plans. Another blames the coaches, arguing Charlie Strong, Tom Herman and/or Steve Sarkisian simply aren't good enough, and another contends the players simply haven't been good enough. 

From my personal observations, most outsiders tend to blame the boosters, while most fans lay the blame at the coaches' and players' feet. See: Kirk Herbstreit's "cesspool" rant on GameDay -- in College Station, no less -- in 2016, and the reaction to Bo Davis's leaked rant last season.

Either way, all debates boil down to "culture" and why that culture isn't humming the way it did in the first decade of this century.

Here was senior defensive lineman Moro Ojomo's take last week.

“It needs to be players led, coaches fed. Coaches come and go," Ojomo continued. "Players have to make a stand and basically say enough is enough. Like, 7-6 BS Texas isn't happening no more.”

On Tuesday, Sarkisian was asked about Ojomo's comments... and he wasn't happy about them.

Sarkisian's issue wasn't with Ojomo's conclusions, it was the manner in which he announced those conclusions. 

"I thought the forum was really poor. He should not have done that in public," Sarkisian said. "A really good player-led team, those issues get taken care of in the locker room. If you're really a family, you don't go out and talk about family business." 

As for the Davis episode last year, here's what Sark had to say at the time:

“I think one thing that jumped out to me when I first saw the video was, one, you could hear the passion in Bo’s voice. We really believe in the staff that we hired and what we came here to do. I think you could feel the passion and the want to get it done. I think that Bo exemplifies that."

Davis's comments were recorded in private, as Texas bussed to the airport following a 30-7 loss to Iowa State, loss No. 4 in the eventual 6-game streak.

At the end of the day, what did we accomplish here? Sarkisian said Ojomo won't speak to the media any time soon, and now we're all talking about week-old quotes that would've faded away had Sarkisian not answered the way he did. But it seems Ojomo and Sark are in agreement that there have been too many Texas football players focused on things other than winning, though they disagree in the manner in which that opinion should be shared. 

No program is 100 percent compliant all the time in regards to cultural issues, but it says everything about where Texas is right now that the conversation has moved from "What is the source of our cultural problem?" to "What's the proper way to address our mutually agreed upon cultural problem?"