The Morning Call (Sunday)

Herman out, Sarkisian in at Texas

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Texas fired Tom Herman because it was tired of waiting for him to deliver a Big 12 title and turn the Longhorns back into national championsh­ip contenders.

Next up: Steve Sarkisian, the architect of the Alabama Crimson Tide’s offense and its tsunami of points this season.

Texas fired Herman on Saturday after four seasons, then hours later announced it was giving the job to the Alabama offensive coordinato­r.

It’s a quick move Texas expects will deliver quick results. The Longhorns are not known to be a patience bunch.

Sarkisian leads a Crimson Tide offense that has pummeled opponents and produced two Heisman Trophy finalists in quarterbac­k MacJones and receiver DeVonta Smith heading into the Jan. 11 College Football Playoff championsh­ip game against Ohio State. He recently won the Broyles Award given to college football’s top assistant coach.

He’s also been around. At 46, Sarkisian has previous head coaching stints at Washington and Southern California. He’s been Alabama’s offensive coordinato­r under Nick Saban since 2019, and has experience as an NFL assistant.

Sarkisian is expected to remain with Alabama for the championsh­ip game.

“This is a unique and compelling opportunit­y to lead this storied program to the next level, competing once again amongst the best in college football,” Sarkisian said in a statement released by Texas.

Texas wants him to not just win — Herman did that with a 32-18 record — but to knock rival Oklahoma off the top of the Big 12 while also making sure recruiting in their home state doesn’t get swamped by Texas A&M’s rise in the Southh eastern Conference.

He will be Texas’ fourth head coach since the program’s last Big 12 championsh­ip in 2009.

Ole Miss gives Kiffin new contract: Mississipp­i says it has reached agreement in principle with coach Lane Kiffin on a new contract.

The school made the announceme­nt Saturday, hours before the Rebels (4-5) — in their first season with Kiffinas coach — faced Indiana in the Outback Bowl. It is their first bowl appearance in five seasons.

“This is an investment in the future of Ole Miss Football,” Vice Chancellor for Intercolle­giate Athletics Keith Carter said in a statement. “We hired Coach Kiffin with the hope of revitalizi­ng our football program, and in just one short year, he has done just that.

“His innovative offensive approach has shattered SEC records, and with a top-20 recruiting class coming in, the future is bright under Coach Kiffin’s leadership. We are committed to him and providing the resources necessary to elevate this program to greater heights.”

The school says contract details have not been completed.

Kentucky’s Horsey among 3 Comeback Player of Year winners: Kentucky offensive lineman Kenneth Horsey is one of three winners announced Saturday of the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award, along with Colorado running back Jarek Broussard and Coastal Carolina linebacker Silas Kelly.

Horsey overcame a heart condition that required surgery and threatened his career to become a starter on Kentucky’s offensive line.

The winners were chosen by the College Sports Informatio­n Directors of America (CoSIDA), a panel of Associated Press football writers and the Fiesta Bowl Organizati­on.

“I could imagine this because football was one of the things that kept me motivated,” Horsey, a third-year sophomore, told AP.

Last year, Georgia Southern offensive lineman Drew Wilson was the Bowl Subdivisio­n winner of the Come back Player of the Year award and Horse y’ s team mate linebacker Josh Paschal received honorable mention. The first winner was Kent State receiver Antwan Dixon in 2018.

Broussard, a redshirt freshman, sustained a season-ending knee injury before the 2019 season, but claimed a starting job this fall and ran for 895 yards and five touchdowns.

“He’s come a long way, from where we weren’t sure if he was going to be healthy enough to play to becoming the conference’s player of the year, a firstteam All-Pac-12 performer and no wone of the three comeback players of the year,” Colorado coach Karl Dorrell said. “A truly great story of perseveran­ce.”

Kelly, a senior, returned this season from two knee surgeries and a broken hand to lead No. 9 Coastal Carolina in tackles during an 11-1 season.

“I’ve put in countless hours of work to be the teammate, player, and person that my teammates needed meto be in order to help myteam in the best way that I could,” Kelly said.

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