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Sarkisian builds Texas Longhorns staff with Alabama flavor

By JIM VERTUNO

AP Sports Writer

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) New Texas coach Steve Sarkisian is building a staff that has a whole lot of Alabama flavor.

The former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator formally announced most of his new Texas staff on Friday, with three assistants coming with him from Alabama after winning the national championship two weeks ago.

Special teams and tights ends coach Jeff Banks, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Kyle Flood, and quarterbacks coach AJ Milwee all were with Sarkisian at Alabama last season.

"They know my personality," Sarkisian said. "They know the things that excite me, they know the things that can maybe make me upset ... From a scheme standpoint, from a style of play standpoint, the learning curve is shorter."

That also meant bringing them from college football's dominant program to one trying to establish re-establish itself among the elite. Texas fired Tom Herman after four winning seasons but no Big 12 championships. Texas hasn't won the Big 12 since 2009 and has played in the league championship game just twice since then.

"To come to the University of Texas at this time, at the forefront of something like this, was very enticing to some of these guys to come and want to be a part of," Sarkisian said. "I'm sure coach Saban is going to be OK. He always hires great coaches."

Sarkisian said he will be the primary play caller for the offense. The defensive coordinator will be Pete Kwiatkowski, who had the same role at Washington last season.

Several of the new assistants already have deep recruiting ties in Texas, and some have previous connections to the Longhorns program.

Sarkisian kept two members from Herman's staff, running backs coach Stan Drayton and wide receivers coach Andre Coleman. Safeties coach Blake Gideon was a Longhorns safety from 2008-2011.

"We really did a great job of putting the jigsaw puzzle together," Sarkisian said.

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Updated January 22, 2021

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