Main menu


The Whole Family: The Intertwined History of Texas and Alabama

featured image

To Laken Littmann
FOX Sports College Football Writer

Austin, TX — Unfortunately, Keondre Cobain, texasAlabama The game is here.

The senior defensive lineman tasked with trying to annoy incumbent Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young remembers when the game was first announced during his freshman year in 2018. he joked.

“I thought, ‘Oh, do I have a chance to play with Bama? Hopefully I’ll be gone for that,'” Cobain said on Monday. I am excited about it.”

Despite the elite name branding of both programs, Saturday’s matchup (on FOX at noon and ET on the FOX Sports app) is advertised as David vs. Goliath. The Longhorns are very underdogs at home with the Crimson Tide being the 20-point favorite. But the atmosphere in Austin right now is optimistic and confident.

“Honestly, I love it,” Cobain said of his view that Texas is underrated. We have an opportunity to show you what we’ve been doing, show how hard we’ve been working every day.We always come and work every morning and do what we have to do.”

This is the 10th time Texas and Alabama have ever met, but with so much shared history, it feels more like a family matter.

This is also an important measuring-rule game for Texas, and a chance to prove to its future SEC meeting foes that it is on the right track after much suffering over the past 12 years.

Here are some of the most interesting stories ahead of Saturday’s contest between the two teams with their complicated histories.

Steve Sarkisian vs. Former Boss and Mentor Nick Saban

This is probably everyone’s favorite story. Last year was the first time Saban lost to a former assistant when Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M Aggies ripped the bandages off during the regular season. Then at the national championship, Kirby Smart pulled it off too when Georgia beat Alabama to win the title. Will Steve Sarkisian be next?

Saban gave Sarkisian a second chance after being fired at USC in 2015 and hired him as an offensive analyst prior to the 2016 season. Lane Kiffin was the offensive coordinator at the time, but after the College Football Playoff Semifinals, he let go of the program, giving Sarkisian the chance to call a play in a national championship game.

Sarkisian was named Kiffin’s successor, but soon took the same job with the Atlanta Falcons. Two years later, Sarkisian returned to Alabama, where he coached Mack Jones and Devonta Smith.

Sarkisians believe Saban helped them on their way to Texas

Joining RJ Young, Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian discusses his relationship with Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

Sarkisian says he wouldn’t be in Texas without Saban, and earlier this week he spoke about how valuable the Alabama experience was to him.

“I think it’s discipline,” Sarkisian said while answering a question about the most important thing he learned from the Bama coach. “And I’m not saying discipline the players. I’m saying self-discipline. He’s a very controlled guy. He knows his routine and he’s in it. Keep discipline.

“And his expectation is that his staff and players will have the same disciplined approach off the field. And it starts with him. He lives his preaching.”

Sarkisian said he could talk for hours about everything he had gathered from Saban. He can also tell stories about what it’s like to be yelled at by him.

“Lane was doing pretty well,” said Sarkisian. “It’s okay to say, he’s my friend. We have a couple. [times] I definitely remember. I was in the press box looking down and there was a lot going on. i got it too. I think it shaped us.

“Part of the reason is that if he’s yelling at you, you’re probably not up to the expectations and standards he had of you. And if you’re a guy like me, , that’s what drives you.This guy has very high standards, very high standards.And when you can meet his expectations, you’re doing something right.And when you don’t. looked in the mirror and said, “OK, what should I do? Will I do better next time so I don’t end up in that situation again?”

“I loved my time with him because his teaching style, his way of looking at things and his way of thinking were exactly the same as mine.”

2009 National Championship rematch

The last time these programs met was at the 2009 national championship game. Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy was injured on Texas’ first drive and Alabama won his 37–21 victory. This was Saban’s first title with the Tide.

Since then, the program has gone in a very different direction. Alabama has become a powerhouse, winning the national championship six times, but Texas has lost in his five seasons, making him his fourth head coach.

Most of the players from both teams were too young to remember the details of that match. Even Sarkisian said he didn’t remember paying much attention.

Alabama coach Nick Saban celebrates after defeating Texas in a BCS National Championship match at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010.

In the big picture, what does it mean for the Longhorns program to beat Alabama, or at least do everything they can to beat Alabama? I don’t bet a lot on one game.

“I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is like, ‘This is going to be the game that defines our program,'” says Sarkisian. “Maybe, maybe not. I’m less concerned about that. I’m more concerned about how we play the game. 3 [playing in the Big 12 championship]This game does not affect it.

“They are great opponents and I want to play them really well. I want to make sure they play our style of football, our brand of football. They must be, because we’re not influencing them to go to the SEC Championship game.”

But will Texas’ victory shock the world?

Linebacker DeMarbion Overshawn said, “Maybe it will, but it won’t shock anyone in the locker room. “We work as hard as everyone else in this country.”

Saban can see what he could have had

There is always the question, “What if?” As for Texas and Sabang.

The Longhorns were ready to offer Saban a contract to replace Mack Brown after the 2012 season. At the time, there were reports that Saban’s wife, Terry, had been seen on Austin’s house hunt, but Saban reportedly turned down the job because he didn’t have to answer a booster. Brown, who resigned after the 2013 season, was also reportedly unhappy with his hiring.

Since then, Texas has cycled through coaches, from Charlie Strong to Tom Herman and now Sarkisian.

Clearly, Saban will stay with Alabama and recently signed a contract extension through the 2029 season, paying out more than $90 million over the next eight years.

“This is our home,” Saban said in a statement. “And I’m looking forward to finishing my career with Alabama.”

Sark hires Bryce Young

Sarkisian has a special relationship with Young and his family.

“I’ve known Bryce literally since sixth grade,” Sarkisian said. and can naturally figure out route combinations based on coverage, and then he’s free to go in. Besides, he’s very elusive…a former point guard in basketball. And he has a great ability to maneuver in his pocket, look downfield, and throw away from the platform.

“There are so many things we talk about [Texas quarterback] Quinn [Ewers], Bryce had many of those same characteristics. ”

reality to face Will Anderson Jr.

Of course, Saban isn’t the only Sarkisian close friend in Bama. Defensive his coordinator Pete Golding is one of his best friends and they plot against each other.

“It’s like going to the backyard and playing HORSE or one-on-one or shooting pool,” Sarkisian said. “Pete is a great competitor.”

Linebacker Anderson and Alabama’s front seven pose a major problem for Texas’ inexperienced offensive line and quarterback. The Longhorns have seven freshman offensive linemen in his squad, and it will be his second college start for the redshirt freshman quarterback Ewers.

“One, especially the inland area, is big and there are a lot of players who can play,” Sarkisian said. “A lot of times the run game works so well under the hood that it pushes you to the border.”

On the edge, Anderson and linebackers Dallas Turner and Chris Braswell have the skills to win one-on-one. Backwards, Sarkisian said “they’re playing very tenacious” and “would disrupt the timing of route combinations that allow pass rushes to affect quarterbacks”.

Ultimately, Sarkisian says the Longhorns will need to plan wisely and be creative to succeed against Alabama’s defense.

Read more about Texas Alabama:

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She has previously contributed to Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of “Strong Like a Woman,” which will be published in Spring 2022 to mark her 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on her Twitter @.laken littmann.

learn more from college football Follow your favorites for games, news and more.