On Monday, Steve Sarkisian met with University of Texas media. Along with the customary excitement that accompanies a season opening press conference, Sark had very kind things to say about UT’s Week 1 opponent, Rice. He mentioned the Owls ran advanced schemes and were both smart, tough, and well-coached.
Tuesday it was Mike Bloomgren’s turn as he met with Houston media on Rice’s campus. Despite the daunting task ahead of him, the sixth-year head coach seemed generally eager to take his team to DKR on Saturday.
Bloomgren started off by stating, “We have an awesome opportunity this week, heading to play the University of Texas. It’s a great challenge for our football team. We understand how talented they are, we’ve been preparing all offseason for them. I think physically and mentally we’re a stronger football team (than last year) and that’s going to give us our best chance as we go out there.”
Sark and his “All-Star” Coaching Staff
After echoing some of Sark’s compliments for his own team, Bloomgren offered some for Texas, “Again you’re playing an unbelievably talented Texas team, with a coaching staff led by Coach Steve Sarkisian and really an All-Star cast. He’s got two former head coaches on his staff, a lot of people I’ve had a chance to play numerous times at other institutions like the defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski. He does a fabulous job of making everything difficult.”
Bloomgren’s time at his previous stop overlapped significantly with both Sark’s time at Washington and then Kwiatkowski’s time, as well as linebackers coach Jeff Choate‘s, at Washington immediately following Sark.
Bloomgren’s familiarity with Texas’ head coach extends much further back than Sark’s first job as head coach, “I think everybody knows Sark’s background. When you go back to those mid-2000’s USC teams when him and Lane (Kiffin) were as innovative as anybody in the country. What Sark did when he went to the Falcons and went to Alabama again, I mean, just an unbelievable offensive mind that’s very surgical.”
Like pretty much every head coach, at least when they’re standing at the podium, Bloomgren is quite proud of the strides his team has made this offseason. He mentioned improved depth has sparked competition at most positions and how they’re deeper on the offensive line than in years past. He even mentioned they’re about as deep as some of the lines he had at Stanford. While that doesn’t mean they’re as talented, he said he can sleep better at night.
He’s also very high on his new quarterback. The nomadic JT Daniels will make his third start in DKR with his third different team after a trip with USC in 2018 and West Virginia last season. Bloomgren praised what everybody has always praised about Daniels, his raw arm talent, but also his leadership.
Embrace the Heat
Bloomgren knows along with the difficult challenge Texas presents, there will be another one, the heat. It’s expected to reach triple digits on Saturday, though that’s a bit of a reprieve from August highs.
After mentioning in order to prepare for the heat you must practice in the heat, he stated, “Yesterday for instance we did individual in a couple drills in the Bubble and then we came out and got all of our team work under Mr. Sunshine. So we got it in, we’re getting our time under the Sun in a very smart way. We’re going to do everything we can to keep our kids cool on that sideline when they’re coming off (the field) and we’re going to play great football. Both teams are going to experience Mr. Sunshine and we understand that we’re going to be prepared for it.”