New Texas coach Steve Sarkisian inherits a precarious spot from Tom Herman, whose final year as coach of the Longhorns was backdropped by the controversy surrounding "The Eyes of Texas." A few days into his tenure, Sarkisian is finding out just how difficult it is to balance between two sides.
Speaking with reporters during his introductory press conference on Tuesday, Sarkisian insisted that staying on the field and singing "The Eyes of Texas" after every football game would continue. That's been a sensitive subject for the Horns over the past year with a number of athletes expressing their frustration with being forced to take part in something that dates back to a minstrel show in the early 1900s.
Appearing on "Tiki and Tierney" on Friday on CBS Sports Radio, Sarkisian dove further into whether he should have had conversations with the locker room about the singing the song before making that announcement.
"I'm a big relationship guy. I'm very authentic, I'm very upfront, I'm very real. We'll have a lot of candid conversations with our players," Sarkisian said. "After all those discussions are done, we'll be a unified team in whatever issue comes up, positive and/or negative, whatever those things may be. The reality of it is when you can operate like that ... you can get through anything that's in front of us."
On whether there was a chance Sarkisian would change his mind with enough opposition from his team, Sarkisian said, "No, I think we're going to try to express to them why we think it's important to sing that song. Whether it's bringing in an Earl Campbell or a Vince Young or a Ricky Williams, the greats who have sung that song as well and why they support singing that song, there's going to be a lot of dialogue ... why it is important to sing that song."
You can watch a clip from the interview below:
"The Eyes of Texas" has been a polarizing issue since the summer. Many fans and boosters want to keep the tradition as-is. Some, but not every, players on the Texas football team don't feel comfortable with that. It's a tough spot to dive right into, especially if you're coming right out of a national championship.