“These kids are coming in here and buying into the program,”-Coach Clarence McKinney
The Texas Southern Tigers has a new direction coming into the 2019-2020 football season. After going 4-18 the last two years, major changes were made during the off-season, starting with the firing of Head Coach Haywood. His replacement, Clarence McKinney, previously apart of the UofH and Arizona as a member of Kevin Sumlin’s coaching staff.
From day 1, McKinney worked to change the atmosphere around the Tiger nation, which is not going to be a quick fix or an easy change considering the lack of success that has deemed upon of the program under the Haywood regime. Nevertheless, Mckinney quickly got to work, starting with the recruiting class and adding some excitement to the team. TSU is now the “Sauce-U”. A new name given to the program by the new Head Coach. New names and new identity doesn’t mean much in this game without having the improvement and wins behind it, especially for a program and community that hasn’t seen much success in recent years. McKinney was announced on December 3, 2018 and three days later, the program inked 7 signee’s in the early signing day, headlined by DL Micheal Johnson III a hometown player who previously played for the Baylor Bears. The program later inked 4 transfers from power 5 conferences, and one Netflix’s Last Chance U QB DeAndre Johnson, who suited up for Florida State before transferring to East Mississippi Community College.
“These kids are coming in here and buying into the program,” McKinney said of his first recruiting class at TSU. “I think the players we signed – in the early signing period as well as this signing period – I think those guys are going to help us reach the goals that we’ve set.”
Texas Southern had flaws across the board during the 2018-2019 campaign and of those flaws, protection might’ve been the most prominent. The team allowed 36 sacks which totaled 251 yards lost. The team also struggled with the run game as well, failing to notch the 1,000 yard mark while only rushing for 8 tds. Both of these issues has one common denominator. Offensive line. McKinney’s signed 3 offensive linemen, to reshape the play of the big guys up front. He also brings his successful running attack history to the program.
While at Texas A&M in 2016 the Aggies produced one of the greatest rushing seasons in the last 20 years at Texas A&M. Trayveon Williams surpassed the 1,000-yard mark with 1,057 yards, while Keith Ford chipped in 669 yards as the Aggies’ rushing attack averaged 5.7 yards per carry and produced 211.8 yards per game. His background will be look upon to revamp a weak link of the team.
Tiger talk is heating up around 3rd ward, and the “Sauce-U” as McKinney likes to call them will have their work cut out to silence naysayers and prove to themselves the culture has changed and winning is top priority. The first step, improving every aspect of the team from Coach Haywood tenure while laying the groundwork for a new foundation. Secondly, take the work from spring practices and game, all the summer workouts and integrating that into the field.
Will the Tigers claw to a different heights under first year Head Coach Coach McKinney, pre-season All Amercians Wide receiver Tren’Davian Dickson(JR), Linebacker Julian Marcantel(SR), and new identity? That question will be answered when the Tigers kick off the season against Prairie View for the Labor Classic at the BBVA Stadium set for 5:30 p.m.