Re: Sage want a chance to be a starter.
I believe Smithiak acknowledged at the time that the QB question was going to decide the fate of both of their jobs. As said above, they obviously were not comfortable putting their careers in Sage's hands, and they knew they had to cut their losses with Carr.
So when you are making that type of momentous decision on a guy you have no personal experience with, you better make some calls. I'm sure Art Briles would (or did) say some wonderful things about Kolb, but if Kolb busts, then it would be hard to go to Bob McNair and explain "Well, the C-USA guy who spent most of his career coaching Friday night games said that he would be good." Compare Schaub's references: "Well, NFL guys like Al Groh and Bill Musgrave (who, incidentally, played for me with the Broncos) said that he would be good." And I mean no disrespect to Briles in that, but, by the Spring of 2007, the only QB he coached above the HS level was Kolb. So I can see Smithiak doubting whether Briles say-so was reliable enough.