Sunday, January 29, 2023

Texas’ losing skid marks first season of struggle for Mark Sarko

AUSTIN, Texas (NWN) — Stuck in a four-game losing streak, it looks like things couldn’t get worse for Texas and first-year coach Steve Sarkeesian.

Despicable Kansas is next on the schedule. But lest anyone needs to be reminded, it was a loss for the Jayhawks in 2016 that sealed the fate of former coach Charlie Strong and he was fired less than a week later.

Texas needed to win two of their final three games to survive a losing season and reach a bowl game. Texas has not lost five in a row since 1956.

There is nothing serious about Sarkeesian’s sacking in a six-year, $34 million guaranteed contract in the first season. But even Strong, who lost three seasons in a row, didn’t lose four games in a row, and Longhorn fans can check in with the start of the basketball season until 2022 and the men’s team at No.

Sarkeesian was hired after Tom Herman was fired Despite four winning seasons and four Bowl victories. He inherited a program that ranked in the NWN Top 25 as of 2020.

Sarkeesian’s “All Gas, No Breaks” motto states that he came here to turbocharge the program. It was not about rebuilding the engine on the team that started the season in 21st place.

But that message wasn’t being delivered on Monday, when Sarkeesian compared the Texas (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) to an old “classic car” that needs more than a new coat of paint.

“We’re under the hood, we’re fixing the engine, we’re working on the interior. And when that’s done, we’ll put a nice fresh coat of paint on it,” Sarkeesian said. We’re working on a lot of things that we think need to be worked on, whether it’s as planned, whether it’s culturally and whether it’s the development of its individual players. Ultimately the car is shiny and good looking. Is.”

Texas confirmed that veteran wide receiver Joshua Moore has left the team and will be transferred. Moore reportedly had a dustup with the coaching staff last week, but he played in Texas’ 30-7 loss to Iowa State.

Moore was Texas’ top returning receiver since 2020, but struggled this season as freshman Xavier Worth became a breakout player. Moore had just 24 catches with three touchdowns and made two critical errors in defeating Baylor with a dropped touchdown and a fumble.

“We wish him all the best,” Sarkeesian said.

There’s more to fix in Texas than a roster change.

The skid involved double points for Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor, moving towards the second half. Iowa State chased down quarterback Casey Thompson in the first quarter, completely dominating the second half and hounding the backup Hudson card on a miserable night.

Sarkeesian said he isn’t sure who will start at quarterback against Kansas. And with that, star running back Bijan Robinson left the sport with a neck injury, and Sarkeesian said Monday that he didn’t yet know whether he would be ready to play this week.

On paper, Kansas (1-8, 0-6) is just the opponent Texas needs to break their losing skid. Longhorns are the starting 30-point favorite. But the Jayhawks nearly beat Oklahoma just three weeks ago. Then Texas has a road trip to West Virginia before closing the regular season at home against Kansas State.

Longhorn need a win in those two matches. He hasn’t missed playing in the postseason since 2016, Strong’s final year.

“No one likes where we are. I wish we were undefeated,” Sarkeesian said. “I think there is incremental progress.”

Texas fired national-championship-winning coach Mack Brown after the 2013 season because the school felt the program had become stale and second-class in the Big 12. Since Brown’s departure, Texas is 52–44 under their third head coach.

Fourth-year defensive lineman Moro Ozomo compared this season to trying to plug a leaking water tank with many holes. He said Texas has been trying to patch the tank for 12 years since the Longhorns last won the Big 12 and played for the national championship.

Texas has lost at least four games 11 times since then. The exception was a 7-3 finish in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season that fired Hermann.

“I don’t know what happened from ’09, 2010, like, the beginning of this whole decade,” Ojomo said. “Something got loose, almost a screw. We’re always trying to figure out which screw to fix.


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