AUSTIN (KXAN) — For as much as the Longhorns’ game on Saturday against Arkansas is being touted as a renewal of bitter former and future conference rivals, at the end of the day, it’s still just a regular season, non-conference game.
“Arkansas’ hate, as you refer to it, for the University of Texas isn’t going to make us play any better or make us play any harder, right, or make us prepare any better,” Steve Sarkisian said. “We need to control what we can control, and we need to focus on what we need to focus on, and then we need to execute our jobs down after down after down. That’s really the winning formula to this thing, not trying to rise to the emotion of the stadium. That’s gonna be really important for us come 6 o’clock Saturday.”
Sarkisian acknowledges that with Razorback Stadium’s first sellout in four years, it will be a raucous atmosphere. But again, that only goes so far.
“Anytime you get a night game and two quality opponents and you get a sold out crowd, I don’t know, at what point is it tough enough?” Sarkisian asked. “They’re all tough at that point. This one’s going to be another one.”
Sarkisian’s well aware that all those factors can have his players “extra-amped” come game time. But his focus is on making sure his players handle those emotions in a way that will enhance their play, not hurt it.
“I think, poise and composure are two big ingredients when you go on the road in these types of environments,” Sarkisian said. “That doesn’t discount. We wanna make sure emotion-level is right, but that we have good poise and composure in this environment. I think that level of intensity in the arena, quite frankly, lasts as long as we allow it to last. At some point, we’re gonna have to get our focus on where it needs to be, and that’s the next play.”
Hudson Card had about as successful a first start as he or Sarkisian could’ve hoped for against Louisiana-Lafayette.
The redshirt freshman from Lake Travis threw for 224 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions while also rushing for another score.
“I don’t think that he’s walking around like he’s big man on campus; that’s just not in his demeanor,” Sarkisian said. “But I’m sure, internally, that had to feel pretty good for him. To go out and perform and play … all those things I’m sure built confidence, but hopefully it also instilled in him that [his] preparation paid off. So that another good week of preparation and getting himself back to the right frame of mind going into this game … not only is helpful for him, I think it’s helpful for the entire team.”
The best news for Texas fans is that offensive lineman Junior Angilau “is good to go,” according to Sarkisian.
Beyond that, receiver Troy Omeire, who’s been out since Aug. 19, is starting to work his way back.
“[He’s] rehabbing, he’s running, he looks good,” Sarkisian said. “Hopefully, we get him back sooner rather than later, but we definitely want to make sure that he’s in the right space, physically, to do so. But he was back going this week that way.”
Tight end Jared Wiley, who was limited in last week’s win with a shoulder injury, is a game-time decision.