AUSTIN (KXAN) — The 5-7 season in 2021 is the elephant in the room for the Texas football team that has been often acknowledged during the Longhorns’ preseason camp. Saturday against Louisiana Monroe is the Longhorns’ first opportunity to get rid of the bad taste in their mouth from last fall.

“I think our guys are excited to play a game,” said Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian. “I don’t think they’re worried about what’s down the road. Honestly, I think our team is just excited to play football against another team, another helmet, another scheme and enjoy doing it.”

Texas hosting the Warhawks during week 1 of the season is not necessarily one of the marquee matchups around the country as the Longhorns are a 37.5-point favorite, according to Caesars Sportsbook. In week 2, a highly-hyped showdown awaits.

The top-ranked team in the country, Alabama, will head west to Austin for a clash on Sept. 10. According to StubHub, the Alabama-Texas showdown is the most in-demand game of the season based on ticket sales. Even with all that, the Longhorns’ focus remains squarely on the Warhawks.

“It’s real,” said Longhorns star running back Bijan Robinson about the team not looking too far ahead. “I know everyone’s talking about the Alabama game and everything but we still got to play this first game. And we have to play at 100% because ULM is not going to come here and play low to their standards. They are going to come here and play as hard as they can.”

Coming off the lackluster first year under Sarkisian, it can be easy to think big picture. However, this year’s team has a purposeful approach to not look too far ahead.

“Right now, we’re focused on the game plan, and then practice and then the big day Saturday,” added Longhorns senior edge rusher Ovie Oghoufo. “And I think just having that approach helps us to be intentional throughout the day and take each day as the most important day.”

The Longhorns will look to win their fourth-straight season opener at 7 p.m. Saturday against ULM at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial stadium.