AUSTIN (KXAN) — University of Texas Athletics Director Chris Del Conte came out Tuesday in strong support of Longhorns football coach Steve Sarkisian and his coaching staff in his weekly Forty Acres Insider newsletter.
“I know we’re all really disappointed, and there’s a lot being said, but this is not a time to splinter or pull apart in any way. We need to stay positive and remain united as a Longhorn Family. We know there are better days ahead,” Del Conte wrote.
Del Conte’s weekly update on the happenings around Longhorns athletics went straight to the topic of the football team’s performance following its historic loss at home to Kansas, calling for the fanbase to maintain its support of the program.
The loss extended Texas’ losing streak to five games. 1956 was the last time the Longhorns lost five games in a row.
“None of us expected what we’re up against now, but that’s why we hired him [Sarkisian] and a tremendous staff to allow us to build a foundation for long-term success. Our Longhorns need to continue to learn and grow from these challenging times. We can be there by their side to help pull them through,” Del Conte wrote.
Del Conte echoed a similar tone heard from Sarkisian’s Monday press conference, citing roster attrition and depth, injuries and even a flu outbreak as some of the issues affecting Texas football’s performance. Del Conte said 25 players missed some practice last week with the flu.
In the newsletter, Del Conte pointed to massive holes in the 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes, writing that nearly 50% of players from those two highly-regarded classes are no longer with the team. Del Conte wrote that UT is missing 33% of players from the last four classes.
Those numbers track with what Sarkisian said Monday. Texas could have a roster full of fresh faces next season.
“I could easily see us with 33 new scholarship players on our team next season,” Sarkisian said.
“This isn’t to cast any blame or make excuses; it’s just factual that we have some real depth issues. As injuries mount, it’s even more glaring,” Del Conte wrote.
Starting running back Bijan Robinson and starting defensive back Josh Thompson are out for the season with injuries.
Texas heads to West Virginia this week, needing two wins in its final two games to become bowl eligible.