Sarkisian appreciates Texas AD’s confidence, remains unwavering in Longhorns’ process

Horns Report

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With the Longhorns currently in the midst their worst losing streak in 65 years, it’s no surprise there’s a swirl of negative attention and talk surrounding them.

That prompted athletic director Chris Del Conte to voice his support for Steve Sarkisian on Tuesday in his weekly “40 Acres Insider” newsletter.

“Our administration, whether it’s president [Jay] Hartzell, [University of Texas Board of Regents chairman] Kevin Eltife, CDC, these guys have been unbelievably supportive of me, the staff and the program from day one and continue to be,” Sarkisian said.

Typically, a so-called “vote of confidence” from the administration is bad news for a head coach. Just last year, after Del Conte said that Tom Herman would be Texas’ head coach in 2021 and three weeks later he was fired.

But the circumstances are far different. Herman was four years into his tenure at UT, while Sarkisian isn’t even at the end of his first season. Regardless, Sarkisian appreciated the support and believes it to be genuine.

“Not everybody’s as fortunate as that to have people that literally have your back and support you through the process, because clearly it’s a process to what we’re trying to get done,” Sarkisian said. “For CDC to put that out, I think that he genuinely feels that. I feel that from him, so that’s a positive”

No self-doubt

Of course, Sarkisian wouldn’t need the external, vocal support from his bosses if the Longhorns hadn’t lost to Kansas at home for the first time to stretch their current skid to five games. And while Del Conte’s steadfast in his belief in Sarkisian, so, too, is the coach in his own prowess.

“I trust what I do,” Sarkisian said. “I’ve been doing this a long time, I believe in the process in which I go about what we do as a team and then ultimately what I do individually to get myself prepared to get our team prepared.”

A large part of Sarkisian’s confidence comes from his past experiences. This is his third head coaching job at a “Power 5” school. He’s overcome personal struggles with alcohol abuse that led to his firing from USC, and he bounced back from that by landing offensive coordinator jobs in the NFL and at Alabama under Nick Saban.

“What I’ve gone through personally in my in my past, I think there’s a level of perseverance that I maintain that ultimately is really helpful in times like this,” Sarkisian said. “Hopefully I’m a great model and inspiration for others in our building about how to attack each day. It’s about being the best version of yourself today.”

No QB rotation

After Casey Thompson was benched for Hudson Card in the loss to Iowa State, Sarkisian announced that both quarterbacks would play against Kansas. But with Card turning the ball over twice, including a pick six late in the fist half to put the Jayhawks up 21 points at the half, Thompson took over and had a record-tying night.

That performance has earned him the unquestioned starting job against West Virginia, with no plans to rotate Card in.

Injury update

Jordan Whittington will be back for the first time since injuring his collar bone in the loss to Oklahoma, according to Sarkisian. That’s a huge boost to a thin receiving corps after Joshua Moore’s decision to enter the transfer portal.

The Longhorns will also get running back Keilan Robinson after he missed last week due to Covid-19 protocols. But as he returns, Texas loses Jonathan Brooks this weekend to a shoulder injury. On Monday, Sarkisian announced that Bijan Robinson would be out for the year with a dislocated shoulder.

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