AUSTIN (KXAN) — A more concerted effort toward forcing turnovers this season has Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian throwing pool parties.
Figuratively, at least.
The No. 3 Texas Longhorns enter Saturday’s Big 12 Conference opener against Baylor tied for No. 8 in the country with a plus-5 turnover margin. Sarkisian said he is making a huge deal over turnovers during practice.
“I’ve borderline thrown a pool party in the middle of practice for a turnover,” Sarkisian said. “I’ve tried to make it such a big deal when we create a turnover. We want to celebrate the heck out of turnovers.”
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Sarkisian preached all training camp that forcing turnovers was the next big improvement the Longhorns’ defense had to make. It made huge strides from 2021 to 2022, and three games into the 2022 season, Texas has forced six turnovers — five interceptions and a fumble recovery. Jerrin Thompson has two picks this season, and he returned one for a touchdown as part of a 21-point fourth quarter in Texas’ 31-10 win over Wyoming last week.
“We’ve placed a huge emphasis on it, and so far, so good,” Sarkisian said.
Along with forcing turnovers on defense, the other side of the turnover margin is being able to take care of the ball on offense. Outside of a Jaydon Blue fumble against Wyoming, the Longhorns haven’t turned it over all year. Sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers has gone 205 consecutive passing attempts without an interception, which is the second-longest streak in program history. He got away with a couple of forced passes into coverage against Wyoming, but by and large, Ewers has been safe with the ball.
“It’s been huge,” Ewers said. “If there’s one stat in football, I think turnover margin depicts wins and losses. I’m gonna keep on trying.”