AUSTIN (KXAN) – Texas football made as big a statement as the program has in years with their win over No. 3 Alabama Saturday evening. While the Longhorns don’t want the victory to linger into preparation, there’s no denying how impressive their performance was in Tuscaloosa.
“I don’t want our guys to not feel confident coming out of that game,” said Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian. “They earned the right to be confident by the way they played. Now we’re trying to recreate it.”
Sarkisian noted Jaylan Ford, Jerrin Thompson, Jahdae Barron, Xavier Worthy, Jordan Whittington, Ja’Tavion Sanders, Quinn Ewers and Christian Jones as leaders he relies on. For the most veteran of that group, the sixth-year offensive lineman Jones knows how the young guys will take after them.
“Leading by example for sure,” said Jones. “Just telling [the younger players] we have something that we have to do…if you see it, you point it out. People not being as focused as possible.”
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The performance against Alabama was pretty strong across the board, but a couple of young defensive players stood out — Anthony Hill Jr. and Ethan Burke. For the leader on defense, he knows how important it is to instill a work ethic in the younger Longhorns.
“We had success we know but there’s still things to improve on,” said Ford. “If we can kind of embed that into the rest of our teammates and set that as the standard, we should be good.”
The Longhorns shot up to No. 4 in the latest AP poll. A letdown may be expected after an emotional win, especially after it has happened in years past, but this group wants to make sure there is no drop-off in focus or intensity.
“Even when I was a fan, I watched Texas and if I was on the outside looking in I’d be like, ‘They got that win but what are they going to do next week?'” said Longhorns senior defensive back Ryan Watts. “We’re already going to be on that, on top of that. That’s how we’re going to practice.”
Texas will have their final nonconference game Saturday at 7 p.m. against Wyoming at Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys come to Austin unbeaten at 2-0 including a win over Texas Tech in the first week of the season.