AUSTIN (KXAN) — Kansas is leaving Austin with a historic win over the Texas Longhorns Saturday night. Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian is making notes in Texas history — and not for the good reasons.
The Longhorns lost their fifth straight game of the season with the 57-56 overtime defeat to the Jayhawks. This is Texas’ first five-game losing streak since 1956. It’s also the Longhorns fourth loss to Kansas in the history of the program and first at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Clearly, there are issues within the Texas football program as the season heads to its final two games.
The Longhorns have to win both games at West Virginia and at home against Kansas State to become bowl eligibile.
Here’s what Sarkisian said after the loss to Kansas.
“When you fall behind 35-14 at halftime, you have three turnovers, you can’t stop the run, you can’t contain the quarterback on third down…that’s a problem that we have to get fixed. I will say I was proud of the guys in their effort fighting back but until we figure that out that it takes discipline, commitment, toughness and accountability all of the time. We’re going to be swimming upstream…that’s the message to the guys. At some point, they have to recognize that. It’s about being a true competitor and competing with that mindset and we didn’t do that tonight.”
On the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty
“They said he spun the ball. If that’s what he did, in the face of the defender, that’s about discipline. That’s about making a good decision in a critical moment.”
Do you know why the players aren’t responding to your message?
“At the moment, to pinpoint it, no. I don’t exactly know. I think every player is individualized to where they’re at. It’s probably not safe to put everybody in that category because I think we had a lot of guys that did play that way tonight. My job as the head coach is to get that instilled into our players. It’s not about waiting until next year, it’s about addressing those things this week so we can play in that manner this Saturday.”
Message to fans
“We’ll keep fighting. Texas fight, we believe that. There’s not going to be the poor me’s. There’s not going to be…us not working to get better to improve. Just trust that fact that we’ll continue to fight and we’ll continue to work to play better football.”
Update on Bijan Robinson
“Bijan obviously has an elbow injury. We’ll address that moving forward. I don’t want to make any predictions here and now.”
On if Saturday’s performance is just what this team is
“I hesitate to say that’s who we are. Clearly, this month…the past five games…there’s been a variety of things that occurred. We had big leads. We lost those leads in the second half. We didn’t play great offensively last week. Tonight, I think the offensive efficiency was pretty good aside from the turnovers where they scored 20 points. At some point, we have to put it all together. That’s our job. That’s my job. I have to find a way to tap into these guys to get them to understand what it takes to win. The formula sounds simple but clearly we’re not getting the formula correct and that’s what we have to do.”
What did you think of the team’s second half response?
“They really did. I want to give Kansas a lot of credit. They made the play at the end. Heckuva play by the quarterback. I thought our players did show a lot of fight. When it looked bleak after the interception in the end zone…the defense got a stop. That aspect…I know it’s in us. I know we have that fight, but that fight has to be there for 60 minutes and that’s the part we’re lacking right now.”
Message to recruits
“Recruiting is about…there’s got to be some foresight in where we’re going as a program. The belief in what we do and how we do it. I think we build great relationships with our players we’re recruiting. Clearly, nobody likes to lose but I think there is some potential moving forward and I think the recruits see it.”
What do you say to Brenden Schooler after a good game, but had the key drop in overtime?
“The thing I said to the team…it’s easy to look at one play and say that’s why we lost. That’s not why we lost the game. We lost the game because we didn’t play good in the first half. We played a really bad first half of football or we wouldn’t have been in that situation at the end of the game. You can’t look at one play at the end of the game and say that’s why we lost. We lost because the first 30 minutes of football were bad ball and it put us in that position at the end of the game. I feel for Brenden because I’m sure he wanted to make that play…it wasn’t about effort. That’s not why we lost this football game. We lost the game because we didn’t play well in the first half.”
Do you think the players have tuned you out?
“I don’t know…you would have to ask the players that question. I feel good about our messaging. I think we have great leaders on the team, but you would have to ask them that question.”