AUSTIN (KXAN) –Spring practice took a big step on Saturday when the Longhorns had their first scrimmage under Steve Sarkisian.
According to the new head coach, it was about 100 plays and included live tackling, except for the quarterbacks. Outside of a couple periods, it featured the ones taking on the ones.
“I thought it was a physical day,” Sarkisian said. “I thought there were moments when pretty much all position groups had moments where they kinda shined, and then there were areas when each position group took their opportunities to make some mistakes that hurt.”
Early struggles are no surprise. This was the first full-go practice with a new staff and new schemes, and Sarkisian knows that and kept the results in perspective.
“The key component is coming out of this scrimmage and really teaching really well,” he said. “The players to be willing to be coached so that they can improve their game individually so that we can improve collectively. But I thought all in all, for the amount of work we got in, I thought the guys responded well.”
Going into this first simulated game, there were three things Sarkisian was hoping to see. He wanted to see how well the defense tackled, how clean the play is, so for the offense, how were penalties, fumbles and handoffs, and on defense, were there any blown coverages.
“We didn’t have a lot of that today, so that part was encouraging,” Sarkisian said.
Finally, he wants to see how the team performs from a mental standpoint as the scrimmage goes on.
“When you come out today and you have a 100-play scrimmage, who can mentally overcome as things get hard because the game of football’s hard,” Sarkisian said. “It’s physically tough, and it’s mentally tough. You need to be those two things to be successful.”
Those were things he focused on in the moment. Afterward, he’ll go study the practice to figure out adjustments.
“For the most part, trying to just get a feel for the mentality that we have,” Sarkisian said. “When things get hard, make sure we’re not a sloppy team, we’re a disciplined team, and then ultimately, our ability to tackle early on.”
Texas will have another scrimmage next week. They’re on track for the spring game on April 24 to be their 15th and final practice.