Longhorns hope new coach QB delivers desired results

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AUSTIN, Texas – A new coach, a new quarterback and a new conference. Well, that last part doesn’t apply to Texas yet.

The eventual move to the SEC by the Longhorns and Oklahoma sparked a summer earthquake in the college football landscape when it was decided. But that’s for the seasons to come, when Texas hope to get rid of years of underperformance.

For 2021, the Longhorns are still in the Big 12, still trying to conquer Oklahoma and now trying to catch up to Iowa State in hopes of winning their first championship crown in a decade.

These hopes rest on a new coach. Texas sacked Tom Herman after four successful but still disappointing seasons, and snatched Steve Sarkisian from Nick Saban’s staff in Alabama. Sarkisian brought with him a group of former Crimson Tide assistants.

Texas has awarded Sarkisian, a former Washington and Southern California head coach, a guaranteed six-year, $ 34 million contract that is expected to take him into the eventual SEC transition slated for 2025, if that does not happen sooner. What if Texas’s patience doesn’t run out sooner, like it did for Herman.

Running back Bijan Robinson was Texas’ last two games leading player last season with 355 rushing yards with an incredible 18.7 yards per carry. Sarkissian promised to give him the ball more than Herman did. Much more. Sarkisian even compared Robinson to former USC running back Reggie Bush, whom Sarkisian coached as an assistant to the Trojans.

“The biggest thing that Bijan looks like Reggie Bush is the ability to blow it off,” Sarkisian said. “I haven’t seen that in a while, the ability to make that violent cut at full speed, not lose top speed and get vertical, and Bijan has it.”

Casey Thompson was supposed to be the easy choice for quarterback after four years of Sam Ehlinger. Hudson Card made him work hard for it. Thompson was flawless in last season’s relief appearance in the Alamo Bowl with four touchdown passes. Still, Card made it an all-out competition in the spring and kept the pressure on in training camp. He might even steal the job.

“I wanted them to make it harder for us,” Sarkisian said, “and that’s exactly what they’re doing.”

Defensive tackle Keondre Coburn is the anchor of the Longhorns’ defense. Alfred Collins is the potential star. Former 5-start rookie Collins, 6-5 and 300 pounds, got his first start in the Alamo Bowl last season and had five tackles, one pass break and one interception.

The defense could get a boost from a group of transfer linebackers. Ben Davis of Alabama and Ray Thornton of LSU were part of the national championship programs. Ovie Oghoufo played in the Notre Dame team last year which made the college football playoffs.

All three left these programs after limited playing time, but all “know how to win,” Coburn said.

FILE – In this file photo from Aug.6, 2021, Texas quarterback Casey Thompson passes the ball to running back Bijan Robinson during NCAA college football practice in Austin, TX. Robinson was Texas’ last two games leading player last season with 355 rushing yards with an incredible 18.7 yards per carry. (Mikala Compton / Austin American-Stateman via AP, FILE)

Texas quarterback Hudson Card (11) attends NCAA college football practice Saturday August 7, 2021 in Austin, Texas.  (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)

Texas quarterback Hudson Card (11) attends NCAA college football practice Saturday August 7, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)

Texas wide receiver Troy Omeire catches a pass during NCAA college football practice Saturday August 7, 2021 in Austin, Texas.  (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)

Texas wide receiver Troy Omeire catches a pass during NCAA college football practice Saturday August 7, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian watches his players exercise during NCAA college football practice Saturday, August 7, 2021 in Austin, Texas.  (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian watches his players exercise during NCAA college football practice Saturday, August 7, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian, top left, is joined in training by former Texas, Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Vince Young during NCAA college football practice on Saturday, August 7, 2021, in Austin, Texas.  (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian, top left, is joined in training by former Texas, Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Vince Young during NCAA college football practice on Saturday, August 7, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)

Texas quarterback Casey Thompson throws a pass during NCAA college football practice Saturday August 7, 2021 in Austin, TX.  (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)

Texas quarterback Casey Thompson throws a pass during NCAA college football practice Saturday August 7, 2021 in Austin, TX. (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)

Texas quarterback Hudson Card attends NCAA college football practice Saturday August 7, 2021 in Austin, Texas.  (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)

Texas quarterback Hudson Card attends NCAA college football practice Saturday August 7, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)

Texas quarterback Hudson Card throws a pass during NCAA college football practice Saturday, August 7, 2021 in Austin, TX.  (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)

Texas quarterback Hudson Card throws a pass during NCAA college football practice Saturday, August 7, 2021 in Austin, TX. (Aaron E. Martinez / Austin American-Stateman via AP)


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