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Steve Sarkisian Says Texas Aimed to 'Weed out Some of the Warts' from Last Season

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 18, 2022

David K Purdy/Getty Images

University of Texas head football coach Steve Sarkisian is looking to make significant improvements in his second season at the helm with the Longhorns.

Per ESPN's Chris Low, Sarkisian suggested that there could be some addition by subtraction this season, as not everyone involved with the team bought in during the 2021 campaign:

"The kids knew not everybody in that locker room was all-in last year. I think they could feel it, and they wanted to weed out some of the warts, some of the bad apples. I think they got a sense of reality about some of the things we were talking about and trying to instill last offseason. I don't know how much they gave credence to it, and then those same things reared their ugly head in-season.

"They came back in January with this mindset of, 'We've got to take these things to heart because they will show up again.' They've made that investment and bought into every aspect of it, and you can feel it amongst our team."

In the first season under Sarkisian, the Longhorns posted their worst record since 2016 at 5-7 and failed to qualify for a bowl game. They also lost six consecutive games, which was the program's most losses in a row since 1956.

While the results weren't immediately there, one thing Sarkisian has already done is turned the recruiting tide back in Texas' favor.

According to 247Sports, the Longhorns have the fifth-best recruiting class in the nation for 2022, behind only Texas A&M and a trio of perennial national championship contenders in Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State.

Also, 247Sports ranks the Longhorns' 2023 recruiting class as the second-best in the country, suggesting that the future is bright for Sarkisian's team.

Fans and observers are eagerly awaiting the arrival of quarterback Arch Manning next season, but until then, the Longhorns have a quarterback battle on their hands entering the 2022 campaign.

Sophomore Hudson Card and freshman Quinn Ewers are vying to take the first snap of the season, and while Card has the experience edge after starting the first two games of the 2021 season, Ewers is the more highly touted player.

Ewers transferred to Texas from Ohio State after being ranked by 247Sports as the No. 1 overall player in the 2021 recruiting class.

One year in, Sarkisian has been able to bring in more of his handpicked players, while watching some of the incumbent players from the previous Tom Herman regime leave.

That means Sark may have gotten a pass for last season, but he'll likely start to be graded more harshly in 2022 and beyond since more of the players were recruited by him.

Texas was once one of the premier programs in college football, but it has only one double-digit-win season to its credit since going 13-1 in 2009, and it hasn't won a Big 12 title since 2009, either.

The Big 12 has largely been dominated by Oklahoma over the past decade, but Sarkisian was brought in to put that to a stop.

Although the Longhorns still have to prove it on the field, Sarkisian's comments suggest that he believes the program is finally moving in the right direction.

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