Five reasons Texas will have a successful 2021 season

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With Steve Sarkisian taking over the Texas program, there seems to be a new sense of hope on the 40 Acres. With how talented the roster is, Sarkisian and his newly hired staff will be looking to finally take the opportunity to get some wins.

The main storyline will be the quarterback competition until Sarkisian decides to name a starter. No matter who is given the nod, pressure will be there to get positive results. Thankfully, wins and losses occur because of more than just quarterback play.

Plenty of other aspects of the game will influence if the Longhorns can get back to the highly coveted double-digit win season. Some of the most experienced position groups come from the defensive side of the ball, while a future All-American is at running back in Bijan Robinson.

With a bit of an optimistic viewpoint, here are five reasons Texas will have a successful 2021 season.

Bijan Robinson

AP Photo/Michael Thomas

Already one of the best in the country, Texas' offense is going to revolve around the sophomore running back. Sarkisian said the goal is to get Robinson around 20 carries a game while pushing 30 if needed. Take those carries per game multiplied by his 8.2 yards per carry last season and Robinson would be on pace for a 2,000-yard season. Only four Big 12 players (two from Texas) have ever done that in a season. When in doubt, Sarkisian is going to hand the ball off to Robinson. No matter who wins the quarterback job, no matter how poorly the offensive line performs, and no matter how well the wide receivers are performing. Robinson will take this offense to a new level.

Defensive line play

AP Photo/Mark Rogers

The biggest strength of Texas' defense entering the season may be Bo Davis' defensive line. Players have been performing so well during fall camp, somebody like Alfred Collins may find himself without a full-time starting role. Keondre Coburn is going to lead the bunch, while freshman Bryon Murphy has caught the eyes of the veteran. Collins, as mentioned, will get playing time, as will Moro Ojomo and T'Vondre Sweat. Youngster Vernon Broughton should compete for minutes too. Listing players off can make it seem like there is a ton of depth, without providing any context. But Texas' group is the real deal. Without ever mentioning the outside linebackers/edge guys, the Longhorns should be able to control the line of scrimmage against most teams on the schedule.

Pete Kwiatkowski

AP Photo/David Goldman

Looking at it from a more broad scenario, Pete Kwiatkowski could be the best defensive coordinator in Austin for quite some time. He has left the pacific northwest for the first time in his career in search of a new challenge. The expectations have been set by the defensive coordinator: holding teams to under 20 points a game. While it's a lofty goal, Kwiatkowski accomplished it five out of seven seasons at Washington. Pac-12 offenses do not quite compare to the Big 12's, but he knows how to get the job done. A sense of identity is within the defense as well, something missing over the past few seasons. Great coaching combined with a solid returning core and Texas' defense could be why football games are won.

Consistent, lethal play calling

Aaron E. Martinez /Austin American-Statesman

We'll find out pretty quickly about Sarkisian's 'All Gas, No Brakes' mentality with his play calling. During his time at Alabama, games were constantly over by halftime because of how many points the Crimson Tide put up. There is a significant talent drop-off in the rosters but the scheme can still be the same. A lot of complaints during the Tom Herman era were never fully putting opponents to bed and making late-game scenarios nail-biters. When in winning situations, Sarkisian should have a killer instinct until the game is out of reach. The days of constant bubble screens or playing for a first down is over. Points should come easy in Austin. In baseball terms, having a high on-base percentage is nice, but slugging the ball well is even more dangerous.

Favorable second half schedule

AP Photo/Michael Thomas

Texas' first six games are not particularly fun. Louisiana, at Arkansas, Rice, Texas Tech, at TCU, and Oklahoma (Dallas) has a lot of people sweating. A rough start to the year could spell disaster for the program. If a slip-up or two occur, there will be a favorable back half of the schedule to make up for it. Three home games and three road games, the toughest of the bunch will come against Iowa State in Ames. Past one of the Big 12 favorites, home games against the Kansas schools and Oklahoma State have Texas wins written all over them. Visiting Baylor and West Virginia are matchups you hope are victories as well. Sure, call it Texas arrogance but the Longhorns were a combined 17-6 against the final six teams during the Tom Herman era. Wins should come in the latter stage of the season.

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