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Steve Sarkisian praises Texas’ culture for being able to retain key players

The culture at Texas has dramatically improved under third-year head coach Steve Sarkisian.

Sarkisian specifically praised the culture as a primary reason for teams not being able to poach many of his players. A few weeks ago, rumors began to swirl that other programs were targeting backup quarterback Maalik Murphy. They were unsuccessful: Murphy appears completely bought in to the program Sarkisian has built.

Danny Davis of the American Statesman recently asked Sarkisian how he felt about schools attempting to poach his players. Sarkisian provided a lengthy answer that highlighted his players simply enjoying the environment at Texas.

“I think one, we have to say to ourselves, it’s a reality right. That’s going to happen. I don’t think we can walk around with our heads in the sand saying that, ‘Hey, we’re gonna recruit good players, and it’s just gonna be great. No one’s gonna try to come poach our guys.’

But two, I just think that’s where your culture kicks in. We’ve got such a good culture right now that I don’t think players really want to leave. Now there’s times when we may have to try find creative ways to get ‘em to want to stay, but I don’t think we have guys on our team that are thinking, ‘I want to get the heck out of here. I don’t like the locker room. I don’t like my coach. I don’t like our system or our schemes.’

I think that we’ve got a lot of players that like what we do. They like the environment, they like the culture that we have, they feel like they’re improving and getting better. I definitely am aware that people are probably going to try to come after our guys and that’s OK. We’ve just got to make sure we handle it accordingly.”

Sarkisian also highlighted former Texas running back Roschon Johnson as a example of Texas’ culture. He was just drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL draft.

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Bears general manager Ryan Poles shared a story about Johnson’s leadership and character last week. Poles stated Johnson picked up every empty water and Gatorade bottle other players had left in the room when a meeting concluded.

“(Roschon) picked up every empty water and Gatorade bottle that the other players had left, and he threw them out,” Sarkisian said on Tuesday. “That’s what that guy did for two straight years for our program for us and he set an example. Now all of the sudden, we have a multitude of guys that do that. That’s the standard. That’s what our locker room is like.”

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Story originally appeared on Longhorns Wire