Texas Football: Coaching milestones for Steve Sarkisian’s staff in 2022
The Texas Longhorns football program is not ahead of schedule. Critics would argue that based on their own standards, it isn’t even on schedule.
Despite outside noise, Steve Sarkisian and company have accomplished multiple milestones that past regimes failed to do consistently.
Texas flashed great football at times this season. For the most part, it’s fair to consider the 2022 group a good football team. The issue for Texas revolves around consistency.
At its best, Texas stood toe-to-toe with Alabama and buried its red river rival, Oklahoma. At its worst, the team blew double digit leads to lesser competition and no-showed in the biggest conference game of the season offensively.
All in all, there were still plenty of signs the program is moving in the right direction. Here are a few accomplishments made by the 2022 team.
Defeating Oklahoma 49-0
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The Red River Shutout was the highlight of the season for Texas. The Longhorns had lost four straight to Oklahoma and gone 16-7 against the Sooners since 2000. The first and foremost goal for Texas this season was to beat OU. Steve Sarkisian gave burnt orange faithful the most dominant win in the rivalry game in school history.
Improving the win total by three games
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Texas went 5-7 in Steve Sarkisian’s first season. His team looked completely different in Year 2. It’s unclear whether he can duplicate the three-win improvement with another three-win jump next season. Albeit, even if he falls short there will be few complaints should the Longhorns win 10 games next year.
Double digit wins
Syndication: Austin American-Statesman
Tom Herman didn’t win games by double digits very often. That appears to be changing with Steve Sarkisian. Texas ended the season with a couple of such games. The Longhorns beat bowl eligible Kansas 55-14 on the road before mercifully taking its foot off the gas in a 38-27 win over Baylor. Earlier in the year, Texas defeated Oklahoma by 49 points after making short work of West Virginia.
Top 15 road win
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The win over Kansas State was significant because of last season’s struggles in road games and against tougher competition. Despite losing to TCU the following week, the game seemed like a huge hurdle for Steve Sarkisian’s team. Texas finished the season 3-1 vs. bowl eligible teams.
Check out this year over year improvement from the Texas defense:
Sacks: 20 -> 27
TFL’s: 72 -> 87
Yards per rush attempt: 5.2 -> 3.3
Rushing yards per game: 202.6 -> 123
Yards per play: 6.0 -> 4.9
Yards per game: 426.6 -> 362
3rd down %: 42.35% -> 39.69%
— HornSports (@HornSports) November 26, 2022
Texas played good defense under the direction of Pete Kwiatkowski. The defense bordered on elite against Alabama, TCU and Kansas. The growth inspires confidence that Kwiatkowski can have one of the best defenses in the country moving forward.
Developing an elite linebacker
🏈 #Big12FB Defensive Player of the Week 🏈
Jaylan Ford, @TexasFootball
📰 https://t.co/aiiyjXHp4B pic.twitter.com/hem4RdECDN
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) November 28, 2022
Jaylan Ford was historically good at linebacker in 2022. Ford finished second in the Big 12 in tackles (108), tied for second in interceptions (4) and tied for first in forced fumbles (3). He is without a doubt the best defensive player in the Big 12 this season.
Kyle Flood's young line
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Flood gave Texas one of the better looking lines in the conference. Kelvin Banks starred at left tackle and almost certainly projects as a future first round draft pick on his current development track. Cole Hutson played admirably all year as a starter at right guard. Jake Majors grew into his starting role and played well. The future of the Texas offensive line is brighter than it has been in awhile.