Texas Football: Four takeaways from Big 12 media day

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Texas had three representatives head to the Big 12 media day in head coach Steve Sarkisian, running back Bijan Robinson, and defensive tackle Keondre Coburn. They each had to field questions about the upcoming season.

There were plenty of questions asked ranging from favorite ice cream flavors to thoughts on the Red River Showdown, and there were also headlines stemming from the Big 12’s decision to penalize players who flash the horns down towards a Texas player.

This marked Sarkisian’s first Big 12 media day, and his first media day as a head coach since his days at USC, which did not end well to say the least. Sarkisian has proven to be savvy when it comes to answering questions, credit to Nick Saban who is quite the question answerer himself.

I will break down a few questions that Sarkisian answered that he might have meant something else by, and of course touch on the ruling of the horns down fiasco.

Steve Sarkisian on rebuilding Texas

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Sarkisian rebuilt Washington after the Huskies had six seasons of not being above .500 and were fresh off going 0-12. He iterated yesterday that Texas is not a full rebuild, which he is absolutely right. The team lost their three games in 2020 by a total of 13 points, and that was with inconsistencies on both sides of the field. The run game was not effective until halfway through the season, and the constant changing of who was calling playas was just ineffective. The transfers added on defense will also help in creating more turnovers, better depth, and improve a unit that was ranked 64th in the nation.

"Winning is hard" and "Fairy Dust"

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Now these two phrases were staples of the Tom Herman era, and he would often say those after losing games they should not have or beating Tulsa by a touchdown. Now although Sarkisian said these things, context matters, he was saying that having high ranked players and great facilities do not equate to success. It is the work put in, along with the consistency of success that will propel the Longhorns past mediocrity. This also very well could have been a shot at Tom Herman, as Sarkisian made statements about the players actually buying into the culture now.

Quarterback battle

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After being asked his thoughts on Casey Thompson and essentially where Sarkisian viewed him, Sarkisian took no time mention Hudson Card. This very well could be a statement hinting that the quarterback who many view as the favorite in Thompson, is not the favorite in his eyes. He went on to explain that the 15 practices the team had in spring were not enough for him to pick a starter, which means he needs a better look at both players again, likely giving someone more time to get in his good graces. I have speculated before that Card is the guy, as he was the one who was showing Arch Manning around, while also being seen in a golf cart with Sarkisian. Seeing that Sarkisian's immediate reaction while answering a question about Thompson was to bring up Card only adds fuel to that belief.

Horns Down

Oklahoma OL Creed Humphrey gave the "Horns Down" as he celebrated after 2019's Red River Showdown win against Texas.

The Big 12 announced that players will likely be penalized for flashing the horns down towards Texas players, which is one of the softest things imaginable. Coach Sarkisian and Keondre Coburn both explained if a team feels the need to do that so be it. It is something that bugged Tom Herman much more than it does Sarkisian. The best way to prevent teams from not doing it, is winning, teams are always wanting to beat up Texas because of the brand. I am pro players having fun, and the penalizing of this just seems really unnecessary. It adds to the already great matchups, and creates moments like when Texas came back to win against Texas Tech after Alan Bowman did the horns down. It seems the only people this bothered are either not at Texas anymore, or are ones that are not apart of the program. Overall a bad look for the Big 12, and likely put a target on the back of Texas because of it.

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