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When Steve Sarkisian was hired, his offensive success at Alabama was one of the main reasons. He set all kinds of records over two seasons with some of the best players in the country.
Everybody was excited to see how it would translate in Austin with not as talented of a roster. It was only Week 1 but the level of optimism went up a few ticks by the end of the night.
Texas’ offense was solid against Louisiana, especially in the second half, putting up a total of 38 points. Bijan Robinson was the star of the show (get used to it) while quarterback Hudson Card impressed on his debut.
Next up, an SEC opponent on the road.
Arkansas is going to present a challenge to Sarkisian’s offense right out the gate. An injury to starting defensive end Dorian Gerald and a first-half suspension to linebacker Bumper Pool will play in favor of the Longhorns but should be offset by the crowd expected on hand.
Here are three offensive keys for Texas against Arkansas on Saturday.
First up, Bijan Robinson
Running the ball
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Last week, I told you I would be writing this same post for Arkansas and would probably mention Bijan Robinson again. Well, here we are.
Robinson had a good day against Louisiana, having 176 total yards and two touchdowns on 24 touches. Most of his damage came in the running game, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
Against a porous Arkansas rush defense, Robinson is going to be given a few more carries. Especially earlier in the game, so quarterback Hudson Card can settle in.
Rice only managed 81 rushing yards last week but the Razorbacks gave up over 200 per game last season. Robinson will be the best back to run through Fayetteville all year. Getting outside the tackles will be key for the Longhorns come Saturday.
Do not count out Keilan Robinson either, thanks to his world-class speed.
Next, controlling the home crowd
Controlling the crowd
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Arkansas announced Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium is going to be sold out and have over 80,000 fans in attendance. And to be honest, that is neither here nor there. With Texas in town, the atmosphere was always going to be a good one.
With a first-year head coach and a redshirt quarterback, dealing with the crowd is going to be a tough ask. Getting in play calls, hearing the audibles, and making sure everybody is set could be an easy way to fall behind early on.
As previously mentioned, use Robinson as a crowd killer in the first quarter. Nothing will quiet 80,000 people like some big-time rushing plays. From there, Card can operate under a semi-normal circumstance and continue the excellence we saw in Week 1.
Finally, equal wide receiver distribution
Getting more than Jordan Whittington involved
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Whittington’s stat line against Louisiana: Seven receptions for 113 yards, one touchdown. Joshua Moore/Xavier Worthy’s combined state line against Louisiana: Four receptions for 51 yards.
Whether Sarkisian was running 11 or 12 personnel, the latter two wide receivers were not good enough last week. Having Troy Omeire out because of a knee injury did not help either. Texas needs to find a way to get them more involved in the game plan.
Moore came back as the team’s statistical leading receiver but went missing through important stretches last year. Worthy is a true freshman so some slack can be given. But the skillset is there for both to have explosive games at any given moment.
Against Arkansas, the secondary will be good enough to shut down Texas’ sole option in Whittington. Sarkisian must find a way to get Moore/Worthy involved more or the offense could find itself stalling.