- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Now more than ever, getting to double-digit wins is incredibly important for Texas. Even with a first-year head coach in Steve Sarkisian, this is a pivotal season for the program.
Before getting to the win total goal, winning the season opener is the first priority.
Louisiana will roll to Austin as the No. 23 team in the country. Coming off one of the best seasons in their history, confidence will not be an issue on the opposing sideline. Beating Big 12 schools is not a daunting task either after Iowa State last season.
Sarkisian will have his team fired up and ready to go as well. Since he took over, there has been a sense of inner confidence from players and coaches. You can tell just from press conferences leading into the season. It’s going to be a fun battle two days from now.
Here are three reasons Texas gets the win over Louisiana on Saturday.
First, the Heisman longshot
Aaron E. Martinez/Austin American-Statesman
Some might say one of the best running backs in the country is a useful weapon to have. Even if everything else is going wrong within the Texas offense, handing it off to Bijan Robinson is a safe bet.
Last season as a true freshman, it took until the bye week and a Keaontay Ingram injury before the five-star was considered the lead back. Sarkisian has zero plans of easing Robinson into his carries this year. Anywhere between 20 to 30 touches are the goal.
With quarterback Hudson Card getting his first real action of college football, the running game is going to be crucial. The Longhorn offensive line should have an advantage over Louisiana’s front seven, giving Robinson plenty of room to operate. Expect everything to pick up where it left off from those last four games of 2020 (130.5 yards/game) for Robinson.
Next, the defensive line
Defensive line play
Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
One of the most underrated units on Texas’ roster is the defensive line. With DeMarvion Overshown stealing the show at linebacker and the secondary being full of seniors, it’s easy to look past the talent on the defensive line.
A tough task is in front of a group let by nose tackle Keondre Coburn. Louisiana’s offensive line is returning four starters with at least 10 starts from last season, barring a possible injury from left tackle Carlos Rubio.
After Sarkisian mentioned the game would be won at the line of scrimmage, Coburn knows if Texas wants to head into Saturday night with a victory, his group is going to have to be successful.
“That means, our O-line and our D-line is going to battle every play,” Coburn said. “Whoever wins most of the plays, that’s going to show who wins the game.”
Coburn will be lining up next to Moro Ojomo on the interior to begin the game. Jacoby Jones will play a more traditional defensive end but do not be surprised to see Alfred Collins getting some snaps out wide as well.
Talented depth in the trenches will be the factor in Texas’ defense on Saturday.
Finally, Steve Sarkisian’s play-calling
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Nobody scored more in the first half than Alabama last season, averaging 29.4 points. Sarkisian’s play-calling never took a break until the game was out of reach and backups were playing. The same mentality is going to be needed on Saturday.
Letting someone like Louisiana hang around for an entire game is going to end in disaster. Everyone has seen it over the past four seasons. Texas gets off to a solid start only to go conservative before everything is on the line. Some weeks ended with a huge sigh of relief, others finished with a massive disappointment.
Going into the Sarkisian era, everything should be different. If everything is flowing within the offense, the play calling is not going to slow down just because of a small lead. Deep shots and opportunities for Robinson to break off large runs will still be signaled in.