What a win over No. 13 Kansas State would mean for Steve Sarkisian

The Texas Longhorns are 5-3 with two losses in conference play so far this season. And while it could certainly be worse, the second year of Steve Sarkisian’s tenure has left something to be desired.

The Longhorns head coach could be a victim of early success this season. In the early game against Alabama, Texas proved it could compete with any team in the country. Nevertheless, the Longhorns have yet to bring that intensity on a consistent basis. Now, Texas has to focus on doing the simplest of fundamentals well.

Texas’ next four games are far from easy. Kansas State and TCU lead the Big 12 race, while Baylor has played its way back into contention.

A win on Saturday could signal change for Texas. Let’s look at what it would mean for Steve Sarkisian’s tenure.

A departure from "same old Texas"

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Does a loss to Kansas State paint Sarkisian into a corner? Absolutely, it does. This is a must-win for Texas. More than that, it’s an opportunity to prove that Sarkisian is the right coach for the job. Those who understand football don’t question Sarkisian’s football knowledge. He will have the chance to prove he can be a good head coach, not simply a great offensive mind.

Player-led team

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Much has been made about players-only meetings this season. The issue isn’t the meetings, but the losses that necessitated hard conversations. If Texas wins, it would signal these players are not only bought into Sarkisian’s culture but living the culture.

Taking the wheel and righting the ship

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Some members of the coaching staff can improve. It’s up to Steve Sarkisian to elevate them to another level. The low-hanging fruit is almost always the playcallers, and Pete Kwiatkowski hasn’t been perfect. Kwiatkowski is a good defensive coach 90% of the time. It’s the other 10% that hurts Texas. Kwiatkowski can improve and must to intervene when his assistants make errors. Playing the right personnel in the red zone would be a good start.

Preparation

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If Texas took the last week seriously, they could win decidedly this week. The Longhorns had two weeks to prepare for Kansas State. It’s reasonable to expect Sarkisian to put in the work for the Wildcats. If the players listen and immerse themselves in the game plan, there’s a great chance they stay alive in the Big 12 race.

Game management growth

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It’s easy to manage a football game from the couch. It’s not as simple when you have multiple responsibilities and distractions on the sideline. Sarkisian has grown as a game manager, but a win could improve his reputation in that respect.

Motivator

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If there is any question about Sarksian as a motivator, a win over Kansas State should challenge all doubt.

Confidence builder

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If Sarkisian wins on Saturday, he’s probably going to have his team engaged for the remainder of the season. A road victory following the Oklahoma State loss would invigorate the team and likely propel them to future success.

Story originally appeared on Longhorns Wire