In two years, Steve Sarkisian has gone from looking like an immediate flop to bringing Texas into the Top 5. What’s been the biggest key to this turnaround?
It seems simple, but football is a game that’s won and lost in the trenches and Texas is vastly improved on both sides of the ball. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, convincing Kyle Flood to move from Tuscaloosa to Austin will forever be the biggest recruiting win for Sark. They came in and immediately flipped that room, while developing some of the key pieces that were already there and have raised the floor for the offense.
Same thing for the defensive line and Bo Davis.
That interior defensive line is one of the strengths of the group, which allows the linebackers to thrive in Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense. It doesn’t hurt that a late three-star flip in Jaylan Ford turned into one of the premier linebackers in the conference.
2. On this topic, how adequately has he prepared this program for the transition to the SEC?
I think the answer to this question is the same as the first one. When Texas went to Arkansas a few years ago, the Razorbacks pushed them around on both sides and ran them out of the stadium. Fast forward a few years and Texas went into Tuscaloosa and ran the ball seven straight times to close out an upset over the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Football has changed in a lot of ways, but it’s still a game that’s won in the trenches and Texas is better there.
3. Other than Oklahoma and Texas A&M, which SEC program and fan base will you hate the most? (This can be two different answers)
I hesitate to speak for the whole fanbase, but the one that springs to mind is LSU. Covid robbed us of a get back game in 2020, they’re often recruiting rivals, and the number of random LSU twitter accounts that come into my mentions uninvited and talk noise is a perfect storm.
4. How has Quinn Ewers improved from last year to this year?
The two keys have been his physical shape and his footwork, and I think both of them hinge on mindset.
He said preseason that he really took the job for granted and not as seriously as he should, which impacted his play. It’s an overused cliche, but he really reshaped his body this offseason and looks faster and sharper, which carries over into his mechanics. In the past, he’s played like a kid who is used to being the most talented guy on the field who gets by on physical tools rather than execution and he’s really shifted that this year.
5. Which new fair food item do you find most intriguing?
It’s between the Big Texan Fried and the chicharrón loaded nachos. Both should be consumed postgame because the bathrooms at the Cotton Bowl are less-than stellar.
6. Who’s your favorite OU alum outside of sports?
My first job out of college was working the sports website over at Channel 9 and I shared a desk with a guy named Corey. Great dude.
Ed Harris is also awesome.
7. Will OU and Texas meet again in Arlington?
I think so. There are tiers in the Big 12 and these two make up the top tier. Unless something goes sideways for one of them, it’ll be a rematch.
8. What’s your final score prediction?
Vegas has it as less than a touchdown and I think that’s right. I think Texas comes away with it in a tight one.