Golden: Free-falling Texas is now at the point where only wins, not words, will fix things
- Texas' five-game losing streak is the worst in program history dating back to 1956.
- Coach Steve Sarkisian insists he hasn't lost the team.
Give Steve Sarkisian credit for one thing: He answers the questions to the best of his ability and doesn’t take the convenient route to Excuseville.
With that said, the Texas football coach has run out of words.
At this point, words aren't enough. Only wins will dull the perpetual ache that's in the guts of this team and its fans.
Ever been in a relationship that got stale because you ran out of conversations? It’s where we are entering the next-to-last game on the schedule. You know the media covering the team has heard it all, so imagine what's going on in the locker room amid the longest losing streak this program has endured in 65 seasons.
Saturday’s 57-56 overtime loss to Kansas was a soul taker. Sark and his staff just may not be equipped to pull this team off the ledge, at least not this season. But he was back at it on Monday, delivering the crushing news that running back Bijan Robinson is out for the season — rough, because he’s not only a fan favorite but a media favorite, too — and then went about the business of trying to explain what in the name of 1956 is going on.
- “The turnovers on offense were killers.”
- "I was impressed with our guys and their ability to come back and fight in the second half.”
- “Clearly, our inability to stop the run effectively on defense and then our inability to get off the field on third down on defense became the bigger issues within possessing the football and the game and having extending drives and taking advantage of that.”
And so on.
We’re not allowed to watch practices, but I’d love to get a five-minute look at this week’s preparations for the final conference road game of the year. To expect them to win at West Virginia on Saturday and then home against Kansas State in the regular-season finale feels more like hope than anything else.
Texas is cooked, and Sarkisian will have a long nine-month wait before he can get back to trying to convince Longhorn Nation — and, he's smart, the men who hired him — that he's the right coach for this job,
Beyond that, it’s just words.
Texas women served notice: So impressed with what the Texas women did in Palo Alto on Sunday, harassing and pestering defending national champion Stanford into one of its worst shooting nights in coaching legend Tara VanDerveer’s tenure.
The Horns snapped Stanford’s 21-game winning streak that dated back to last season. Texas' 61-56 win may be remembered more for the performances of freshman Rori Harmon, who scored 21 points, and Mississippi State transfer Aliyag Matharu, who erupted for 17 in the fourth quarter, including four 3-pointers, but Vic Schaefer’s crew toppled the country's No. 3 team because of defense.
Stanford made only two of its first 21 3-point tries before finishing 4-of-27 for the game with a pair of triples down the stretch. It was that stifling pressure that will make the Horns one tough out this season.
Audrey Warren, who has spent more than a few minutes laid out on the court after several collisions, is the blood and guts of this defense and her teammates, new and old, followed her example. I’m hoping she can figure out how to avoid those shots, given the senior's history of concussions. Her toughness would be hard to replace.
Schaefer found a nice combination in the fourth quarter of Harmon, Matharu, Joanne Allen-Taylor, Warren and backup post Lauren Ebo. It proved fruitful, showing that he has plenty of flexibility when it comes to figuring out what works from game to game.
Defense travels, and the Horns had a dozen or so Samsonites worth of stops. The Horns, one season after knocking out a No. 2 and a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, are back for more.
Struggles for Beard’s bunch: Chris Beard’s Texas men weren't as successful as the UT women were in their trip out west. A scary Gonzaga team that will be back in the Final Four had its way for most of Saturday night, particularly big man Drew Timme, a Metroplex product who didn’t get a whole lot of recruiting buzz out of Richardson Pearce.
The 6-10 Timme, a preseason national player of the year candidate, greeted the Horns with 37 points and seven rebounds on 15-of-19 shooting in the 86-74 win. Kudos for the Horns coming back from a 22-point deficit to cut the lead to within 11 a couple of times — they shot 51.6% from the field in the second half — but the outcome was never in doubt.
With only four scholarship players back from last season’s team, it will take some time for Beard to blend all these difference flavors into a cohesive unit. Post defense is an early concern, but how many times will you see a Timme on this schedule? Just once in the regular season and possibly in the NCAAs.
Dallas is back: If the Dallas Cowboys could bottle up their 43-3 win over the Atlanta Falcons and cut and paste it for the remainder of the schedule, we’d be looking at the Super Bowl champs.
But it’s not that easy.
They remain one of the five most talented teams in the league, but that no-show at home against Denver two games ago remains a head scratcher.
Could be that quarterback Dak Prescott was rusty after missing the Minnesota game with an injury, or that the defense got ambushed by Teddy Bridgewater and company, but for whatever reason, Dallas didn’t have it that day.
The malaise is going through the entire league with would-be title contenders falling to teams that have no way of making the playoffs. There's no explaining Buffalo losing 9-6 to Jacksonville or Tampa Bay losing by double digits to Washington.
The Cowboys, their inexplicable clunker to Denver aside, aren’t alone.