Texas can’t stay upset too long with Big 12 race still going, Oklahoma State coming
Sarkisian undergoes his first Texas-OU autopsy but keeps the messaging on point: ‘Yes, we did address still what the goal is’
Losing in Dallas was tough enough. Doomscrolling over a 55-48 loss to Oklahoma is even worse.
Follow, like and share this advice from Texas quarterback Casey Thompson.
“First and foremost, you have to prioritize your life and eliminate all distractions,” Thompson said Monday. “I turn off my notifications. I don't have any social media notifications on my phone. I keep my phone on do not disturb.”
Just like his predecessors did, Texas coach Steve Sarkisian must now pick up the pieces and regroup after getting trampled by the Sooner Schooner. At least the Longhorns (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) went back to work Monday morning knowing their goals are still fully intact.
No. 12 Oklahoma State (5-0, 2-0) doesn’t give one whit about the Red River Showdown. But Sarkisian acknowledged it’s hard to refocus in this 21st-century world where every smart mouth’s got a smartphone.
One of the most popular things players do nowadays after games is search their name to see what’s being said. The Horns will spend the next six games searching for a pathway to the Big 12 championship game.
“They’re on Twitter, they’re on Instagram, they’re talking to Uncle Joe, they’re talking to the high school coach. So they’re getting a lot of outside influences,” Sarkisian said. “So when I talked to them, I tried to be very transparent, upfront and honest.
“Yes, we did address still what the goal is,” the coach added. “Yes, that goal is still very attainable. But that can't occur if we don't put all of our attention and focus into this ballgame with Oklahoma State on Saturday.”
Sounds good to running back Bijan Robinson.
“You can’t change what happened in the game,” Robinson said. “So you’ve got to move forward and understand that you have more goals that you want to accomplish and other things that you have in front of you instead of the things that can really hold you back.”
Sarkisian announced that Texas will be without receiver Jordan Whittington (clavicle) and defensive end Jacoby Jones (foot) going forward. Both players will require surgery, and there is no timetable for their return.
Monday was the typical post-Oklahoma autopsy, something that’s become all too common. The Horns have beaten their chief rivals only three times since 2009.
Mack Brown simply couldn’t believe what Case McCoy did in 2013. When he was done crowd surfing, Charlie Strong took a week-long victory lap in 2015. “Didn’t think we could do it, did ya?” Strong famously thundered as he entered the post-game press conference.
Tom Herman was a tad more reserved about winning in 2018. In the end, OU had the last laugh with a corner blitz and one-handed touchdown catch by Grant Calcaterra in the Big 12 title game.
Sarkisian was even-keeled during Monday’s press conference, which wasn’t anywhere near as tense as it could’ve been. He spoke about teachable moments, like Xavier Worthy’s ill-fated decision to bring a kickoff out of the end zone and the deep throws over B.J. Foster and Darion Dunn.
“We had a couple guys trying to change the momentum on their own, rather than just doing their job really well and getting the momentum back in our favor,” Sarkisian said.
Sarkisian was asked why Texas didn’t put more defensive pressure on freshman quarterback Caleb Williams, who had terrific success on some busted plays. “For whatever reason, we weren't able to make him uncomfortable enough,” Sarkisian said.
Texas managed only two sacks and four quarterback hurries. “One thing we would all love is to be this unbelievable pass-rushing football team,” Sarkisian said. “That’s not really how we’re built.”
Defensive tackle Moro Ojomo pointed to OU’s rushing attack as a main culprit. The Sooners ran for 339 yards using their counter trey — a rushing play that utilizes a pulling lineman to essentially overload one side of the defense. It was also easier to run once Jones, a starter, was injured and out.
“Losing him in the way we lost him was hurtful,” defensive tackle Keondre Coburn said. “He loves this game, and he was a great leader for us, too.”
OU’s Kennedy Brooks took a direct snap, and the Sooners had a blocker for every defender. He raced 33 yards for the game-clinching touchdown with three seconds left.
“We had some injuries and we're undersized a little bit at a specific position at defensive end,” Ojomo said. “They started running counter. That’s their bread and butter, and even after the game, I said it was counter, counter, counter, counter.”
Ojomo laughed and wished college players were allowed to use tablets on the sidelines to examine plays, just like they do in the NFL.
So how can the Horns adjust since they can’t sign additional players this week? Ojomo trusted the coaches.
“You know, they get paid millions and millions of dollars to figure this out, to put guys in the right position and to be able to work around what is happening,” Ojomo said.
Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski is not made available to reporters during the season, per Sarkisian’s decision. All assistant coaches, including the coordinators, are unavailable to reporters.
So now it’s on to the Cowboys, an undefeated bunch with all the typical dangerous weapons found in a Mike Gundy squad.
“Yeah, we lost, we hurt,” UT safety B.J. Foster said. “But at the end of the day, it’s already Monday. We’ve got to put that behind us and just got to work some more. We’ve still got a lot of games left.”
12-Oklahoma State at Texas, 11 a.m., Fox, 104.9