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Texas' Steve Sarkisian is dealing with quarterbacks, losing streak and Moore's transfer

Did we really need to hear more dissection of the 30-7 loss in Ames? Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian opened up his presser with thoughts on it anyway, before he got peppered about, oh, injuries, his starting quarterback, the ongoing problems with the second half of games, Bijan Robinson's fumble, team leadership and developing players.

Texas is 4-5 and needs two wins out of its final three games — at home vs. Kansas, then at West Virginia and then at home vs. Kansas State — to make a bowl game. The Longhorns probably will be favored in all three.

More: Texas falls to Iowa State, suffers fourth straight loss

So, there easily could have been some forward thinking — and there was, but not till toward the end of the interview session — but Sark opened up with a wrap on the loss to the Cyclones.

In a nutshell:

• Sarkisian identified three things that changed the game and, he said, "a little bit of the psyche for us" — (1) Iowa State's speed option play and Texas' inability to make that first tackle on the runner; (2) untimely offensive penalties that ended up killing drives and forcing punts; (3) and that wide receiver double-pass touchdown from Xavier Hutchinson to Tarique Milton. "Those obviously were huge momentum-shifters for them and for us," he said.

Golden: Sarkisian must take a hard offseason look at his coaching staff

Texas has lost four straight games, and head coach Steve Sarkisian said coaches have been fighting to get the team back on track. "You have to have belief in the scheme and then you get some success through your belief, and ultimately that's how you gain confidence," he said Monday. "That's the priority for us this week."

• Some of the failed opportunities in the first half, he said, could have changed the complexity of the game and had an effect on the outcome. Specifically, he mentioned Hudson Card overthrowing Xavier Worthy on a breakaway post route for what would have been a big touchdown play in the second quarter and not being able to take advantage of the blocked punt.

• He reiterated that the defense "played really, really good football" in the first half, holding Iowa State to a field goal.

• He said that at halftime, the Longhorns felt good about where they were at, leading 7-3 on the road.

• He saw a tale of two halves. In the second half, Texas started missing more tackles, Texas started losing at the line of scrimmage and the passing game went south.

"It's a dangerous strategy to play with hope. Hope doesn't work," Sarkisian said. "You can't hope that the guy next to me does his job, you can't hope that I'm going to make my play, you can't hope that this scheme's going to work. You have to have belief in the scheme and then you get some success through your belief, and ultimately that's how you gain confidence. That's the priority for us this week."

Highlights from Sark's presser:

Texas' Hudson Card lost his starting job after the second game of the season, but replaced Casey Thompson in the first quarter at Iowa State and finished out the 30-7 loss. Head coach Steve Sarkisian said he'll likely announce a starter for this week's game on Thursday.

Which quarterback will start on Saturday?

Casey Thompson or Hudson Card? 

Stay tuned, Sarkisian basically said. He said he should have that answer on Thursday.

"We're gonna evaluate it this week," he said, when asked who Texas' current starting quarterback is. "Casey has been starting here for the past six or seven games, obviously we made the move in-game. We need to evaluate that this week. There are plenty of things to evaluate. We've got to assess Casey's thumb to see where that's at; I think that did have an impact on him in the ball game. We've go to assess how it flows this week."

Sark was asked about just what's gone wrong at quarterback. He credited the quality of the Oklahoma State, Baylor and Iowa State defenses but admitted that the passing game's issues include not being able to complete the easier throws — or "getting the completions that we don't have to work as hard for" — and he blamed in parts Thompson (and Card), the receivers' consistency and himself as the play-caller.

"It's easy to point to the guy that throws it, and we have plenty of work to do there, but I think I have a responsibility to help them get to that point not only fundamentally and understand the game plan, but also what we call," he said. "And then there's a responsibility from the receivers' standpoint to being where you're supposed to be on time, and then ultimately making plays on the ball. We've had a couple of games where the ball's hit the ground not because of the quarterback's issue."

Texas wide receiver Joshua Moore reacts to a dropped touchdown catch in the 31-24 loss to Baylor two weeks ago in Waco. On Monday, Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian said Moore is no longer on the team and is entering the transfer portal.

It's the transfer portal for Joshua Moore

Sarkisian was asked about Moore's status — the up-and-down wide receiver was suspended for the entire 2019 season, then led the Longhorns in receiving in 2020, and has spent 2021 in and out of the starting lineup, hasn't produced much on the field, suffered through a mistake-ridden day in Waco and had a reported confrontation last week with coaches.

Moore is no longer on the team, Sarkisian said, and the plan is for him to enter the transfer portal.

"That's his option or his opportunity to do that," he said. "That's what college football provides. We wish him the best of luck."

Moore had two catches for 32 yards in Ames. This season, he has 24 catches for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns — that's tied for second in the team in receptions, third in yards and tied for second in receiving TDs.

Look for Kelvontay Dixon to be the next man up.

Robinson, Overshown injuries not 'significant'

Several Longhorns had injuries in the Iowa State loss — running back Bijan Robinson, linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, defensive linemen Alfred Collins and T'Vondre Sweat most notably — but Sarkisian said "none of them are significant."

Every one of them is considered day to day.

Texcetera

Think Saturday will be a cakewalk? Keep in mind that the last time Texas and Kansas played, the Horns eked out a 50-48 win in 2019. Last year's game was canceled. ... Next week's Texas-West Virginia game in Morgantown will kick off at — no shocker here for this season — 11 a.m. and will be aired on ESPN2, it was announced Monday. 

Saturday's game at DKR kicks off at 6:30 p.m. It's on ESPNU. The Horns, who are 4-5 against the spread, are 29.5-point favorites. The rest of the Big 12 slate: Oklahoma at Baylor (11, Fox); West Virginia at Kansas State (11, Fox Sports 1); Iowa State at Texas Tech (2:30, ESPN2) and TCU at Oklahoma State (7, Fox).