Preparation, consistency, confidence key in Longhorns win over Jayhawks

Nick Castillo

Texas claims winning comes down to preparation, consistency and confidence. The Longhorns blamed their lack of preparation after the 24-0 loss to Iowa State on Oct. 31 and said preparation was instrumental to beating Kansas 59-20 on Saturday.

“It starts on the practice field,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “You look at it and one week you don’t score anything and then tonight it’s so explosive. That’s what the players have to realize is, it’s all about just being consistent.

The Longhorn players said this week’s practice helped them play a strong game against the Jayhawks.

“Everybody was more ‘in’, more serious [at practice],” senior cornerback Duke Thomas said. “People just took it more seriously. We just took that loss to Iowa State, and the guys didn’t want that to happen again. We took practice very seriously and preparation was key. We  came out and executed.”

Texas’ preparation showed on the team’s first offensive play of the game. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard connected with freshman wide receiver John Burt for an 84-yard touchdown. The Longhorns scored 52 more points against Kansas, including a 93-yard touchdown run from sophomore running back D’Onta Foreman, a 40-yard touchdown pass and  44-yard touchdown run from junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes.

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But the Longhorns were inconsistent on defense, giving up 20 points and 426 yards to the winless Jayhawks. Texas’ defensive players say there is room for improvement.

“We’re just still trying to get things right,” senior linebacker Peter Jinkens said. “We still have to clean up some things from tonight. We’ve just got to keep going off what we have and just keep doing what we do.”

Play-caller and wide receivers coach Jay Norvell said the Longhorns need to build off their 59-20 win.

“We have to push this team — we’ve got to ride them,” Norvell said. “We’ve got to make sure they have the kind of focus and effort that we need out of them. … We got to press them, keep getting what we want on them and that’s our job as coaches. We just have to continue to push.”

Senior running back Johnathan Gray said Texas needs to channel another strong week of practice to build confidence.

“That’s all you can do,” Gray said. “Stay focused on your work and show those young guys what you have to do to be a championship team and be a competitor. The team stepped up and the young guys followed, and if we can keep that consistent, the offense will be great.”

Texas’ preparation helped it secure a much-needed win and a new sense of confidence. The Longhorns now look to transform those factors into their first road win of the season at West Virginia on Saturday.

“Going on the road to Morgantown isn’t going to be an easy win at all,” junior safety Dylan Haines said. “We got to play consistent if we want to win.”