Texan Tuesday Football Talk: favorite moments of the season, looking ahead to Kansas State, senior day and more

Nathan Han, Matthew Boncosky, Sports Reporter

Welcome to the 14th edition of the Texan Tuesday Football Talk, where Daily Texan football beat reporters Matthew Boncosky and Nathan Han discuss, of course, Texas football.

Nathan Han: We’re on Week 14 of writing these discussions and close to the end of the season, so I’ll start off with this question that friend of the program Joe Cook was asking each senior in Monday’s media availability: What’s been your favorite moment covering Texas football?

Matthew Boncosky: I’d have to say my favorite moment covering Texas football this season was the Texas-Oklahoma game. The Red River Showdown had been on my bucket list for a while, and being able to cover it as my first experience with the rivalry game will be something that I’ll never forget.

There’s just something about that scene of the burnt orange and crimson split exactly at the 50-yard line that’s just unlike anything else. Sure there’s some other neutral-site rivalry games, but none of them compare to the Cotton Bowl on an early October day for Texas-Oklahoma. I’d encourage anyone reading to find a way to experience the game at some point if at all possible.

I haven’t even mentioned how spectacular of a game it was either. Texas fans aren’t happy with the outcome we know, but everything about covering that game, even down to the fried corn dogs at the fair after the game, was an awesome experience. What was your favorite moment from this year?

NH: I’ll go with the game right before the Red River Showdown for one specific reason: watching sophomore running back Bijan Robinson’s monster performance against TCU in person. He quite literally willed his team to first down after first down to win the game on the road against the Horned Frogs. His 35-carry, 216-yard performance is one of the greatest single games I think I’ve ever watched anybody in any sport ever have in-person.

On that note, with Robinson and others out for the season, this Texas roster is quite depleted heading into Friday’s game against Kansas State, but is there one player or one position group that you’re going to be watching on the field to see if they show growth that can carry over into next season?

MB: I’m going to keep my eye on the linebackers on Friday. Outside of seniors Demarvion Overshown and your guy Ben Davis, the group has a lot of names to keep an eye on next year, especially with Overshown’s likely move to the NFL. While one game won’t determine anything for next year, the last game of this season will be a good chance for some of the sophomores and juniors to start making claims as to who will take over Overshown’s departing production.

Sophomore Jaylan Ford is tied for third on the Longhorns with 47 total tackles, so he will be one to watch, but I’m also interested in seeing what juniors Ayodele Adeoye and Ovie Oghoufo put on tape as well.

With Friday also being senior day on the Forty Acres, who are the Texas seniors that you think will be missed the most?

NH: Nothing’s set in stone, but the likely departure of kicker and punter Cameron Dicker is one that will really hurt, although I covered his replacement in local product Will Stone, who’s just as highly rated as Dicker out of high school.

Losing offensive linemen Derek Kerstetter and Denzel Okafor will be huge, as they were two of the best players on this year’s line. The lack of depth already showed with Okafor’s injury, and losing those two along with serviceable backup sixth-year senior Tope Imade will mean some true freshman or current backups will have to take a big leap for the Longhorns.

On the other side of the football, the biggest question is the secondary, where seniors D’Shawn Jamison and Anthony Cook aren’t listed on the senior day ceremony. The return of those two could be a big boon for year two of defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski’s scheme.

Speaking of the coaches, how likely is it for head coach Steve Sarkisian to make changes on his staff this offseason?

MB: I don’t think it’s likely that Sarkisian will make very many changes to his staff in the offseason. Sark said he will do a total program evaluation in the offseason to see where changes need to be made, so we’ll have to wait and see if anything major does occur, but save for some possible minor tweaks, I don’t think anything major will happen.

Sark was given the resources to go out and hire a coaching staff that is one of the most proven in the country. Kwiatkowski had a strong record at Washington when he had the chance to recruit his guys into his scheme, offensive line coach Kyle Flood is arguably the best offensive line coach in the country from Alabama and the same can be said about special teams coordinator Jeff Banks, whose unit is tied for first in blocked punts in the country. Constant coaching staff turnover has plagued Texas for years, and more turnover after Sark’s first year is not the way I see him handling this underwhelming season when he’s attempting to build from the ground up.

I suppose it is time to predict. A win on senior day will go a long way in instilling confidence in the Longhorns that they can build towards something positive in Year Two of the Sark era, so I think that will have them motivated to come out and win a close one. Give me Texas, 35-31.

NH: I think this game really depends on whether Kansas State quarterback Skyler Thompson plays or not. Assuming he doesn’t play, I still think the Wildcats are a better team and that Deuce Vaughan and the Kansas State running attack will be too much for a subpar Texas run defense. I’ll take Kansas State, 30-27.