Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas football focuses on upcoming season amidst SEC discussion

Emma Hutchinson

The Texas Longhorns have been named the projected Big 12 champions for the 2023 season, a nomination that hasn’t surfaced since 2009. While being selected to win the championship is a huge accomplishment, living up to those expectations is a different task. The 2009 Longhorns squad did just that, winning the Big 12 Championship while standing at No. 3 in the conference. 

This year, Texas’ fans wait in anticipation more than ever since this season marks its last with the conference before transferring to the SEC. But despite the media buzz about Texas’ future, head coach Steve Sarkisian made clear last Wednesday during Big 12 Media Days that his team is focused on a successful 2023 season rather than the competition that awaits in the SEC.

“I know there’s been so much talk about the SEC and what’s happening in 2024, but I think one thing I love about the team that we have this year is their focus on 2023 and this opportunity we have here in the Big 12,” Sarkisian said. “It’s going to be a heck of a season.” 

While some spectators argue this final season could be an awkward transition period for the team, Sarkisian said he has a roster full of athletes who want to be Big 12 champions and don’t see this season as one to be dismissed. 

“I feel like this team is on a mission because that’s the approach they have every day that they show up in the facility,” Sarkisian said. “They’ve bought into this thing, and more than they’ve bought into it, they’ve elevated it.” 

The 2023 roster includes many upperclassmen who have grown alongside Sarkisian and are now in their third year under his guidance, like Jaylan Ford, Xavier Worthy and Jahdae Barron. Sarkisian emphasized the importance of veteran players over newcomers since they provide the necessary motivation and knowledge for success. 

“I know a lot is made of the players that we’ve brought in, but we’ve got a lot of veteran players that came to the University of Texas to win a championship,” Sarkisian said. “They bought into a new coach, a new coaching staff, a new style of play, a new culture, and inevitably they’re leaders on our team now.”

As expectations for the Longhorns seem to have peaked, Sarkisian said one of the responsibilities for Texas athletes is to meet those presumptions. He said the players don’t shy away from the pressure but instead acknowledge it and “push it to the side.”  

“I think we’ve got a mature enough team to respect what you guys think of us, but at the end of the day, now we have to get back to work,” Sarkisian said. “What will ultimately define us is how we play on Saturdays, and that’s what we’ve got to focus on.”    

With football season ticket sales selling out in June, all eyes will be on the Longhorns as they hope to fulfill their goal of playing on one of the biggest stages in college football on Dec. 2 in Arlington. 

“I know there’s a lot of excitement in the air,” Sarkisian said. “I know we’re excited as a team, our coaching staff, our players, and I want to commend our players for their commitment…we’re looking forward to September and putting it all on the field.”  

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About the Contributor
Emma Hutchinson, Senior Sports Reporter
Emma is a journalism sophomore from Prosper, Texas and is probably watching Dallas Mavericks highlights as you read this. She currently works on the women’s basketball beat as a senior reporter, but has previously reported on men’s swim and dive and softball. In addition to watching the Mavericks, she enjoys spending her free time with the people she loves most, usually by grabbing some coffee or boba with them.