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

Sarkisian’s return to Tuscaloosa nears as Texas prepares for top five road matchup

Assad Malik

With the countdown to the much anticipated Alabama versus Texas football game drawing closer, Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian reflected on returning back to his former employers.

“I’ve been fortunate; my two mentors in Pete Carroll and Nick Saban … both valued the mentorship aspect of it and poured in a lot to their assistant coaches,” Sarkisian said.

Before joining the Longhorns as head coach in 2021, Sarkisian spent two years as the offensive coordinator under Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban. There, Sarkisian won a national championship in 2020 alongside Saban, who mentored him prior to Sarkisian’s exit.

“I grew at my time at Alabama,” Sarkisian said. “I became a better coach. I became a better leader. I became a better communicator.”

Despite the daunting task of taking down one of college football’s most successful coaches, Sarkisian remains concentrated on his own guys. 

“We’re focused on what we need to do,” Sarkisian said. “The moment you start focusing on what the outcome could be — what the result could be — the game hits you in the mouth.”

The Longhorns spent the first week of the season cruising by Rice, defeating the Owls 37-10 on home turf for its final home opener in the Big 12. Despite early struggles with deep passes and converting on later down plays, Sarkisian still holds faith in his sophomore starting quarterback Quinn Ewers.

“I think there’s just a level of confidence in Quinn,” Sarkisian said. “I think he’s in a good space and ready to go this week.”

Besides his familiarity with the coaching staff in Tuscaloosa, Sarkisian knows Alabama starting quarterback Jalen Milroe well. Sarkisian was the one to recruit Milroe to Alabama, with Milroe signing his letter of intent to Alabama six months after decommitting from Texas and one month before Sarkisian was hired for the job in Austin.

“Jalen (Milroe) is a fantastic player,” Sarkisian said. “He can make every throw in the book, off platform, on the run, doesn’t matter. (And) he’s a tremendous runner.”

Milroe is a textbook dual-threat quarterback, able to make plays with his arm and his legs with his 6 foot, 2 inch and 220 pound frame. Though not fully unfamiliar for this Texas defense, it will be a new challenge that was less a part of former Alabama quarterback Bryce Young’s skillset a year prior.

“He can do so much,” senior defensive back Jahdae Barron said about Milroe. “He has a great arm, but he can also run. So (we need) to just disrupt him.”

On the Texas side of the ball, Sarkisian said freshman running back CJ Baxter returned to practice but did not make any statements about his availability on Saturday. No remarks were made on who would start between sophomore guards DJ Campbell and Cole Hutson on Saturday, though Sarkisian did say after the Rice game that Hutson had been “nicked up” the week leading up to the Rice game. 

With three more days of preparation before the big night, it’s all confidence and excitement for the Longhorn players.

“This is all a blessing,” Barron said. “This is the thing little kids dream of. … I’m happy and excited.”

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About the Contributors
Evan Vieth, Senior Sports Reporter
Evan is a junior journalism major and the sports editor for the Texan. He is originally from Washington DC and has covered UT sports for 4 semesters and counting. He has covered the Men's Tennis, Soccer, Baseball and Football teams and had the opportunity to write about the 2023 Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl.
Assad Malik, Photo Editor
Assad Malik is a sophomore RTF major at UT and serves as the Photo Editor for The Daily Texan.