What are the keys to Texas football having a successful season?

Steve Sarkisian and Texas are looking to bounce back from a hellish 2021 season.

The Longhorns suffered a historic slump against Oklahoma, which then led to a historic six-game losing streak.

Sarkisian and his team have focused on revamping the roster this offseason, as there has been significant turnover with more than 30 new scholarship players joining the team. Each of them was very necessary as the Longhorns were home to a very inconsistent offense and a defense so ineffective at times that traffic cones could have been more effective.

Whether from the transfer portal or from the high school ranks, Texas has improved at seemingly every position possible.

However, there are some things Texas will need to do to turn 5-7 into 9-3 or maybe better.

Let’s take a look at the main keys to Texas having a successful season in 2022.

Improved offensive line play

Scott Wachter – USA TODAY Sports

This one goes without saying, but the offensive line was the team’s worst unit last season. Kyle Flood walked through different lineups multiple times, moved people around, and even peeked at players lower on the depth chart to no avail. Whether it was Casey Thompson or Hudson Card, they felt a ton of pressure and never really looked comfortable in the pocket. While Coach Flood and Sarkisian probably don’t want it, it’s possible we could see freshmen Kelvin Banks and Devon Campbell slot into the roster. Whatever it takes to improve that unit needs to be done, and signing what could be the program’s best offensive line class in school history should help right away.

Get more quarterback

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Texas’ pass rush was non-existent last season, as reserve linebacker Ben Davis led the team in sacks with 2.5, and Alfred Collins led the team in pressures with 15, which n is by no means great. The Longhorns missed a handful of pass rushers in the transfer gate, so they’ll either rely on former reserves like Barynn Sorell or a freshman like Judge Finkley to fill that role.

The linebacking group received a major boost with the transfer of James Madison Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey recently, which could free up DeMarvion Overshown or another linebacker to help rush the passer further. In the end, it doesn’t matter where the pressure comes from, but the Longhorns can’t continue to give quarterbacks enough time when they fall back because it exposes the rest of the defense’s flaws.

Best In-Game Adjustments

Scott Wachter – USA TODAY Sports

While football requires players to execute a game plan, it also requires coaches to position their players to succeed. In every loss of the season and even in some of the wins, the Longhorns have been outplayed by their opponents in the second half. The staff needs to be more proactive in preparing the team for what to expect in the next half or the Longhorns will continue to build leads and lose them. There’s no reason to blow a double-digit lead, let alone several. This will probably be something the defensive side of the ball will need to improve on as they are currently the weak link in the team.

Culture improvement

Syndication: Austin American-Stateman

Not only did Texas blow out several games in which they had double-digit leads, but it seemed as soon as something went wrong the team didn’t know how to bounce back. The Longhorns have struggled to deal with adversity, and based on rumors about some players leaving the program, the team is much more connected heading into next season. In each of the losses there was a particular game, whether it was Caleb Williams’ run at Red River or Casey Thompson’s pick six against Oklahoma State, where the team seemed flabbergasted and unable to recover.

The biggest test for the team’s culture and mental toughness will be the Week 2 game against Alabama. While there’s a chance the Longhorns could pull off the upset, there’s also a chance Alabama beat them by 30. This game can’t determine how the rest of the season plays out, no matter what. results. It’s up to Sarkisian and the team leaders to instill confidence in the rest of the team and make sure everyone truly believes in each other.

Transfers must excel immediately

Syndication: Austin American-Stateman

Texas introduced one of the best transfer classes in the country, which currently ranks 6th in the country. They need each of the transfers to produce to some degree, as receiver Isaiah Neyor should be as good as Xavier Worthy and quarterback Quinn Ewers has been named the next big without even attempting a pass. The pressure is on for the program to succeed, and the transfer class they’ve brought will be a determining factor if the Longhorns are around seven wins, or if they’re in contention for a conference title and beyond.

Texas missed out on transfers under Tom Herman and even some of the transfers Sarkisian brought in last season, there’s no room for error this time around. Realistically, all but two transfers will be starters, and the two who are unlikely to be will still be key contributors off the bench. Transfers play just as much of a role in changing the culture as players who have been in Texas their entire careers, the program needs elite production and they need it now.

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