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Steve Sarkisian says Texas had some ‘bad apples’ in his first season in Austin

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Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian is preparing to enter his second season in Austin, where expectations are always sky-high. 

Sarkisian’s first year did not go as planned, ending the season 5-7 and losing six consecutive games during October and November that included an embarrassing loss to Kansas, the program’s first loss to the Jayhawks since 2016.

Head coach Steve Sarkisian stands with his Longhorns players after the Orange-White Spring Game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on April 23, 2022, in Austin, Texas.

Head coach Steve Sarkisian stands with his Longhorns players after the Orange-White Spring Game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on April 23, 2022, in Austin, Texas.
(Tim Warner/Getty Images)

But with an offseason where Texas grabbed the headlines, getting a commitment from five-star 2023 quarterback Arch Manning and obtaining the services of Ohio State transfer Quinn Ewers, Sarkisian is looking for a bounce-back season in year two. 

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“Last year was difficult in having two players that were new to the [offensive] system, and that’s always hard, especially when one of them isn’t a returning starter who had really been in the fire,” Sarkisian said. “This year, even though they’re new, Hudson [Card]’s got a little experience, and Quinn is coming in from another program. The reality is Quinn should really be a freshman in college. He reclassified after preseason camp had started. It was kind of a wash of a season for him.”

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The Longhorns once again have a quarterback battle on their hands as Card and Ewers duke it out for starter. Regardless of who winds up winning the job, Sarkisian believes the supporting cast around the quarterback will be better built for success after the program was able to get rid of some “bad apples” from the previous season. 

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“The kids knew not everybody in that locker room was all-in last year,” Sarkisian said to ESPN. “I think they could feel it, and they wanted to weed out some of the warts, some of the bad apples. I think they got a sense of reality about some of the things we were talking about and trying to instill last offseason. I don’t know how much they gave credence to it, and then those same things reared their ugly head in-season.

Longhorns' Quinn Ewers, center, looks to the sideline for a play at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on April 23, 2022, in Austin, Texas.

Longhorns’ Quinn Ewers, center, looks to the sideline for a play at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on April 23, 2022, in Austin, Texas.
(Tim Warner/Getty Images)

“They came back in January with this mindset of, ‘We’ve got to take these things to heart because they will show up again.’ They’ve made that investment and bought into every aspect of it, and you can feel it among our team.”

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Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian looks on during the spring game on April 23, 2022, in Austin, Texas.

Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian looks on during the spring game on April 23, 2022, in Austin, Texas.
(Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Sarkisian says he “has an idea” of who he’ll name as starting quarterback, and would like to inform the team sooner rather than later as Texas prepares to take on Louisiana-Monroe in week one before welcoming Nick Saban and No. 1 Alabama to Austin on Sept. 10. 

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