He texas longhorns nearly beat Nick Saban and No. 1 Alabama in 2022, and Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian believes his 2023 roster has the ability to clear the hurdle.
Sarkisian talked about what it takes to beat Alabama in The 12 great days of the media on Wednesday, saying his team contains the traits needed to upset Week 2 of the 2023 college football season.
«We thought we played them well a year ago,» Sarkisian said, according to the Big 12 transcript. «We didn’t play well enough. So the key drill when we get there is we have to play better than we did last year.»
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«I think we can. I think we’ll have the mental strength to do it, the mental strength to do it and the physical strength to do it because it’s going to be a physical football game. They’re a great physical football team that will be very well trained, and we have to make sure make sure they get our best shot because I’m sure we’re going to get theirs too.»
The Longhorns came within minutes of pulling off an upset in Austin, Texas, last season, taking a 19-17 lead over Alabama with just 1:29 remaining in the game.
However, Alabama quarterback young bryce he drove the Crimson Tide down the field with his legs and arm, putting kicker Will Reichard in range for the game-winning 33-yard field goal.
Texas will head to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on September 9 seeking to deliver the crimson tide only their second loss at home since 2016.
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«Wherever we go, we have to recognize that we are the University of Texas,» Sarkisian said. «We’re going to get the best shot ever. Alabama is no different. Coach Saban is going to have that team ready to go. We have to make sure they get our best shot. We have to prepare very well. We have to embrace the moment and understand what It’s that moment, and we have to play good football».
The Longhorns’ offense returns with nine starters starting in 2022, including quarterback Quinn Ewers, who enters his second year in Sarkisian’s offense.
The list was good enough to finish at the top of the Big 12 preseason poll – voted on by media representatives – for the first time since the conference moved to a non-split format in 2011.
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The Longhorns received 41 of 67 first-place votes, with the 2022 champion kansas state receiving 14 votes.
«I think we have a team mature enough to respect what they think of us, but at the end of the day, now we have to get back to work,» Sarkisian said when asked about being picked to win the conference. «Expectations are just that. What will ultimately define us is how we play on Saturdays, and that’s what we need to focus on.»