3 questions Steve Sarkisian must answer after bad loss to Texas Tech

Steve Sarkisian, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Aaron E. Martinez/Austin American-Statesman via USA TODAY NETWORK
Steve Sarkisian, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Aaron E. Martinez/Austin American-Statesman via USA TODAY NETWORK /
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Will in-game adjustments come along for Sarkisian and his staff?

There is one overarching reason why the Longhorns keep losing games like this in Big 12 play when they hold a double-digit second-half lead. Sark and his staff aren’t able to make the necessary in-game adjustments coming out of the locker room after halftime to ward off some major pushes from Big 12 opposition in the last two quarters.

Last season, we saw the likes of Sark and co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Pete Kwiatkowski constantly miscalculate what their opponents were able to do in the second halves of games.

For example, Texas lost all forms of lane discipline in the second half last season when they coughed up the second-half double-digit lead to Oklahoma State. The Pokes were able to exploit missed assignments, poor fundamental tackling, and some obvious mental mistakes from a lapsing Texas defense in that loss for the Horns last season.

There are some similar qualms that I have from what Texas showed in the second half last season in the collapses against both Oklahoma and Baylor.

To sum this up, Sark and PK must show for the remainder of this season that they are more capable than just coming out of the gates strong with a good gameplan for the first half. Being prepared only for one half of football isn’t ever going to win the day for the Longhorns. This weekend’s loss to Tech was a great example of that.

We saw PK get exploited in the short and intermediate passing game for quarterback Donovan Smith and the Red Raiders. And he wasn’t able to make the necessary adjustments to stop them in that phase of the game, while also coming up with the short end of the stick on multiple fourth-down plays.

Meanwhile, Texas’ offensive gameplan also fell flat in the second half of this game. The creativity from Sark went out the window after the last touchdown run from star junior running back Bijan Robinson, which took place in the third quarter.

Some of the upcoming opponents for the Longhorns will really put this staff to the test. Texas is sure to face some motivated opposition in the next two weekends when facing West Virginia and then Oklahoma. Things won’t get much easier the two games after that, when Texas takes on some quality Big 12 foes in the Iowa State Cyclones (Oct. 15) and Oklahoma State (Oct. 22).

According to Sports Reference indexing, Texas holds a record of 2-6 in Big 12 play in games decided by a single-digit scoring margin under Sark. Considering Texas held a double-digit second-half lead in two-thirds of those games since the start of last season, you can see how many missed opportunities this team had in conference play in the last 13 months.

If Sark and his staff aren’t able to formulate more complete gameplans while showing the ability to make the necessary in-game adjustments, the October slate is going to be treacherous for this team.