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Red River Week: Key Points from Sarkisian's 10/3 Presser

Ryan Swantkowski
Ryan Swantkowski

Steve Sarkisian opened up Monday’s OU week press conference by stating his satisfaction with the Longhorns' 20-38 win over West Virginia on Saturday:  "Defensively, we are so close... we have to continue to play with that effort and tenacity" and mentioned the offensive efficiency, only having five 4th downs all game, along with the overall success of the special teams unit. He was next asked about the health of his quarterbacks and claimed that they "are healthier than they have ever been since the start of the season" at the position. 

Moving into the questions regarding the Oklahoma game this weekend, the Cotton Bowl stadium and the overall atmosphere, Sarkisian made it clear that he understands the task and rivalry at hand. The Sooners had a few major injuries in their game on Saturday versus TCU but "we know more than ever that we are going to get the best version of them... we need to make sure they get the best version of us,” says Sarkisian. "They are a very talented team... we need to play a very good football game to come out victorious" while mentioning that Oklahoma's offensive tempo and physicality is something to be aware of. He also touched on their defensive pressure packages and the experience of head coach Brent Venables. Regarding the Cotton Bowl, Sarkisian pointed out that the stadium is basically split in half and states that on "one end of the field it's a home game, on the other end of the field it's a road game" and mentions offensively that the "crowd noise got to us a little bit" regarding last year's game and that the snap counts may change due to it this year. As far as the atmosphere around the game goes, Sarkisian has preached his love for the pageantry of college football and says he had "goosebumps" just thinking about it all on Saturday. 

Sarkisian was asked throughout the presser about Xavier Worthy and the WR corps, TE Ja'Tavion Sanders and the health of WVU RB CJ Anderson. Sark emphasized the quality of the past 2 weeks of practice for the WR crew as a group and loves how they are operating in a "high-level" system that can help them at the next level as well. For Sanders, Sarkisian praised his growth and loves "the progression he has made to get to this point". Sanders had 2 touchdowns in Saturday's win over West Virginia. Lastly, Sarkisian mentioned that he recently reached out again to Head Coach Neal Brown regarding CJ Anderson's status and to make sure he was doing ok after he was stretchered-off the field in the 3rd quarter. The injury is believed to be a concussion. He also mentioned other severe injuries to players in the NFL like Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa that "really shook him" and Oklahoma players as well, saying "Our game is a beautiful game but it is a violent sport... it's about safety first... and making sure we aren't putting players in position to further injure themselves". 

The Longhorns will kickoff on Saturday at 11 A.M. in Dallas to take on the program’s biggest Big 12 rival. Will they avenge their blown lead from last season, or will the Sooners take home the gold hat yet again? 

-Twitter: @RSwantkowski

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