Texas AD defends Sarkisian and urges fans not to ‘splinter’

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas athletics director Chris Del Conte on Wednesday urged Texas fans not to “splinter or pull …

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas athletics director Chris Del Conte on Wednesday urged Texas fans not to “splinter or split,” but rather support first-year football coach Steve Sarkisian and the players during the program’s worst losing streak in 65 years.

“I know we are all really disappointed and a lot is being said, but it is not time to shatter or break up in any way. We need to stay positive and stay united as a Longhorn family,” he wrote. Del Conte in his weekly message.

“We know there are better days ahead, and I know you will continue to be the wind under our wings to help lead us there,” Del Conte wrote.

Texas, which began the season as No. 21, has lost five in a row. That includes last week’s 57-56 overtime loss to Kansas, which had not won away in the Big 12 since 2008, a series of 56 games.

Texas’ slipout is the program’s worst since a 1-9 season in 1956. The Longhorns must win their last two games against West Virginia and Kansas State to qualify for a bowl.

Del Conte wrote more than 700 words to defend Sarkisian, his staff and the players. The announcement noted the high attrition from high-ranking recruitment classes in 2018 and 2019; a flu outbreak that kept more than 25 players out of training for part of last week; and season-ending injuries to tailback Bijan Robinson and defensive back Josh Thompson.

“This is not to blame or make excuses; it’s just factual that we have some real depth issues,” Del Conte wrote.

He also strongly suggested that Sarkisian will not be asked to make changes to his staff during the low season. Sarkisian is in the first year of a six-year guaranteed contract worth about $ 34 million.

“We have a group of coaches who are proven and have a wealth of experience. They have all succeeded at the highest level. They will also help us do that here. The boys are struggling with their butts on the track and we have a really good group of student-athletes who give everything they have, Del Conte wrote.

Sarkisian, a former head coach of Washington and Southern California, was the offensive coordinator the previous two seasons in Alabama and won the 2020 national championship with the Crimson Tide.

He moved to Austin after Texas fired Tom Herman after four win seasons and four bowl wins, but no Big 12 championships.

“Coach Sark is building a culture, he has a huge group of coaches with him, and we provide all the support we can muster to help them redirect our program,” Del Conte wrote.

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