What Steve Sarkisian said before the Kansas State game

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As if Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn wasn’t enough to prepare opposing teams, Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian said his team is preparing for two completely different styles of quarterbacks for Saturday’s game.

The Wildcats’ wide-ranging offense is one of the reasons they’re ranked No. 13 in the Associated Press Top 25, and backup quarterback Will Howard had a redeeming performance last week in a 48-0 romp over Oklahoma State.

With the status of Wildcats quarterback Adrian Martinez unknown, Sarkisian said Monday that he’s preparing for both Martinez’s mobility and Howard’s vertical passing because he “has to.”

“The style of player that Adrian Martinez is, the play of the point guard is a real factor in the success they’ve had with him,” Sarkisian said. “Howard has the ability to throw the ball and push it downfield. We are lucky that we have two weeks to prepare, and whoever is playing, they are both good. We have to be ready for both.”

Martinez, who transferred from Nebraska in the offseason, was a late scratch from the Oklahoma State game with an injury, paving the way for Howard to win back some fans in a big way after a few years that may not have lived up to fan expectations. when he played before.

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Howard threw for 296 yards with four touchdowns on 21-of-37 passing in the Wildcats’ win over the Cowboys. With the win, Kansas State moved into second place in the Big 12 standings behind TCU.

Sarkisian knows the program quite well, despite only coaching in the Big 12 for two seasons. He was recruited by legendary Kansas State coach Bill Snyder before eventually going to BYU to play quarterback for the Cougars, and after coaching the college ranks after his playing days, he saw the impact Snyder had on the program.

Sarkisian told a quick story about his last collegiate game, which was against Kansas State in the 1997 Cotton Bowl. BYU won the game 19-15 and Sarkisian threw a perfect pass to KO Kealaluhi with 3:39 left in the game to lift the Cougars to victory. Sarkisian finished the game with 21:36 passing for 291 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to rally the Cougars from a 15-5 deficit after three quarters. Sarkisian said Snyder subsequently texted him congratulating him on a good game.

“There’s a lot of integrity in the way they go about their business, and I think they’re doing it the right way,” Sarkisian said. “It started with coach Snyder and obviously the coach. [Chris] Klieman has done a great job and continued this process.”

Sarkisian said the bye week was great for what the team needed to do — heal the bruises and develop depth — and defensive backs Anthony Cook and Ryan Watts headed in the right direction in terms of being able to play again. Both left the Longhorns’ previous game with injuries, Cook with a broken hand and Watts aggravated by a shoulder injury suffered against Iowa State.

Sarkisian said it’s “a little too early” to decide whether any of the players will play against Kansas State, but everyone who was hit was able to get healthier, he said.

Preparing for two types of quarterback and one of the best running backs in the conference in Vaughn is, to use the season’s descriptive term, pretty scary. Vaughn is second in the Big 12 with 902 rushing yards with five touchdowns. He had one of his best games of the season last week, a 153-yard performance against Oklahoma State, and has had success against the Longhorns in the past. Last year, the Cedar Ridge graduate rushed for 143 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown against the Longhorns. In 2020, Vaughn needed just 10 carries for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

“He’s a really versatile back,” Sarkisian said. “They do a good job of being creative with him, moving him around and he has great balance and body control. He can make you miss in tight spots and keep you off balance in the power run game. You definitely have to be aware of where he is at all times.”

Texas and Kansas State will kick off Saturday at 6:00 PM CT from Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas. The game will be televised on FS1, the Fox Sports cable network.

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