Texas used the bye week to rekindle its competitive spirit.

Notes from Steve Sarkisian’s press conference.

   It’s a game week for the Texas Longhorns after their bye, and Steve Sarkisian and his staff used it to start the second half of the season.

   Sark said the team used the bye week to improve on some areas he wanted them to improve on. He’s also glad to see some of the blown guys recover “as best we can.” Jake Majors, Ja’Tavion Sanders, Ryan Watts and Cole Hutson all practiced Monday, with Hutson the most limited of the group. “I have to decide during this week who is ready to play.”

   Sark will provide a clearer update on his game day status during Thursday’s media availability. Self-evaluation: In the bye week, Sark said he gave the team some serious self-evaluation, thinking “the effectiveness of being aggressive stood out to me.”

   Sark said the team is playing at a high level offensively, but mentioned that red zone coverage “is an area where we want to be the team that we believe we can be, we have to take it to the next level.” When asked why they’ve struggled so much in the red zone, Sark insisted they need to “plan games better and execute better.”

   Defensively, Sark wants to see them make more moves. “Sometimes things can get lost during the season and we try to defend the run and the pass and everything, but we have to constantly emphasize as a staff to get the ball out of our opponents’ hands.”

   Sark also wants to be more effective on special teams, especially blocking kicks and field goals. He thought Texas should have blocked two punts against Oklahoma and is “really close” to blocking field goals. “Overall, I’m happy with where we are now in all three phases, but I also know that we can be better and our job is to motivate the kids to improve in the second half of the season.”

   Donovan Smith: “We’re getting ready to play an experienced quarterback … who we all know too well … and how he played against us a year ago.”

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