September 25, 2022

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian met with reporters Tuesday as the 2022 season quickly approaches, and of course he addressed the high-profile battle under center entering the fall for the Longhorns. Sophomore Hudson Card and freshman Quinn Ewers will be in the eye for the starting job, and Sarkisian expressed his excitement about the two viable options to lead his high-powered offense.

“I’m excited for both of those guys,” Sarkisian said. “They’re both great teammates, both really coachable, both highly competitive, dynamic young men who both would love to take the field when the team takes the field on Sept. 3.”

Sarkisian continued to admit that he doesn’t have a timetable for naming a starting quarterback, though he played dumb when asked the question.

“I think I have an idea in my head,” Sarkisian said. “But I’m not going to tell you guys.”

At some point, though, either Ewers or Card will emerge as winners and eventually take the first snaps when the Longhorns face ULM to start the season. This program is in desperate need of a shot in the arm after Sarkeesian led Texas to the worst season for a freshman coach at the 40 Acres since Dana X. Bible in 1937, and picking the right pick would provide just that.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Longhorns’ battle as Ewers and Card prepare for this month’s contest.

Ewers is the golden child

Before Arch Manning committed to the program during the offseason, Ewers was the rebound the program desperately needed for Sarkisian after a 5-7 season. Ewers ranked as the first perfect 1.0000 quarterback since Vince Young and was ranked as the best player in Texas during his time at Carroll High School in Southlake (Texas). He led his Dragons to the Class 6A Division I State Championship Game in 2020.

Losing Ewers as a freshman at Ohio State spelled the end of the Tom Herman era at Texas. However, Sarkisian snapped up Evers as a transfer after one redshirt season at Ohio State. Ewers’ commitment helped lead a top-five transfer class with four players entering the fray.

Ewers has a perfect quarterback profile. His arm is one of the strongest and strongest of any quarterback in recent memory, and he’s comfortable flying off the platform and passing with confidence and accuracy. There’s just one problem: Ewers has never thrown a college football snap, having last thrown against live games as a high school junior in 2020.

Landing Ewers was a get-out-of-jail-free card for Sarkisian after his miserable debut season. If Ewers doesn’t live up to his lofty expectations, the Longhorns are in a tough spot heading into 2022.

However, the card has system experience

With all the hype surrounding Texas’ quarterback acquisitions under Sarkeesian, it’s easy to forget that Card was a great recruit who chose to stay home. Card was ranked as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in Texas and a top player in Austin after a standout career in Lake Travis and surprised the world by beating out Casey Thompson for the starting spot out of camp.

However, Card struggled in his second game — a crushing 40-21 loss to Arkansas — and didn’t play much after Thompson pulled the job. He completed 61.4% of his passes with five touchdowns and just one interception, but only threw more than 20 passes in a Big 12 game.

Card has one year in the system under Sarkisian’s tutelage and the staff knows his potential. He played wide receiver while waiting his turn under center in Lake Travis, so he provides a dynamic running threat that Ewers can’t quite match. Winning the job may hinge on whether he can gain poise and confidence in the pocket under pressure, a big step for a young quarterback playing behind a scrappy offensive line.

A critical decision awaits

Quarterback play wasn’t the reason the Longhorns went 5-7 last season. While Texas has grown the receiver room, many of the biggest issues from 2021 — offensive line and defensive depth issues first and foremost — remain in 2022. Improved quarterback play will have to carry Texas in 2022 if it hopes to it goes from below. 500 to compete for the Big 12. Texas is a co-favorite to win the Big 12 in Caesar’s Sports Book with +220 chances.

Last season, Sarkisian didn’t name a starter until a week before the first game. Even then, Card lasted just one game before Thompson took over the job after the loss at Arkansas. Even if Sarkisian names a starter, it might not be permanent. But in a season where Sarkisian needs to show life to keep the commitment of the No. 1 quarterback in the class — and what’s projected to be a top-5 group after several commitments — Texas can’t afford to take the answer is wrong.

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