As Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian navigates the most difficult quarterback decision of his head-coaching career, there’s still no timetable to announce the winner of that battle, comparing it to recruiting.
“I always talk to these kids in recruiting, if they’re going to make a commitment on this date in recruiting, right? But then that date comes in, they’re not ready to decide, but they’ve already made that ‘Hey, this is the date I’m making my commitment.’ They don’t really know where they’re going to go and then they make irrational decisions,” Sarkisian said on Tuesday.
So Sarkisian still plans on trusting his gut as he evaluates the competition between junior Casey Thompson and redshirt freshman Hudson Card. In 18 days, a first-team quarterback will trot out with the first-team offense at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium against Louisiana. Sarkisian wants to make the decision before then, but he certainly didn’t rule out the possibility that the battle will extend into game week.
Coming out of Saturday’s scrimmage, this week of practice looms large after Thompson and Card both struggled in the most significant practice since the Orange-White game in April.
After watching Saturday’s film, Sarkisian said he was most disappointed that the quarterbacks didn’t trust their preparation and training, discarding some of the fundamentals that helped them succeed throughout the start of preseason camp.
“That was probably the biggest thing for me that was a disappointment was just trusting what you had done to build for that moment and then continue to do it,” Sarkisian said.
Sarkisian and the offensive staff spent the last several days holding Card and Thompson accountable for their mistakes and were rewarded with better play from the duo.
“They’ve really tried to apply the things that we’ve asked them to do and so, coming out of the scrimmage we coached them hard and they took the coaching and applied it and they performed really well the last two days and now we need to continue to build upon that throughout the week,” Sarkisian said.
On Tuesday, the most notable development was Card working with the first-team offense during an 11-on-11 portion of practice opened to the media. Publicly, at least, Sarkisian downplayed the significance of the decision to place Card with the starters.
“No, we’ve been rotating the guys pretty good with the ones in the twos and trying to get them in different scenarios, whether it’s a two minute, whether it’s a fastball period, whether it’s third-down blitz, red area, and there’s a lot of aspects that make up the game obviously and so trying to give everybody ample opportunities to play in the various scenarios, put them in some tough situations,” Sarkisian said.
With Texas set to begin preparations for Louisiana next week, the next several practices and Saturday’s second scrimmage could determine which quarterback has the advantage. But whether Card is starting to create that necessary separation is still largely unclear.