Thursday’s media availability with Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian quickly addressed the program’s most pressing question — has Sarkisian made a decision yet in the quarterback competition between junior Casey Thompson and redshirt freshman Hudson Card?
“No, I have not named one, so I guess there’s nothing to share,” Sarkisian said before offering an apology to the reporter who asked the question.
The quarterback questions kept coming in an attempt to determine how Sarkisian has been distributing snaps between the two players.
“Well, quite frankly, the reps have been split 50-50, half the with the ones, half with the twos,” said the Texas head coach.
The statement from Sarkisian didn’t directly contradict Wednesday’s report that he’s leaning towards Card over Thompson, but it did contradict a different report that Card has been taking more first-team reps in practice.
But is Sarkisian merely maintaining that publicly as a matter of gamesmanship to keep the season-opening opponent, Louisiana, from beginning to prepare for one quarterback over the other? Is there advantage in holding off from naming a starter?
“Me personally, I don’t think there’s much of an advantage,” Sarkisian said. “I’ve never worried too much about it from the other side.”
Sarkisian noted that it might make a difference in a situation where one quarterback is a pocket passer and the other is an elite runner, but most teams have a system they run and a game plan they devise that doesn’t vary to the degree imposed by having such extremely varied skill sets.
“None of how we’re operating is trying to create a competitive advantage, it’s truly about trying to do what’s best for our football team to have success come September 4,” Sarkisian said.
When Sarkisian does name a starter, it could impact the backup’s long-term future with the program. Likely not immediately, as there’s no real advantage in transferring during the season, but there is a strong chance that backup enters the NCAA transfer portal in December or January, at least to assess their options.
Sarkisian isn’t worried about that possibility, though.
“I can’t worry about that — I have to make decisions that are in the best interests of the entire football organization and our entire team,” Sarkisian said. “The moment you start worrying about the what ifs, about one player, I think that’s when you get hesitant in your decision making and you end up starting to make decisions that aren’t in the best interest of your team.”
And so the quarterback battle continues.