The Texas Longhorns were able to escape Houston with a win, but it cost them their QB1 along with other injuries to the defense. Are you more concerned with Quinn’s shoulder sprain? Or with the lingering injuries to the secondary that have kept Ryan Watts and Jalen Catalon out along with limiting Jahdae Barron?
Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - Quarterback is the most important position on the field so it’s tempting to go with that, but I’m going to say the secondary depth has my full attention. That group really struggled on Saturday and I think the struggles extend to the headsets on the sidelines. They HAVE to be better than what they were on Saturday or Texas will not have a chance to make it back to Arlington for a potential rematch with OU.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - We saw the instant impact of the injuries in the secondary against Houston, as the Cougars played a very “find grass” offense and took advantage of the struggles in the secondary. I think from a sheer proportions standpoint, there is more of a backstop at quarterback than there is in the secondary right now, so once Texas gets back to playing teams that can stretch the field, it will once again be something to watch.
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - I’ll say the secondary because I think the Longhorn's run game will be good enough for Maalik or Arch to lean on. The secondary has struggled in two straight games and if not for a bad spot and a bad Donovan Smith throw on 4th down, Texas could be looking at back-to-back losses. PK had to lean on a walk-on and a pair of true freshmen and Houston exposed them. I think they’ll be able to handle BYU without Watts, Catalan, and Barron but Kansas State could be a real problem.
Sark said on Thursday that Maalik Murphy will be the starter against BYU with Ewers officially out. Do you want to see Arch Manning get playing time? Or stick with Murphy?
Daniel - I think it will be Maalik the whole way unless they are blowing out BYU or things are not going well with Murphy under center. You don’t want to just randomly insert Arch into the game unless you have some kind of plan.
Gerald - I want to see Arch Manning get playing time because Texas is up by four touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Rotating quarterbacks is rarely the answer, but I do hope for garbage time reps against BYU.
Cameron - Going off of Sark’s comments this week and his history with quarterbacks, I don’t expect to see Arch on Saturday (unless it's a blowout) and I think that’s the right call. It’ll be Murphy’s first career start and let him gain confidence and work through the ups and downs.
Does the injury to Ewers change your expectations of the season going forward? Can the Longhorns survive his absence and still make the Big 12 Championship game?
Daniel - It lowers the ceiling for now until we figure out what Maalik can give you with starter reps. The kid is confident and talented, so I’m not rolling out potentially that Texas can still make a run, but I have to see how things go this week.
Gerald - Frankly, I think BYU is a team that Texas can get via running the ball, while Kansas State is going to be a game that rests on Texas’s run defense. There’s a reason why Sark seemingly was all-in on Murphy, so I think we have to wait and see if that comes to pass before making judgments.
Cameron - With or without Ewers, I’m a bit concerned about Kansas State’s two-headed attack at QB with Will Howard and Avery Johnson against a possible depleted defense. Despite the injuries, Texas will be favored in every game the rest of the way and will the be most talented. For me, the expectation should still be reaching the Big 12 Championship.
Will Texas avoid an upset to BYU or will the ghost of Taysom Hill plague the Longhorns?
Daniel (6-1) - I think Texas is going to give BYU a heavy dose of the run game to protect Murphy in his first start, while still taking some shots to keep the defense honest. I’m thinking something along the lines of Texas 27, BYU 20.
Gerald (6-1) - This is going to be the Jonathon Brooks game. Texas 35-BYU 14
Cameron (5-2) - Texas 31, BYU 13. The Cougars forced five turnovers against Texas Tech and still only scored 27 points. The Longhorns must avoid a performance like that, especially with a young quarterback. Let Jonathon Brooks and Cedric Baxter cook and get ready for Kansas State.