Tomorrow’s Orange-White spring game kicks off, and unlike last year, it should somewhat resemble an actual football game. What will you be paying close attention to tomorrow?
Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - Obviously I will paying attention to the quarterbacks like most people, but I will be paying close attention to the interior offensive line as well. The tackle spots are spoken for with Kelvin Banks and Christian Jones returning, but there has been healthy and spirited competition at both guard spots even with some guys being out with injuries. I’m curious to see how some of the young pups have come along this spring.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - I think the group I am the most curious about is the interior of the offensive line. We’re not going to get a true look at what the unit could be with DJ Campbell sidelined with a wrist injury, but I still want to see how that group has developed. It’s not a hot take to say that Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson papered over some of the issues that plagued Texas blocking a year ago, so that’s a group I’ll definitely have my eyes on.
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - The battle in the trenches. How does the left side of the offensive line look? How do Byron Murphy and Alfred Collins look? After the OL’s performance against Washington, I’d love to see how the run game looks. Can that be a positive for the offense or was Texas too reliant on Bijan and Roschon?
Who would you like to see have a good showing?
Daniel - Collectively I would like to see QB1 and his wide receivers have a good showing so that we can see improved chemistry across the board. There is a good mix of vets and underclassmen in the wide receiver that got a good amount of work this spring, so I want to see if they are coming out of the spring on the same page.
Gerald - The linebackers overall. That group was a strength for the Texas defense and a big reason why we saw them level up from 2022 to 2023, so it would nice to see strong returns. Whether it’s David Gbenda, Morice Blackwell, or one of the 2023 early enrollees, the ability of the linebackers is clearly an unlock for this defense so if they want to build on last year’s success that will be a big deal.
Cameron - Savion Red. We’ve heard a lot about him during the spring practices and Sark needs someone from the RB/WR group to step up that isn’t already named Worthy, Sanders, or Whittington. Can Red be the X-factor in this year’s offense?
What are you expecting out of Arch Manning and the Quarterbacks in general?
Daniel - Given that the teams will be mixed up I’m expecting a mixed bag from all the quarterbacks to some degree. There has been a lot of buzz that the defensive secondary is looking like a team strength, so I’m expecting things to be a little up and down given that the QB room is still relatively young and inexperienced.
Gerald - I honestly don’t know if I expect a ton from Arch specifically, because all reports seem to be that QE and Maalik Murphy are the top two on the depth chart. That being said, I want to see better ball placement on deep routes. We know they all can sling the rock, but throwing a ball to make it a bit easier for your WRs to come down with it is obviously not a bad thing.
Cameron - As much as everyone will have eyes on Arch, I’m intrigued to see how Maalik Murphy looks after all of his injuries. For Quinn, I hope we aren’t talking about him tomorrow because that means he went out and played solid.
Score predictions? Just kidding. Let’s close out on the court. It was no surprise to see Tyrese Hunter and Dillon Mitchell both declare for the NBA draft while keeping the door open for a return to Austin, but the transfers of Rowan Braumbaugh and Arterio Morris and the decommittment of A.J. Johnson have been a little unsettling. Any cause for concern with the current shape of the roster?
Daniel - The AJ Johnson news was the most concerning bit of news by far, as it looked like RT and his staff were going to be able to hang onto him and get him to campus. Hitting the portal hard was already in the cards for the staff, but there is no way of candying up Johnson opting to go abroad. Terry and his staff have a lot of work ahead of them and a lot of minutes up for grabs going forward. This is the first big challenge they are facing together as they try to build upon the success they tasted this past season.
Gerald - I mean, there’s obviously cause for concern, but it’s also the second week of April so I am not ready to sell the farm yet. I would be surprised if Texas didn’t get at least one of those NBA Draft guys back in the fold and add pieces from the portal in the coming weeks.
Cameron - The transfer window isn’t over yet. I’m going to let Rodney Terry retool his team before jumping to conclusions. Everyone is up in arms over A.J. Johnson’s decision to play in the Australian NBL but folks, some kids just don’t want to go to college. There wasn’t much RT could do. I fully expect Tyrese Hunter and Dillon Mitchell to return but would love to see Terry land Max Abmas from Oral Roberts or another guard.