AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Longhorns opening training camp for the 2018 season is on Friday, and as they head into the first practice of the year, they know one thing: Sam Ehlinger will take the first snap.
“He’s earned that because obviously just going all the way back to the winter where Shane [Buechele] was hurt, rehabbing,” Herman said at the team’s press conference to open camp.
But just because the sophomore from Westlake will take the first snap in practice, that doesn’t mean he’s the starter.
“I don’t think it’s any different than the previous competitions,” Ehlinger said. “The first snap isn’t gonna predict who’s gonna play the first snap of Maryland. It really doesn’t matter to either of us, and I think it’s gonna be a great competition throughout.”
It’ll be the second year in a row that Ehlinger and Buechele battle for the starting job.
Last year, Buechele got the start in both the first and last games of the season. They both played in nine games, with the older Buechele making seven starts and Ehlinger making six. They both played in the same game five times.
“You just gotta turn it up a little bit — a little bit more and a little bit more,” Buechele said about the competition with Ehlinger. “You gotta keep turning it up. You just gotta bring a fire to the field and be excited about going out every day and go battling. I am excited for this battle that we’re about to go through during fall camp and what it comes out to be.”
While the two veteran QBs will rotate reps with the first team offense, true freshman Cameron Rising will also get some reps with the ones, though most of his time will be spent splitting reps with Casey Thompson with the second team.
In terms of naming a starter, Herman would prefer to have an answer early in camp, but he’s not gonna force the issue.
“The sooner the better, for sure, but as I’ve said before, coaches really don’t make that decision,” Herman said. “The players themselves make that decision when they separate themselves, when the team starts to gravitate, when the ball moves more when you’re in there versus when the other guy is in there.”
Both quarterbacks are aware that their play during practice will determine the all-important question.
“It’s whoever moves the ball down the field,” Buechele said. “It’s whoever leads the team. There’s a bunch of different aspects of how I can tell [who the starter will be], but ultimately it is the coaches’ decision on when it happens, who it is. My job is to just keep leading the team, having a great battle in that quarterback room and doing everything that I can do.”
While Ehlinger seems to have the upper hand in winning the job, he welcomes the competition.
“It’s gonna be a day-by-day process,” Ehlinger said. “I don’t think I’ll ever know when it’s time for them to name it, and I think that’s why it’s up to them and that’s why they’re coaches. But I think just going out there every day and doing what we’re supposed to do is gonna help [determine the starter].”