AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas is beginning to put the pieces together for the 2019 season as the Longhorns are halfway through Spring Practice.
The Longhorns Orange-White Spring Game is April 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium. Before the Longhorns kick off, we’re diving in to how the current roster shapes up.
*This is part one of a KXAN series evaluating the Texas Longhorns spring football roster position by position*
Quarterbacks: Sam Ehlinger, Casey Thompson, Roschon Johnson
Breakdown: Texas has their guy returning at the quarterback position for the first time since 2014 when David Ash was expected to run the offense for Charlie Strong. The biggest question facing junior Sam Ehlinger is whether he can be healthy for a full season. The answer isn’t totally dependent on Ehlinger, but also on how often the coaching decides to use Ehlinger in the running game.
Ehlinger carried the ball 167 times for Texas during the 2018 season. For Ehlinger to play a full season and contend for national awards, that number will likely need to go down. He missed most of the Baylor game with a shoulder injury and the second half against Iowa State. Texas won’t have a proven back-up going into 2019 after Shane Buechele transferred to SMU.
There won’t be much to glean from Ehlinger’s performance in the Spring Game, but plenty to see from the players behind him on the depth chart.
Casey Thompson stayed at Texas after entering the transfer database during the offseason. Due to the departures of Buechele and Cam Rising (transferred to Utah), Thompson is second on the depth chart, but is still an unknown in his capability to guide a college offense. Thompson played in the second half of the 2018 Spring Game and was 5-for-9 for 88 passing yards adding 18 rushing yards. He’ll get some real competition from Roschon Johnson for the back-up role.
It is believed Johnson is the perfect fit for Tom Herman and Tim Beck’s offense. Coming from Port Neches Grove, Johnson is an early enrollee already immersing himself in the Texas playbook. Johnson may not be ready yet to grab the reins, but is expected to improve quickly in the system.