ARLINGTON (KXAN) — With the departure of Sam Ehlinger to the NFL, there’s a giant void left in the Longhorns’ offense in terms of both experience and leadership.
It’s a hole that both Casey Thompson and Hudson Card are fighting to try to fill.
“It is a little bit of a luxury for me to have two quality quarterbacks like this,” Steve Sarkisian said on Thursday at Big 12 Media Days.
But as far as who has shown to have more quality and earned a leg up on the other? Well, Sarkisian isn’t quite ready to answer that.
“I just didn’t feel like 15 [spring] practices was enough to name a guy a starter in a brand new system, a brand new scheme with brand new coaches,” Sarkisian said.
In terms of what the two bring to the table, Card, a sophomore and Lake Travis product, has the reputation of having a “golden” arm. Meanwhile, Thompson has been on campus for three years already, and he dazzled in the second half of the Alamo Bowl against Colorado in relief of Ehlinger.
“Casey Thompson is a guy who’s been in the program a little bit longer,” Sarkisian said. “Everybody remembers what he did in the Alamo Bowl with four touchdown passes in the second half – very athletic guy. [He’s] very driven, very focused, high football IQ, great leader.
“Hudson Car – tremendous passing ability, great instincts of passing the football,” Sarkisian said. “So we’re in a good position.”
But what they can do on the field is only part of the equation. Sarkisian called quarterback the most important position in football, and a large part of that is because of the leadership the signal caller has to provide.
And just as their athletic skillsets are different, so, too, are their leadership styles.
“Hudson will just put his head down and work hard, lead by example,” sophomore running back Bijan Robinson said. “He doesn’t have to say much for you to know that he’s a leader. he’ll say what he has to say when he has to say. We all can see what he’s trying to do. We all understand the type of leader that he is.
“You have Casey, more of an energetic type of guy,” Robinson continued. “If you’re doing something wrong, he’ll let you know. That’s been a big help for the team.”
All of it goes into Sarkisian’s final decision, which he knows he’ll have to make before the season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 4.
“At some point in training camp, I’m gonna have to trust my gut and I gotta name a starter,” Sarkisian said. “When we do, it’s not gonna be because the other guy gave the job up. They’re gonna make it tough on me. That’s what I told them, ‘You guys need to make this decision as hard as you can on me.’ Because I name one guy the starter, doesn’t mean we don’t need the other one because the other guy’s a play away. In this day and age of college football, to think you’re gonna go 13, 14 games all the way throughout a season with one quarterback probably isn’t realistic. We need to develop both of them. Both of them have huge upside. I think we’re in good hands at that position.”