QB battle still playing out, no starter named heading into game week

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Steve Sarkisian’s now seen his team practice through all of spring and nearly an entire training camp, but it still hasn’t been enough to name a starter at quarterback.

“No, I have not named one,” Sarkisian said on Thursday.

The battle between Casey Thompson and Hudson Card has been going since Sam Ehlinger left for the NFL. According to Sarkisian, they’re still splitting reps evenly between the starters and the backups.

“They’ve continued to build,” Sarkisian said. “I know that first scrimmage didn’t go the way that they wanted it to go and probably I wanted it to go for them, but … I think it was a really good kind of wakeup call for them after having practiced well the first week. That’s probably been the biggest thing that’s impressed me over the last week and a half, closing in on two weeks is they’ve just stuck to their training. We’ll work ourselves through it, and we’ll get to a point to where we feel good about what we’re gonna do next Saturday.”

In this era of the transfer portal, there’s always a strong possibility that whoever doesn’t win the starting job will leave the program. In Texas’ case, that would mean either Austin High product Charles Wright or Hyde Park Baptist grad Ben Ballard. But the fear of either Thompson or Card transferring isn’t at all a factor in Sarkisian’s decision.

“I can’t worry about that,” he said. “I have to make decisions that are in the best interest of the entire football organization and our entire team. The moment you start worrying about the what-ifs, about one player, I think that’s when you get hesitant in your decision making and you end up starting to make decisions that aren’t in the best interest of your team. Not one player can have that much of an impact to where you sacrifice the team over one player.”

Whenever Sarkisian does make a decision on who the starter is, there’s no guarantee he’ll announce who won the job. Because both players have such similar styles, whoever wins the job won’t really change the game plan for Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 4, but Sarkisian isn’t holding out on announcing a starter to gain a competitive advantage.

“If the players were drastically different style of players, if one guy was just a straight pocket passer and the other guy was an elite runner and maybe not as gifted of a passer, then you’d have to prepare for knowing which one is in the game,” Sarkisian said. “That might adjust your calling of the defense, but I think most people have their schemes, they run their schemes and they have game plan, they run their plan, to some degree. None of what how we’re operating is trying to create a competitive advantage. It’s truly about trying to do what’s best for our football team to have success.”

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