AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns kept it simple at the Orange-White spring game to wrap up spring practice Saturday night.
Exactly like head coach Steve Sarkisian drew it up.
Sarkisian said he wanted to keep everything “vanilla” Saturday to preserve his scheme and plays for the real competition in the fall. Even with a basic plan, there were still moments of flash at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Quarterbacks Hudson Card and Quinn Ewers each scored touchdowns. Ewers hit new arrival Isaiah Neyor on a post for an explosive 67-yard touchdown. Card showed off his passing and rushing abilities, scrambling for a six-yard touchdown.
Anthony Cook created the lone turnover, intercepting Ewers’ pass over the middle near midfield.
The Longhorns’ running backs also had their time in the spotlight. Keilan Robinson broke out on several big runs. Roschon Johnson broke free for a 56-yard rushing touchdown.
Sarkisian wasn’t ready to call the quarterback race after the game. He stayed neutral pointing to positives and negatives for both players. Here’s what else Sarkisian said after the Orange-White game.
“Clearly we’re not a finished product. There’s plenty of work to be done. I can point to a lot of examples tonight. I thought this was a positive time for us. I thought it was a good night. I thought it culminated with a fun sequence with our red zone lockout. We’ve got work to do.”
What were your goals for the spring game?
“I wanted to make sure that I gave enough people opportunities to make plays. This was not about scheme in this game. I wanted to give the quarterbacks enough opportunities to play the variety of plays. See that and learn that. I thought we were able to do it. I learned a little tonight.”
What did you want to see in the final spring session?
“Clearly, this wasn’t about the knowledge of the game plan where you have to carry a lot of the game plan. This evaluation was for the moment. We had 40,000 to 50,000 people out there. You can learn a lot about that… a little bit about the performance anxiety. We can really take some things from an evaluation standpoint. It is different…there were a lot of people here tonight.”
Thoughts on defensive linemen Justice Finkley and Aaron Bryant
“Both Justice [Finkley] and Aaron [Bryant] are really coachable kids. That’s what I love. They come in and they put in the work. Justice really took a leap in the last 10 days in spring ball. He had a presence. Aaron is unique in that he is a powerful guy, low to the ground and quick. He’s just got a little bit more of a logjam at his position. Both have a bright future.”
Praise for the running backs
“I loved the way Keilan Robinson ran the ball tonight. I love the way Jonathon Brooks ran the ball tonight. We’ve got to minimize the explosive plays for sure [on defense].”
Where has this team grown?
“Football-wise, we’ve raised our football IQ…understanding situational football. The game is made up of different situations. I thought we really grew in that area. To me, if you talk to our players about situational football, that’s encouraging to me.”
Thoughts on team chemistry
“We’re a team. I don’t know if I could say that a year ago. They’re actually doing the things necessary because they don’t want to let their brother down. That’s going to get us a long way. We’ve got an influx of new players coming in…when you have a real team and you’re counting on one another… that’s a positive sign.”
Evaluation of offensive line
“The first unit played pretty well. I thought they played good football. Jake is steady inside because he’s so smart. I thought it was a lot more comfortable with Christian at right tackle. That group right there is going to be critical to our success. We’ve got two good triggermen…how far can this offensive line go to play the football we want to play. You have to have the ability to run the football when the other team knows you’re going to run the football.”
When will Sarkisian settle on a quarterback starter?
“I think it’s going to go [into the fall]. Both guys had some flash plays. We also saw some plays that both guys would love to have back. I like where these guys are at. I’m really happy at the growth with where they’re at. We’ve got to continue to grow, we can’t settle.”
Thoughts on Quinn Ewers’ performance
“We all saw the big post for the touchdown. We saw the throws he’d like to have back. That’s part of growing. Not every ball is going to be the perfect throw and sometimes you’re going to miss a throw. He’s such a competitive guy. He’s self-driven.”