Battle to be Longhorns QB the talk of Texas this spring
AUSTIN, Texas — The biggest positional battle in the Big 12 is at quarterback Texas.
No position raises more expectations in the pursuit of the once-proud Longhorns’ return to the top of the league. And neither will be a bigger target of scorn if Texas can’t get there.
It’s a lot of pressure on Hudson Card and Quinn Ewers to win the job and keep it, and on coach Steve Sarkisian to make the right choice for the season opener against Louisiana-Monroe on September 3, and a week later against mighty Alabama.
Spring training kicked off the restart of the program after a 5-7 disaster in 2021, and it ended this weekend with an open scrum for fans to see what the quarterback is all about.
Sarkissian gives no indication of who might have the advantage and says fans shouldn’t read anything about who takes the first shot.
“Both guys played really well, I was impressed with their ability to play. When they shoot, they shoot,” Sarkissian said this week.
“Hudson, part of managing the game comes naturally to him after doing it with us. I think Quinn is a very quick study…Both guys have earned a lot of respect from their teammates.”
For Card, it’s a second chance to win a job that was once his. To do that, he’ll have to fend off Ewers, a former five-star high school freshman from the Dallas area who barely played one season at Ohio State before heading home.
The hype surrounding Ewers’ return has many Longhorns fans assuming he will win the job.
“He can make all the throws,” Card said. “I believe I can too.”
Card was the hottest national rookie when he was near Lake Travis, and he was the legendary pitching player in Texas practice. So much so that he won the job over Casey Thompson to start the 2021 season.
It didn’t last long. A blowout loss at Arkansas left some teammates describing Card as shaken in the huddle, and Sarkisian quickly went to Thompson for the rest of the season. Card barely had a chance to settle into the role when it was taken from her.
But with Thompson at the helm, Texas went on its longest losing streak in 65 years. Sarkissian promised a new competition open in 2022.
The ewers arrived from the state of Ohio. Thompson left for Nebraska. Card says he never considered leaving.
Despite initial endorsement deals in Ohio reportedly worth more than $1 million, Ewers only played one shot at football last season as rookie CJ Stroud led the Buckeyes to a record 11-2. With little wiggle room on the Buckeyes’ roster and open competition in Austin, Ewers saw no reason to stay.
“I grew up always watching the Longhorns play, I wanted to be in that burnt orange,” Ewers said. “There was a small obstacle between the two, but I found myself here. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities God has given me, and I’m just glad to be back in my home country.
Ewers wouldn’t say much about why he left Texas in the first place.
“At the end of the day, I ended up where I think I should be,” Ewers said. “And that’s all there is to it.”
Card, whose Texas career went from starter to benchwarmer to see Sarkisian wooing another hotshot like Ewers, opted to stay even though he’s more than a year away from graduating.
“That’s where I’ve always wanted to play. This is my dream school,” Card said. “There will be competition everywhere, so I decided to give my best.”
Texas fans have already seen the good (two touchdown passes against Louisiana) and the bad (a six-pick interception in a loss to Kansas) from Card.
They were told how awesome Ewers can be and they saw his high school moments. They also made a celebrity out of his whimsical hair, a cross between a traditional mullet and an 80s bandeau singer.
Ewers seems a bit mystified about this, although in the new era of name, image and likeness, he could probably make a deal with a barber to have him cut for money.
“It’s just hair at the end of the day,” Ewers said.