Steve Sarkisian Leaves Door Open For Arch Manning To Start Over Quinn Ewers As Texas Opens QB Battle At Spring Practice

Arch Manning's first day of spring practice at Texas was good, not great. There were moments that stood out for positive reasons, and there were moments that stood out for not-so positive reasons.

The touted freshman with the most famous last name in football will hope to build on his performance from Monday as he battles with incumbent starter Quinn Ewers throughout the next six months.

Although the expectation is that Ewers, a former five-star, No. 1 recruit in his own right, will return to his starting role in 2023, Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian is not making that decision right now. He left the door open for Manning to come in and earn the job, no matter how unlikely it may be.

I'm not worried about who's going to be on the cover of what magazine next week. I'm more focused on is, is each guy focusing on what they need to do to develop to be the best player that they can be? Quinn has an entire year of a head start, but I don't want to hold Arch back. I want to see how far he can take this thing and what it can look like.

Ewers, who transferred from Ohio State last spring, threw for 2,177 yards and 15 touchdowns with six interceptions in 10 games. Although he was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, the Texas-native struggled in parts of the season while dealing with a nagging shoulder injury.

After three years, and Arch Manning's arrival, Quinn Ewers recently chopped his legendary mullet.

Sarkisian, in his fourth year as head coach in Austin, noticed the media's attention on the haircut and speculation about what it means. He is not oblivious to the amount of eyes on his program and its quarterback situation and appreciates what Ewers is bringing to the room.

All of a sudden, now the guy gets a haircut and cleans his beard up a little bit and everyone thinks Quinn's real serious right now. But that's human nature. It's never been a question of him taking this serious. He wants to be really good, he wants to be a leader on this team. He wants to win a championship with these guys. And that doesn't change what he does day to day, but appearance is what it is. And so I do think him recognizing that shows some maturity.

Sarkisian also appreciates how Ewers has become a vocal leader during the offseason.

I think what he's done, he's serving for Arch and, 'Hey, this is what it looks like. And this is how to go about your business.'

The 48-year-old also saw the amount of chatter surrounding his young quarterback's inability to hold on to his student I.D.

Arch Manning lost his I.D. twice in a week's span.

Despite the absentmindedness in his first month on campus, Sarkisian appreciates Manning's desire to be the best that he can be. He's excited for what is set to unfold.

It’s like anything, there’s growing pains, we make a big deal out of the guy losing his ID twice in school. He’s a freshman in college, but he does take it seriously and he does want to be really good. And the beauty of it, one of the guys he’s competing with is taking it seriously and wants to be really good, and that competition should drive the best out of both of them.

As for Manning's first day, Sarkisian was fairly tepid and vague. Despite some struggles, there were flashes of greatness.

For Arch today, Day 1, there's some plays for sure that he would love to have back. There's some other plays that he made where I think everybody was like, 'Wow, that was a heck of a play.' But he brings a worker's mentality and he wants to be really good at this game.

All-in-all, Sarkisian's comments were as expected from the first day of spring ball. Manning, Ewers and Texas will be back on the field on Wednesday.

Expect Ewers to get the nod, but wouldn't it be something if Manning won the job as a true freshman?