New Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian knows what an NFL quarterback is supposed to look like at the college level. He’s coached several of them over the years, at Washington, USC, and most recently, at Alabama.
In fact, here are a few of them:
- Mac Jones
- Tua Tagovailoa
- Cody Kessler
- Jake Locker
- Mark Sanchez
- Matt Leinart
Now he’s trying to get a few Longhorn signal callers to the pros. With the spring game less than two weeks away, the competition between junior Casey Thompson and redshirt freshman Hudson Card is heating up.
Sarkisian understands that players need some time to adjust to the new system. He still wants to see continued development from his quarterback candidates though, which he talked about following the scrimmage this past Saturday.
“We’re a new system right now, we’ve got a new scheme, so he’s learning and thinking too. And that’s the part we’ve got to do a really good job with as coaches is trying to minimize some of the thinking that’s taking place, not only with the quarterbacks but at every position,” Sarkisian said, via Burnt Orange Nation.
That doesn’t mean Sarkisian isn’t pleased with his signal callers. These things take time. But there are areas that the former Alabama offensive coordinator wants to clean up. He identified one of those on Tuesday.
“I think the biggest thing that we’ve got to improve on offensively, part of which falls on the quarterback, is just too many sacks right now,” Sarkisian said. “Our pocket presence and awareness needs to improve, which is pretty natural in your first scrimmage.”
As they get more comfortable, these should be correctable issues.
The favorite to win the job is Thompson. The Oklahoma City native attempted only 17 passes last season, but he completed 12 of them (70.6 percent) for 225 yards (13.2 yards per attempt) with six touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Against Colorado in the bowl game, he completed 8-of-10 passes for 170 yards, four touchdowns and zero turnovers. Are those numbers sustainable? Absolutely not, but they are impressive nonetheless.
Let the 2021 Texas hype train begin now. Whit Casey Thompson and Maalik Murphy, Steve Sarkisian will have two golden tickets in his hands.
— Antonio Matticoli (@AntonioMatticol) February 24, 2021
So now Thompson is the front-runner to be the starter. He is expected to perform with a certain level of consistency, and he has to deliver on the opportunities he’s given. With Sarkisian at the helm, both Thompson and Card will develop.
If not, top-5 quarterback prospect Maalik Murphy will be coming in 2022.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.