Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Steve Sarkisian's Texas football debut shows flashes on both sides of ball

Texas running back Bijan Robinson scores the first touchdown of the day in Saturday's Orange-White game.

It's called a spring game in name only, for Texas' Orange-White game, like other college spring games, is really an intrasquad scrimmage that's divided into quarters, played in front of a live crowd and shown on TV.

Still, Saturday's Orange-White game was telling. It gave us our first look at Steve Sarkisian on the UT sidelines, we were able to see firsthand quarterbacks Casey Thompson and Hudson Card as they battle for the starting job, and the usual handful of unexpected flashes.

Spring games are essentially about the skill guys. It's hard to gauge how this offensive line will perform this fall, with Derek Kerstetter back and a new left tackle and Jake Majors at center. Defenders aren't allowed to sack the quarterback in the spring game, so you could imagine some of these plays ending in sacks, but that's all you can do. Joseph Ossai's gone, the Horns will need one or two pass rushers to emerge and that question won't be answered till September.

For what it's worth, White beat Orange 20-12.

Highlights:

Thompson vs. Card: Obviously, the battle between the quarterbacks is the biggest storyline of the spring. And really, Saturday was kind of a push. Thompson looked more confident, certainly made some good plays, but also threw a pick-six. Card made a couple of excellent throws, including a couple of touch passes.

Thompson showed nice touch on a second quarter touchdown. He connected on a 15- to 20-yarder while on the run in the second quarter. He threw more than 30 passes in the first half alone.

Card showed a good connection with Kai Money, zipping a nice pass to the receiver on the run in a slant pattern. On another play, he made something out of virtually nothing, shuffling out of the pocket to hit Money on the numbers though two defenders were covering him. And his third quarter touchdown to Marcus Washington was an excellent placement in the back of the end zone.

Essentially, a push. This won't be called till August, and who knows if even that will settle it.

Spring game MVP: Gotta be Cameron Dicker.

He boomed a 58-yard field goal in the first quarter and then added three virtual chip shots from 38, 28 and 24 yards. It's only April, but Dicker the Kicker's already in October form.

In the final minute, he missed from 51. But it was close.

Trick plays: Interested in any sort of Sarkisian razzle dazzle? It's the spring game, the entire offense hasn't been installed and the new coach surely isn't going to show everything he's got during the spring game. Still, we got two trick plays, one that was executed perfectly, one that wasn't:

• After the first touchdown, on the 2-point conversion, Thompson tried an awkward, nearly-behind-the-back pass that lobbed over the line. It looked more like a hookshot than pass, but either way, Chris Adimora was there to pick it off.

• But later, on the opening play of the second half, Kai Money took a backward pass and then launched it downfield for a 41-yard pass to Gunnar Helm, the freshman tight end from Colorado.

Missing: A little more than 10 Longhorns missed the game because of injuries, most notably linebacker DeMarvion Overshown (shoulder), offensive linemen Derek Kerstetter (ankle) and Rafiti Ghirmai (hamstring), punter Ryan Bujcevski and slot receiver Jake Smith.

Texcetera: Odd and ends.

• Impressions from the first two drives: Thompson led the offense to a touchdown, Card went three and out.

• Usually, the Texas jerseys have names on the back. Not Saturday. It made cross-checking the online roster a critical part of the day. Thompson's now wearing Ehlinger's No. 11. What number is Troy Omeire, again? How about that new linebacker from LSU?

• Bijan Robinson looked just as good as he did in the final stretch of last season. He and Roschon Johnson should be fine in the running game.

• Speaking of the running game, there was a Daniel Young sighting. It's been awhile. And graduate transfer Gabriel Watson looked good.

• Defensive play of the day: D'Shawn Jamison's 92-yard pick six off a Thompson interception.