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With a ‘watered down version’ of the offense, Texas QBs have mixed results in spring game

Texas running back Bijan Robinson scores a touchdown in the first quarter of the Orange-White spring game on Saturday at Royal-Memorial Stadium. It was the opening score of the game.

Well, the kicking game looks good.

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian should have no qualms sending Cameron Dicker into the fray this fall. Dicker, the kicker, had four successful efforts, including one from 58 yards out, during Saturday’s Orange-White spring game.

And Sarkisian will love when D’Shawn Jamison gets loose on special teams. Jamison flashed his trademark speed down the west sideline when he intercepted a pass and went 92 yards the other way for a pick-six touchdown.

UT Orange and White game notebook:Bijan Robinson, Cameron Dicker stand out for Texas

Just because you hire away Alabama’s play-caller doesn’t mean you automatically have Alabama-level success. With the personnel split rather evenly, the offenses managed just two touchdowns on a gorgeous, sunny day at Royal-Memorial Stadium. 

“Spring game,” Sarkisian said matter-of-factly.

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian classified his first spring game as hit and miss when it came to the starting quarterback battle between Casey Thompson and Hudson Card. “I thought maybe both guys were maybe a little bit jittery at times in the pocket and lost our eyes,” he said. “But that’s understandable in a spring game. "

Running back Bijan Robinson said he thought the day went “really smooth.”

“I feel when we get the full offense in and execute everything, it’ll be a lot smoother and we’ll be able to show everybody what we can do,” Robinson said. And for those who watched all the way until the end, Robinson said he was fine on a play where he appeared to hurt his ankle. “I thought I tweaked my ankle a little bit, but I didn’t,” he said.

Casey Thompson picked up right where he left off at the Alamo Bowl. The Orange team marched right down the field on the game’s opening possession, and Robinson punched it in from six yards out. 

Robinson almost slipped right behind the line of scrimmage but held his balance and glided into the end zone. He finished with 10 carries for 54 yards. 

Texas quarterback Casey Thompson threw for 242 yards and no touchdowns, and was picked off twice, including a pick-six by D'Shawn Jamison. He's battling Hudson Card for the starting job.

Hudson Card’s lone touchdown drive came after halftime. After moving to the six-yard line, Card fired a dart to Marcus Washington in a spot that only his receiver could reach. Card threw it a split-second before Washington made his break, so it was either going to be caught or skid out the back of the end zone.

Thompson completed 23 of 42 passes for 242 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. The second pick came on a Hail Mary on the game’s final play. Kitan Crawford stepped up to snag it in traffic. Card completed 15 of 25 passes for 168 yards and no interceptions.

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The quarterbacks did spread it around. Jordan Whittington had five catches for 56 yards. Joshua Moore had three catches for 33 yards and dropped a potential touchdown catch in the end zone. Kai Money had six catches for 79 yards and also threw a 41-yard pass on some trickery to open the second half. 

“I thought maybe both guys were maybe a little bit jittery at times in the pocket and lost our eyes,” Sarkisian said. “But that’s understandable in a spring game. I thought there were some other really good throws that were made. And we had a couple drops in there. But again, I think just overall efficiency not bad.”

Both quarterbacks were off-limits, and officials blew the whistle dead whenever defensive linemen got close. The two defensive units were credited with nine sacks; Moro Ojomo lead the way with three.

Texas quarterback Hudson Card runs for yardage in the second quarter. He connected with Marcus Washington for a touchdown pass in the second half.

Prince Dorbah had a team-high six tackles for the Orange team while David Gbenda had seven for the White.

In spring game settings, it’s always hard to gauge how things would flow under real-world scenarios. Would the quarterback escape that pressure? How would the play finish if officials let things go? But on Saturday, it was obvious the defensive pressure was getting home.

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Drives stalled out, and the Horns had no choice but to send out Dicker. All total, he hit from 58, 39, 28 and 24 yards before missing a 51-yarder just to the right.

“It was good to see our players compete,” Sarkisian said. “And obviously, this was a watered-down version of our offense, defense special teams. When you split squads, some of our rotations were a bit off. But in the end, I thought to see maybe some of the early on jitters kind of wear off. And our guys just settle in and start to play a little bit make some plays.”

Saturday marked the 15th and final practice this spring. Sarkisian said the coaches will now meet individually with all the players over the next few weeks. But for the most part, the program now starts looking at summer conditioning and getting ready for training camp in August.

“I feel great where we are right now,” Robinson said. “We improved a lot in the spring, especially with coach Sark coming in, a new coach and new system. I feel like all of us got the schemes down really good, really fast.”

Louisiana will be here in a flash, too. The season opener is Sept. 4.

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.