Hudson Card is QB1, but Texas has plenty of veterans among its starting 22 vs. Louisiana
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian made it official Monday about the quarterback position.
“Hudson Card's going to start Saturday against Louisiana,” Sarkisian said at his first game week press conference in the Centennial Room.
How long the redshirt freshman keeps the job is up to him. Sarkisian made clear that Card is the starter against No. 23 Louisiana, but there are no promises for week two at Arkansas.
Junior Casey Thompson will also play against the Ragin’ Cajuns, Sarkisian said. “And then we’ll continue to evaluate from there. But that’s the direction we’re going to go on this weekend.”
Saturday’s season opener at Royal-Memorial Stadium will be Card’s first start and first significant playing time for the 19th-ranked Longhorns. He will become the sixth Lake Travis quarterback to start for a Big 12 school since 2006.
“I’ve tried to impress upon this to our team, to our staff, to anybody that wants to listen, the quarterback position is the most important position in sports,” Sarkisian said. “I always say that, and I believe that. But it’s one position of 22 starters on our team on offense and defense.
“Everybody has a role in our organization, and ultimately come game day, you have a responsibility to do your job,” he added. “And the quarterback's no different.”
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This is no powder-puff opponent. Louisiana returns practically the entire starting lineup from last year’s 10-1 team. Texas is the team breaking in a new coach, a new quarterback, new offensive and defensive schemes. But like the Cajuns, the Horns have plenty of starters with game experience, too.
According to the depth chart released Monday, Texas will have a host of veteran offensive weapons on the field with Card.
Heisman Trophy candidate Bijan Robinson will be the starting running back with veteran Roschon Johnson rotating in. Joshua Moore and Jordan Whittington are the two starting receivers, along with freshman and training camp head-turner Xavier Worthy. Cade Brewer is the starting tight end.
Sarkisian said receiver Troy Omeire (knee) will not play against Louisiana. He’s expected to miss possibly a few games but likely to return by October.
The offensive line features five athletes who all have starting experience. Left tackle Christian Jones (10 games), left guard Denzel Okafor (14), center Jake Majors (two), right guard Junior Angilau (22) and right tackle Derek Kerstetter (28) were all key contributors last season.
“I think the way Louisiana plays, it starts up front,” Sarkisian said. “I think that both programs believe in running the football, and so the line of scrimmage is going to be critical Saturday, I think on both sides.”
Texas probably needs its defense to carry the day while the quarterbacks work themselves out. It starts up front on that side, too.
On the defensive line, Keondre Coburn and Moro Ojomo are listed as the starters at tackle while Jacoby Jones and LSU transfer Ray Thornton are the edge rushers.
At linebacker, DeMarvion Overshown will have multiple arm bands and multiple tackles, if his past is any indication. He’s slated to start at weakside linebacker. Luke Brockermeyer will make his first career start at middle linebacker. Notre Dame transfer Ovie Oghoufo will start at strongside linebacker.
In the secondary, Texas will dispatch a host of veterans. Josh Thompson and D’Shawn Jamison are the starting corners. Together, they have 32 career starts. B.J. Foster and receiver-turned-defensive back Brenden Schooler are the safeties. Anthony Cook plays the “star” nickel back role.
Cameron Dicker is listed as Texas’ starting kicker and punter. Last year’s punter, Ryan Bujcevski, hasn’t been the same since tearing up his knee against West Virginia last season. Jamison is listed as UT’s kickoff and punt return specialist.
One other interesting special teams note about the depth chart: Card is listed as UT’s holder on field goals.
By this point, Sarkisian is probably close to being talked out. The new coach, like the Horns, are just eager for Saturday.
Football is itching closer and closer. School officials are planning on a full house with no mask or social distancing requirements. Sarkisian spoke before thousands of UT students at the school’s welcome back event. And now he’s hoping to see the fan base on full display Saturday.
“I feel like more people are on the road driving and you're seeing the license plates and the Longhorns,” Sarkisian said. “There’s just a vibe and an energy that I don’t know, I was probably a little, I don’t want to say surprised before when I didn't see it. I had to keep reminding myself we were in the middle of a pandemic.
“And now to see it all, it’s really comforting to know the support and everybody that here for you, and behind you.”