As Texas Tech game approaches, Texas quarterback Casey Thompson explains his study habits
As a graduate student, Texas quarterback Casey Thompson is enrolled in only two online classes this semester.
He was taking five classes at this time last year, so the move to two is a welcome change. Six credit hours are a far cry from 15.
Thompson, however, may be studying more this year than he did last year. That was by design for a fourth-year student who earned his sports management degree in May.
"The reason why I wanted to rush my undergrad process is so whenever I became the guy in Year 4, I'd have more time to watch film and meet with my receivers and also more time to get treatment," Thompson said.
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Last Saturday, Thompson led Texas to a 58-0 win over Rice in the first start of his college career. Two days later, he chatted with reporters about how he watches film.
On Sundays, Thompson usually goes over the previous game once or twice. He then turns to the upcoming opponent. At the beginning of a week, he first spends a few hours watching as much of his opponents' film as possible. Then he'll specifically go over first and second downs. The end of the week is for whatever tape exists of that team's third-down and red-zone defense.
Using his iPad and personal hotspot, Thompson will continue to study film after the Longhorns do their walk-through on Friday. And if Texas has a mid-afternoon or late game on Saturday? Expect him to call his receivers together at the hotel for another film session that morning.
Thompson revealed that while serving as Sam Ehlinger's backup last year, he once spent an off day watching 12 hours of film. A couple of breaks were taken to eat, but that game film marathon didn't end until he left the team facility around midnight following a late session with coach Tom Herman and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich.
"Not every day is that extreme," Thompson said.
Thompson credited Ehlinger and his coaches at Texas for teaching him how to break down film. Since his father, Charles, and older brother, Kendal, are former quarterbacks, he also goes over film with them to critique his performances.
Thompson is provided with film that's taped from the press box and the end zone. He also will search YouTube for televised games. The TV replays have announcers that Thompson admittedly doesn't like to listen to, but those broadcasts can be used to pick up on hand signals and sideline demeanors.
"Football is a priority for me and so is watching film," Thompson said. "I think at the quarterback position, we have to watch more film, I think, than anybody else in all of sports."
When asked about Thompson's study habits, running back Roschon Johnson described the quarterback as "very meticulous." That attention to detail doesn't just pertain to football. Johnson said that off the field, Thompson color-coordinates his closet and rarely has an unmade bed.
"When it comes to film, he watches it a lot," Johnson said. "Everybody has their different types of ways that they go about it, but Casey, he's very OCD. He does a lot when it comes to film."
Thompson completed 83.3% of his passes against the Owls. Two of his 15 completions were 20- and 13-yard touchdowns to tight end Jared Wiley and wide receiver Xavier Worthy.
"There's something about him when he gets in the game, the ball moves downfield," UT coach Steve Sarkisian said. "I give him a lot of credit, like I've said before, about his perseverance and just his intent to continue to prepare."
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Against Rice, the Longhorns reached the end zone on seven of the eight drives that Thompson led. Over UT's last four games, Texas has failed to score on only two of the 18 drives that Thompson has quarterbacked.
"Give credit where credit's due, I think that's an interesting stat," Texas Tech coach Matt Wells said this week. "It's a very, very high percentage of scores and a lot of those are touchdowns. I think that's the No. 1 thing of playing quarterback, is to make the other 10 guys around you that much better."
This week, Thompson is pouring over Texas Tech tape of the Red Raiders' wins over Houston, Stephen F. Austin and Florida International. The Red Raiders (3-0, 0-0), though, are allowing a Big 12-worst 236.0 passing yards per game. Nationally, Texas Tech last boasted a top-100 pass defense in 2014. Ehlinger threw for 922 yards, 11 touchdowns and one interception in UT's last three wins over Tech.
Texas Tech at Texas, 11 a.m., ABC, 104.9