AUSTIN - The Texas Longhorns began their second spring camp under Steve Sarkisian on Tuesday, hoping to take a step forward after a disappointing 2021.
And after an influx of transfers both in and out of the program and an injection of talented freshmen, the expectations around the program will be elevated in a big way.
So what should Longhorns fans be on the lookout for?
Here are Longhorns Country's biggest storylines heading into spring football camp:
Quinn Ewers vs. Hudson Card
Without a doubt, all eyes will be on the upcoming quarterback battle in Austin. Quinn Ewers, who transferred from Ohio State in December and enrolled early at Texas, will be the odds on favorite to win the job. He is the highest-rated passer to sign with the Longhorns in more than two decades, and Sark hand-picked him from the portal to be his quarterback of the future.
However, that doesn't mean Hudson Card will go away quietly. Card is no stranger to a quarterback battle. He already beat out Casey Thompson last season (though he eventually gave the job back), he has more experience in the system, and he has real reps in a college atmosphere. This is also likely to be a make-or-break moment for his career. If he loses out this spring, he could be on his way to the portal. If he has a chance in the fall, he could stick around.
Both Card and Ewers ran with the first team in practice on Tuesday, with Card getting the first crack at the reps.
An offensive line makeover?
To put it simply, the offensive line in Austin was a disaster last season. Whether it was Thompson or Card under center, they were constantly under duress, leading to mistakes, turnovers, and negative plays. Luckily for the Longhorns, there is an immense amount of offensive line talent on the way into town.
Unfortunately, just one of those players, Cole Hutson, will be there in the spring. However, once Kelvin Banks, Devon Campbell get to town, things will begin to take shape. Until then, Kyle flood will be able to experiment with different line combinations, until he finds the right mix to make the needed improvements in the fall. No one's job will be safe.
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On Tuesday, the first-team offensive line was Andrej Karic at left tackle, Junior Angilau at left guard, Jake Majors at center, Hayden Connor at right guard, and Christian Jones at the other tackle spot. for the second team o-line, Hutson was lined up at right guard, with Jaylen Garth at left tackle, Max Merrill at left guard, and Logan Parr as the backup center.
Fixing the linebackers
Another area of concern last season was in the linebacker group, where DeMarvion Overshown was left to pick up the pieces for an otherwise undermanned and outmatched unit. Fortunately for Pete Kwiatkowski, Overshown is back. Unfortunately, he is about all they have left in terms of experience.
Texas is still in the market for a transfer this spring, and very well could bring one in before camp begins. With that said, none of those players have arrived yet, so it will be up to Jaylan Ford or David Gbenda to make major strides if Texas wants to improve its issues from a season ago.
In the first practice, Overshown and Ford ran with the first team, while Devin Richardson and Gbenda were the second team backers. Jett Bush also ran with the third team alongside Jaden Hullaby.
Which newcomers step up?
As previously mentioned, there are 11 new Longhorns on their way into the 40 Acres to help reload the talent pool for Sarkisian, and many of them are expected to make a quick impact. Names to watch that will be obviously are Ewers, and fellow Ohio State transfer Ryan Watts, as well as nickel corner Terrance Brooks, who was a flip from Ohio State on signing day.
However, there are plenty of other talented players heading to Austin for the spring on the defensive side of the ball to watch, including edge rusher Justice Finkley, defensive backs Jaylon Guilbeau and Bryan Allen Jr., and defensive lineman Jaray Bledsoe. Not to mention transfer wideout Isaiah Neyor and transfer tight end Jahleel Billingsly, both of whom are expected to add some real help to the offense.
And while the eyes of Texas fans will likely be locked on Ewers, and for good reason, one or more of these other newcomers could prove to have massive impacts in their own right this spring.
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