A roster won't be decided in 15 practices. Neither will the outcome of the season. Still, Texas' Steve Sarkisian had the opportunity to see the good, the bad and the ugly when all is said and done.
Offseason workouts are in the rearview. So is the Orange-White game. With the slogan "all gas, no breaks" a break is coming for Texas as they prepare for the summer months and welcome in the recruits from 2021.
Still, it's nice to see where the talent sits when looking to build a championship roster.
“I know we’ve got a competitive group. I know these guys are very willing," Sarkisian told reporters in wrap-ups for spring practice. "They try to do what we’ve asked them to do. They try to go compete at a high level. That part I know."
Several players strutted their stuff Saturday in preparation for Week 1 of the 2021 campaign. Bijan Robinson is coming as advertised. Jordan Whittington has WR1 potential. David Gbena might be the perfect replacement for Juwan Mitchell.
How many of those players are "x-factor" guys. During his time at Alabama, Sarkisian saw a multitude of talents be those players, including a Heisman Trophy winner in DeVonta Smith.
Sarkisian though is certainly several of those players will find their roles sooner than later.
"We’ve got some players that are a lot closer to that,” Sarkisian said. “We’ve got some that have some work to do. But that’s part of the process, right? That’s part of coming out of spring practice and where we lay emphasis on to improve our team."
The transfer portal helps as well in more ways than one. It also hurts in the same capacity.
Texas gained the commitments of former Alabama linebacker Ben Davis and New Mexico State’s Devin Richardson. One could earn the starting role in place of Mitchell.
Despite having depth at the position, the Longhorns will be losing tight end Malcolm Epps, who played in 24 games since arriving in Austin back in 2018. Sarkisian said that his departure stings as a tight end as the "most important player" to his offense after the quarterback.
“You’ve seen my offenses in the past," Sarkisian said. "We move our tight ends around quite a bit as well. And so there’s a lot on these guys from a learning-curve standpoint to really dive into this offense, because they really are what make us go and we’re in plenty of two-tight-end sets.”
Now more than ever, the transfer portal has become the "free agency" college football. Only once the portal is closed for the year can Sarkisian and staff officially be able to work with the staff at hand.
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"I think probably the biggest thing that I’m uncertain about, that I want to become certain about, is the consistency factor,” Sarkisian said. “That’s every play in all three phases, playing a real consistent brand of football, doing our job down after down after down regardless of the elements, regardless of the score, regardless of the opponent. I think we’re still figuring that out."
As for the battle under center? Casey Thompson and Hudson Card each showed their potential. Thompson, who threw two interceptions but a touchdown to Joshua Moore, looked consistent in the first half.
Once finding his footing, Card connected with Marcus Washington and looked smooth in the pocket for the White team.
It's clear that while both improved from January to April, that improvement isn't enough to name a starter. Neither one has pushed ahead, meaning the competition will extend into the summer and August practices.
“I think both those guys have made tremendous strides. They’re not exactly where we want them to be yet,” Sarkisian said. “And I think that’s what’s so intriguing about this competition is that maybe one day, one guy takes some really cool strides and then the next day the other guy does."
The blueprint for Texas is there. Several players are set for a season filled with sure-fire numbers and instant gratification. Others will bide their time before playing.
Sarkisian wants "his roster" all in line. That cannot happen until the 2021 recruits officially join the staff. It also means starters finally return from injury.
Texas knew that Sarkisian would be the right guy for the staff. Closing his presser, once again he yelled "Hook'em" before signing off.
The coach is right. The personnel could be as well. Still, there's much to be done before Week 1.
"That’s why I say this summer is big for really developing that right mentality that we need for fall camp,” Sarkisian said, “So that we have the right mentality throughout camp to get ourselves ready for the grind of the season.”
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A roster won't be decided in 15 practices. Neither will the outcome of the season. Still, Texas' Steve Sarkisian had the opportunity to see the good, the bad and the ugly when all is said and done. Subscribe for full article
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