For the second straight week, Texas coach Steve Sarkisian is getting a little mysterious about his quarterback situation.
With starter Quinn Ewers still suffering from a sprained collarbone and backup Hudson Card playing through a sprained ankle, Sarkisian Poker plays four of a kind.
Yes, that’s the number of quarterbacks that make up the 70-man traveling roster to Lubbock for Saturday’s Big 12 opener with Texas Tech (2-1). In addition to Ewers and Card, Charles Wright and Maalik Murphy are also on board.
For the second week in a row, Card is the very likely option to start.
Don’t expect any confusion from Tech. With an encyclopedic knowledge of all that Texas high school football has to offer, new coach Joey McGuire already has the situation under control. He was fully aware of Card when he was an assistant at Baylor and was trying to lure Ewers to the Tech following his off-season transfer from Ohio State.
“I think Quinn had more stars or a higher rating, but you’re talking four and five star guys,” McGuire said this week. “They will commit the same offence.”
Plus, McGuire has his own quarterback issues. Since injuring starter Tyler Shough’s collarbone, backup Donovan Smith has thrown seven touchdown passes but also five interceptions. McGuire said both Smith and redshirt newcomer Behren Morton would play Texas.
Regardless of how the quarterback situation sorts itself out for each team, the only guarantee is a great atmosphere. Jones AT&T Stadium has sold out for the first time since 2018.
Former Tech men’s basketball coach Chris Beard, now in Texas, called Sarkisian and told him what to expect.
“It’s definitely going to be a hostile environment for us,” Texas running back Roshon Johnson said. “Everyone knows tech doesn’t like us, so that’s okay because we don’t like them either.”
Texas (2-1) is trying to prove it can survive the road troubles that plagued it last year. Tech tries to recover from a road loss in state #12 North Carolina.
There’s also the question of Texas’ upcoming move to the SEC and its big impact on the rivalry. The Longhorns are slated to switch conferences in 2025, which would be this Texas’ penultimate trip to the South Plains. If the date somehow moves to 2024, then that could be Lubbock’s goodbye for the foreseeable future. For tech, the biennial visits from Texas are huge for the university’s image and local business economies.
Athletic technical director Kirby Hocutt originally suggested that Texas counterpart Chris Del Conte had agreed to continue the series long-term.
Apparently that has now changed.
“I was talking to my colleague at the University of Texas,” Hocutt told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “While I’ve been told all the right things, it’s worrying that over the past few weeks I’ve heard from people in Dallas, Fort Worth and Midland that different things are being said by the people representing the University of Texas and that one planning alliance against Texas Tech will not materialize.”
Del Conte has cited the uncertain planning model Texas awaits in the SEC, where debate is eight conference games versus nine.
For more Texas coverage in the Dallas Morning News, click here.
Find more coverage of Texas Tech in the Dallas Morning News.
For more college sports coverage from The Dallas Morning News, click here