The Texas Longhorns showed improvement last season but still have plenty to clean up before they can properly stake the claim of being "back." In 2022, the Longhorns' two steps forward were seen in their wins over the Oklahoma Sooners and Big 12 champions and the Kansas State Wildcats, and even in their one-point loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide. But their one step back was seen in their losses to the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Oklahoma State Cowboys and the TCU Horned Frogs, the runner-up in the College Football Playoff national championship.
But despite the ability to remain consistent, there is plenty of hope heading into the 2023 season. The hope is that this team will make that jump to consistency and close out its final chapter in the Big 12 Conference with a conference title and an appearance in the College Football Playoff — all before it enters the SEC, along with the Sooners, as the newest members of the conference in 2024.
The Longhorns had their annual Orange-White Spring Game on Saturday, and Team White defeated Team Orange, 21-10. Team White dominated most of the game, leading 21-3 before Team Orange scored on a 79-yard touchdown to bring the game to its final score.
All eyes were on the quarterback position, as current starter Quinn Ewers and freshman Arch Manning, had Longhorn fans excited for the present and for the future. But the quarterback position wasn't the only topic of discussion Saturday, as questions regarding their defense and the hole at running back have had forum boards buzzing. But let's ease into everything with a few certainties and some takeaways from Texas' Orange-White Spring Game.
Quinn Ewers is the Starting Quarterback
When Ewers transferred to Texas last year, the expectations were that he would be the starting quarterback for the next two to three years. But when Manning committed to the Longhorns, a QB controversy started in Austin. However, after Quinn's performance (16 of 23, 195 yards and a touchdown) during the spring game, head coach Steve Sarkisian told reporters, "I think it's pretty clear to say that Quinn's our starting quarterback. ... And we feel very good about that." So, no controversy — for now.
The Longhorns' Defense Showed Improvement
The Longhorns' offense has never really been the problem. The problem over the last few years has resided on the defensive side of the ball. But during the spring game, the defense combined for seven sacks and eight tackles for a loss. This type of performance is a good step in the right direction for a unit that needs improvement in defending against the run and putting pressure on the quarterback.
Arch Manning Could Be Texas' QB3
Manning did not look great in his first spring game at Texas, but he did not look terrible either. However, the performance of redshirt freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy might have slid the freshman phenom down to the third string on the depth chart. Murphy, a four-star recruit out of California in the 2022 recruiting class, finished the game completing nine of his 13 passes for 165 yards and one touchdown. If Manning wants to see the field in 2023, he will have to outperform not one but two quarterbacks.
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