Barring any sort of catastrophe leading up to the September 1 game at Maryland, Longhorns head coach Tom Herman announced Ehlinger will be the starting quarterback during a press conference on Monday.
“[Sam is] throwing the ball a lot better. He’s sitting in the pocket much more comfortably. And let’s make no mistake, Shane Buechele had a great camp, a great camp. He didn’t do really anything wrong… Neither of them did anything to justify saying that ‘You can’t win with that guy.’ So it was just a matter of who do we feel gives you the best chance to win in the first game and Sam felt right.”
This decision couldn’t have been easy. After all, both quarterbacks split time last season, and each showed flashes of promise to indicate they are capable for the full-time starting role for Texas football, even before fall camp started.
Ehlinger, an Austin, Texas native who started six games in 2017, completed 57.5 percent of his passes for a team-leading 1,915 passing yards with 11 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He also somehow led the Longhorns in rushing with 385 yards and added two more scores.
Buechele, an Arlington, Texas native who started seven games in 2017, including the season opene, finished his second season with Texas completing 64.3 percent of his passes for 1,405 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. He also had two rushing touchdowns.
Both played in the Texas Bowl victory against Missouri and each threw a touchdown, too.
As Herman alluded, it’s hard to go wrong either. Ehlinger and Buechele are capable leaders to run the offense. Yet, there can only be one starter.
Could this change by the time Texas hosts No. 15 USC on September 15? What about Big 12 play? All things might be subject to change if Ehlinger struggles, but he is the starter right now, and it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.