Texas finally shows its hand with Card picked as No. 1 QB

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
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AUSTIN, Texas – New Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday that his starting quarterback for this weekend’s season opener against No. 23 Louisiana-Lafayette will be Hudson Card, who has one career pass completion, though fourth-year player Casey Thompson will also play.

While Card will get the start, Sarkisian said that Thompson will also be in the mix for the No 21 Longhorns.

“Hudson’s a very talented young man. He’s got a great work ethic and really tries to operate the way we want to operate,” Sarkisian said. “As I told Hudson and Casey, it’s really not a knock on Casey. Both guys started to perform well after the first scrimmage. It was a tough call, but I think in general you try to make the best decision for the program that that time.”

And that meant picking Card, a product of nearby Lake Travis High School, instead of standing on Thompson, who sat behind Sam Ehlinger for three years until scoring four touchdowns against Colorado in Alamo Bowl last season after Ehlinger got hurt. Thompson had considered transferring after the 2018 season but stayed at Texas.

That a fourth-year player couldn’t wrap up the starting job either by the end of spring drills or early in training camp had all signs pointing to Card as the likely choice to start.

Despite his lack of game experience, Card has been wowing his teammates and coaches with his throws in practice since last season. Thompson’s electric performance in the Alamo Bowl, however, had Texas fans thinking they’d found their future quarterback.

But what seemed like a sure thing for Thompson changed when Texas fired coach Tom Herman just days after the Alamo Bowl and quickly hired Sarkisian.

Sarkisian wouldn’t say when Thompson would play Saturday or how many snaps he’ll get. But he insisted both quarterbacks will play against the Ragin’ Cajuns and that the position will be evaluated afterward.

“Neither guy has ever started a game in their career,” Sarkisian said. “The good part for both those guys is that I think we’re improving as an offense.”

Settling on the quarterback has been the biggest decision facing the first-year Texas coach who had previous stints at Washington and Southern California. He spent last season calling plays as Alabama’s offensive coordinator as the Crimson Tide won the national championship.

Sarkisian also played quarterback BYU in 1995-96.

“It’s one position of 22 starters on offense and defense,” Sarkisian said. “It’s not trying to win the job on one play. We’re not trying to have a starting quarterback just because he wows the crowd. We want a starting quarterback that inevitably moves our football team down the field to score points.”