(Photo: USA Today)
The Orange-White spring game featured a lot of interesting storylines. The debut of Arch Manning, Maalik Murphy getting his first live action with fans in the stands and a revamped WR room featuring AD Mitchell. Let's take a look at some of the biggest takeaways in a game that saw the White team come out with a 21-10 win.
- Obviously all eyes were on the quarterbacks, and all 3 of Quinn Ewers, Maalik Murphy and Arch Manning saw significant snaps. Ewers finished the afternoon 16 of 23 for 195 yards and a TD. His brightest moment was a deep ball connection to Xavier Worthy, something that did not happen far too often last year. Murphy was first out to navigate the second team offense and was 9 of 13 for 165 yards and a long TD to Johntay Cook. He likely cemented himself as the clear #2 behind Ewers headed into the offseason. Manning finished 5 of 13 for 30 yards. The early enrollee freshman did not receive much help from his offensive line or receivers, but did have a few nice throws. As expected, the same moved at a different speed than what he was used to in high school. He will be fine.
- Jaydon Blue stole the show at running back. The sophomore averaged over 5 yards per carry and had a dazzling rushing TD where he displayed elusiveness and accelerated in the open field. Freshman Cedric Baxter punched in a 1-yard TD on 4th down and didn't look out of place. Sophomore Savion Red, fresh off the move from WR to RB, ran hard and finished with 45 yards on 9 carries.
- Texas appears to have a really good problem at WR. AD Mitchell did not disappoint in his first action in front of fans, grabbing 6 catches for 58 yards and a one-handed TD in the endzone. The Georgia transfer was as advertised and will play a big role on the 2023 team. Jordan Whittington was his usual self (5 catches for 59 yards) and Worthy had a team leading 83 receiving yards. Freshman Johntay Cook and DeAndre Moore both had freshman moments, but played well and should find themselves in the WR rotation come the fall.
- It is tough to evaluate the OL in a spring game setting, but the most interesting note was Neto Umeozulu running with the first team at LG, allowing Hayden Center to play center for Orange team.
- On defense, the first team unit played well. Terrance Brooks, Ryan Watts and Gavin Holmes all flashed in the secondary. T'Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy made their presence felt up front. Former walk-on Jett Bush also had several nice plays on the afternoon.
You don't want to take too much away from a glorified scrimmage, but Texas looks to be in such a better place at so many positions on the field compared to a year or two ago. The Longhorns still have some questions marks (interior OL, LB opposite of Jaylan Ford, pass rush from the edge spots) but it pales in comparison to the question marks Texas has had entering the past two seasons.
This is far and away the most talented roster Steve Sarkisian has had in his 3 years at Texas. It is now time for that to translate to the win column.
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