Winners, losers from head coach Steve Sarkisian’s first spring game

Riley Glenn

It’s important not to make assumptions after a glorified practice such as the Orange-White spring game on Saturday, but after Texas fans got their first chance to see the new-look program under first-year head football coach Steve Sarkisian, there were some obvious standouts and low points.

Here are the winners and losers from Sarkisian’s first spring game.


Eddie Gaspar

The defensive line:

The pass rushers wreaked havoc against two inexperienced quarterbacks and an offensive line without senior center Derek Kerstetter. The defenses compiled nine sacks, though the quarterbacks were ruled down on first touch. Junior defensive linemen Moro Ojomo and Jett Bush led the way with three sacks apiece.

“I think our defensive line really has played at a high level,” Sarkisian said in a Tuesday teleconference. “They got in better shape throughout spring as we went, but internally, that became a relatively deep position for us.”

Courtesy of Texas Athletics

Sophomore running back Bijan Robinson:

Robinson picked up 2020 Valero Alamo Bowl Offensive MVP honors in the last game of his freshman season, and the rising sophomore picked up right where he left off Saturday. Robinson opened the game with a spectacular one-cut move to pick up a six-yard touchdown and finished the day with 54 yards on only 10 carries. He also showed off his versatility by catching four balls for 27 yards.

“I think one thing that sometimes is hard to tell when you’re just watching tape is the suddenness of (Robinson’s) cuts,” Sarkisian said after the spring game. “I think he makes tremendous cuts, especially in tight quarters.”

Ashley Ephraim

Senior defensive back D’Shawn Jamison:

Junior quarterback Casey Thompson led a clinical two-minute drive in the waning moments of the second quarter trying to tack more points on the board for his Orange squad. Instead, Jamison changed the entire dynamic of the game by reading Thompson’s eyes perfectly and picking off an ill-advised wheel route throw before sprinting down the field for a 92-yard touchdown.

“It was a great feeling knowing I got a pick-six,” Jamison said. “That’s one of my goals for my senior year, to at least get two or three of them.”


Jack Myer

The offensive line:

In Saturday’s battle in the trenches, the defensive line was the clear winner. Granted, the Texas defensive line is much deeper as a unit while the offense is still without Kerstetter and figuring out how to replace 2021 NFL Draft prospect Sam Cosmi.

Especially concerning was the confusion amongst the group in picking up a well-timed secondary blitz, specifically when sophomore defensive back Jerrin Thompson beat in-line junior tight end Jared Wiley to get into the backfield in the first quarter.

Jack Myer

Red zone offense:

In seven trips to the red zone for both offenses combined, Texas managed only three touchdowns. One of those trips resulted in six points for the defense after Jamison’s interception. The result was three field goal attempts inside of 40 yards for senior kicker Cameron Dicker.

“We did not execute very well in the red area on Saturday on either team,” Sarkisian said. “We settled for a lot of field goals, (and) we had the one big turnover.”

Jack Myer

Clarity at quarterback:

Sarkisian’s biggest decision in year one will be who he names as starting quarterback for the season opener against Louisiana on Sept. 4. Unfortunately for him, neither of the quarterbacks separated themselves from one another on Saturday. Thompson finished with 242 passing yards, but also threw two interceptions. Redshirt freshman Hudson Card threw for 191 yards and a touchdown pass, but also took five sacks.

“Both those guys have made tremendous strides,” Sarkisian said. “They’re not exactly where we want them to be yet, and I think that’s what’s so intriguing about this competition is that maybe one day, one guy takes some really cool strides, and then the next day the other guy does.”