Psychic or just prepared? Casey Thompson’s meticulous film watching takes offense to new level

Nathan Han, Sports Editor

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the September 27 flipbook.

In the second quarter of Texas’ 58-0 win over Rice, quarterback Casey Thompson actually called sophomore running back Bijan Robinson’s 62-yard touchdown on an innocuous second-and-1 run.

“We got lined up, and he’s like, ‘Alright B, we’re about to score on this play.’ And we scored on the play,” Robinson said. “It was the inside zone where I went 62 yards or something like that, and I was like, ‘Well, you were right.’”

Thompson could be psychic.

Or, as Robinson explained, the redshirt junior quarterback’s meticulous preparation helps him break down defenses. 

Ever since Thompson took over the starting quarterback job against Rice, the Texas offense hasn’t punted a single time. Including his Alamo Bowl breakout performance against Colorado, the quarterback led his offense to points on 24 of his 27 drives, including 22 touchdowns.

“He’s the type to just be like, ‘We’re going to get 20 yards on this, watch,’” Robinson said. “And then we’ll get more than 20 yards.”

The running back is just one of many of Thompson’s teammates who rave about the quarterback’s preparation when it comes to watching film. Sophomore wide receiver Jordan Whittington said Thompson has “laser focus” and gets “down to the details.”

But don’t take it from the playmakers that Thompson watches hours of film with each week. Here’s his weekly routine, from the man himself:

“So, it starts on Sunday. I watch the game once or twice from Saturday, and then I try to put it to bed and start on the next team,” Thompson said. “What I like to do early on in the week is I watch full games. So I sit down for two, three, four hours and watch a full game.”

“So if we have opponent scout film on another team, I’ll watch every game that they have on film. Then, throughout the week, I’ll watch first down. I’ll watch second down. Then, toward the end of the week, I’ll watch third down and red zone. On Friday, whenever we get to have a walkthrough and get on the bus, I take my iPad with me. I have a hotspot on my phone so I can watch film anywhere I go.”

On one off day last year, Thompson didn’t have much homework at all. The result? He said he watched 12 hours of film, only taking a break to eat lunch and to go watch film later in the day with his coaches. On most days, though, he said he watches at least two hours of a film a day.

The redshirt junior rushed to complete his undergraduate degree in sport management in just three years. He said he went from taking 15 hours as an undergraduate student to now only taking two classes as a graduate student.

“I have more time to watch film and meet with my receivers and more time to get treatment,” Thompson said.

The extra dedication rubbed off on his receivers. 

Thompson said that during the offseason, he went to grab his receivers after workouts, after meetings in the summer and even in fall camp in August.

“I think that kind of started with me showing them, ‘Hey, we need to watch extra film whenever we can,’” Thompson said. “And now, those guys do a great job when they have extra time, they’ll text me or call me and be like, ‘Hey, I want to come watch film with you.’”

Even after earning the starting role, Thompson is still using the same routine that served him well as a backup quarterback to former quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Whittington said there are a lot of similarities in how the two prepare.

Thompson credits Ehlinger, as well as a host of coaches — including former coaches Tim Beck, Tom Herman, Michael Yurcich and current coaches Steve Sarkisian and AJ Milwee.

But in the end, the drive to be a film guru comes from himself.

“I really enjoy the game of football. I love playing it, I love watching film,” Thompson said. “I would love to be a coach someday if the opportunity presents itself, but obviously, I’m trying to play football as long as I can.”