Quarterback takeaways after Orange-White spring game


Assad Malik

Quarterback Quinn Ewers attempts to move the ball downfield during the Orange and White Game at DKR Texas Memorial Stadium on April 15, 2023.

Hunter Dworaczyk, Sports Desk Editor

Texas football had its 15th and final spring practice on Saturday, this time in the form of spring game action at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Fans got to see a glimpse of what the Longhorns will look like in the fall, with newcomers and returners spread amongst the two teams.

While it is important not to dig too deep into the 2023 version of the Longhorns off of one simulated scrimmage, here are some takeaways on Texas’ quarterbacks for the upcoming season.

Quinn Ewers

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said it is “pretty clear to say Quinn Ewers is our starting quarterback” following the game. Typically a coach who holds his cards close to his chest, Sarkisian’s outward confidence in Ewers bodes well for the sophomore quarterback’s playing time for next season.

While he had an up-and-down debut season at Texas last season, it appears this spring may have been a season of transformation for the young quarterback. Shaved mullet aside, Ewers has actively taken steps to improve his nutrition and looks to be in better physical shape than last year.

Ewers looked the part of a starting quarterback in Saturday’s scrimmage, passing efficiently and taking care of the ball. He completed 16 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown, including a 41-yard connection to junior receiver Xavier Worthy.

“I wasn’t where I wanted to be last year,” Ewers said. “I felt like I let most of the fans down. I don’t want to be in that situation this year.”

Maalik Murphy

Redshirt freshman Maalik Murphy’s arm talent is real.

Injuries have forced Murphy to be sidelined for the majority of his Texas career, meaning the California product has not had a chance to play in front of a crowd in game action. Even this spring, Murphy missed the first week of practices.

Though his debut has been a long time in the making, he looked comfortable as a passer on Saturday. Murphy completed nine of his 13 passes for a total of 165 yards and a touchdown.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Murphy’s game was the arm strength he displayed. He showed some zip on many of his passes, specifically on a 79-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Johntay Cook II that traveled a great distance through the air.

“When he really (starts) to settle in, he has a natural ability to pass the football,” Sarkisian said. “He’s got great vision. When he pushes the ball down the field, it’s natural.”

Arch Manning

Arguably the most highly anticipated quarterback recruit in recent memory, freshman Arch Manning’s entrance to the game brought the loudest stadium ovation of the afternoon. 

However, Manning’s performance on Saturday showed his inexperience. He was occasionally too quick in leaving the pocket when facing pressure, a common issue for young quarterbacks.

Manning completed just five of his 13 passes for 30 yards. It is understandable that he struggled in his first appearance, considering he should be a senior in high school as an early enrollee and has just had 15 practices of learning the playbook.

“At times the eyes drop,” Sarkisian said. “Now we’re looking at the pass rush and not getting our eyes downfield where they need to be. Still a work in progress, but I thought (the young quarterbacks) threw some nice balls and tried to give their team a chance.”