14 concerns about the 2023 Texas football season

Texas football has a strong roster heading into 2023. It’s certainly the strongest since the days of Colt McCoy at quarterback. Granted, there are several questions many have about the program after mixed results last year.

Rivals publisher and college football analyst Geoff Ketchum has more than a few questions about the team, and rightfully so. The team went 8-5 last season, and when Texas loses five games you know plenty of things went wrong.

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Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers had a mediocre season on the whole though we believe he is a good quarterback. The wide range of quarterback play nullified the more impressive performances he posted.

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The loss of running back Bijan Robinson was certainly felt in a bowl loss to Washington.

Ketchum shared 14 quick thoughts on the team. We’ll address our level of concern from 1-10, with 10 being the ultimate level of concern.

Will Ewers take the next step?

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Concern level: 8.

The season hinges on Ewers’ performance. Even so, I wrote off Joe Burrow after his 56% completion season in 2018 at LSU. To do the same with Ewers would be premature.


Will Sark get away from his nickname of Seven-Win Steve?

Concern level: 4.

The talking point before last season was Sarkisian had never won eight games. Judging his performance prior to sobriety isn’t a legitimate talking point.

Will the team play to level of competition?

Sara Diggins/Austin American-Statesman-USA TODAY NETWORK

Concern level: 10.

Texas will almost certainly play up or down to its opponent. It makes it a near lock that the team drops at least one game to TCU, Iowa State or Baylor. I see two losses. On the flip side, the team should take its biggest games seriously. That would be bad news for Oklahoma and Alabama.


Will Texas be good on the road?

Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports

Concern level: 8.

The road issue isn’t the ultimate concern; some of us have all but accepted that Texas will not be great on the road. The issue likely will be road matchups where the opposing crowd wants the win more than Texas does. Baylor, TCU and Iowa State are dangerous for that reason. That said, Alabama should provide an intimidating road environment.

Who fills the void in the run game?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Concern level: 5.

There’s going to be a drop off from Bijan Robinson to Jonathon Brooks at running back. With the addition of AD Mitchell, Isaiah Neyor and Johntay Cook at receiver, the Longhorns should not need Brooks to be Bijan.


Will interior offensive line be a weakness?

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Concern level: 2.

Let’s revisit this when Cole Hutson and DJ Campbell are healthy and Hayden Conner isn’t playing backup center to give the second string a viable center.

Will Texas get plus edge play?

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Concern level: 3.

We may never know if Texas has great edge rushers. Opposing offenses are going to take the short completions that defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski concedes. You can’t get to the quarterback if the secondary gives you half a second to get there.

David Gbenda as a starter?

AP Photo/Eric Gay

Concern level: 5.

We haven’t seen Gbenda play enough snaps to make any strong positive judgments, but we’ve seen him make plays. I’m neutral on Gbenda taking starting snaps.


How good is LB outside Jaylan Ford?

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Concern level: 5

This is another neutral concern. We’ve seen freshman Malik Jefferson make an impact at linebacker from Day 1. We think Anthony Hill is that kind of player in the same way safety Caden Sterns and tackle Kelvin Banks were at their positions.

Will Barryn Sorrell be consistently good?

AP Photo/David Goldman

Concern level: 2.

Texas would love to have a 10-sack edge rusher. Perhaps that was feasible with Kwiatkowski’s defenses at Washington. That’s just not how his defense has operated at Texas and probably not what it will allow. It’s all about damage control.


Is the youth a year away?

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Concern level: 8.

There’s reasonable concern over whether Quinn Ewers and some of the others are ready to carry this Longhorns squad. It’s a prove it year for the team.

No playmakers outside Ford?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Concern level: Below 0.

If we’re working with the premise that Jahdae Barron and Ryan Watts were not playmakers at cornerback, we’re not giving due credit. Defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat made huge plays against Alabama and Oklahoma as well. We think fellow tackles Byron Murphy and Alfred Collins and linebacker Anthony Hill can step into playmaking roles.


Injuries to key players like Ford or Sorrell?

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Concern level: 9

Those losses would be significant. Fortunately, every other Big 12 team has that kind of concern and likely at more positions than Texas.

Will Texas get fair officiating?

Concern level: 7.

Texas is going to experience poor officiating. The team is strong enough to overcome it.

Story originally appeared on Longhorns Wire