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With key players such as quarterback Sam Ehlinger and left tackle Samuel Cosmi departing to the NFL after the 2020 season, the Longhorns are looking for new faces to step up and produce.
First-year head coach Steve Sarkisian has inherited a plethora of weapons that should instill fear into their opponents, but as of now, the team needs certain players to step up and assert themselves.
Looking at the offensive rankings last season can be a bit deceptive in the case of the Longhorns, as although they ranked seventh in scoring offense, it was more due to the fact that Texas was playing tennis-like matches where they played down to opponents. Of the five games they scored over 40 points, three of those games went into overtime. The difference between this current regime and the previous one under Tom Herman is the fact that Texas will be more aggressive and look to light up the scoreboard, whereas in past seasons the Texas offense would be more reactionary and answer to the opposing teams scores.
Like Sarkisian’s mantra states, the new offense will have a “All Gas No Brakes” mentality, and this upcoming offseason will be crucial for many unproven players to solidify a role for themselves.
Strictly based on my opinion, let’s take a look at four of the most important players on the Texas’ offense this season.
Left Tackle: Christian Jones/Andrej Karic
Image courtesy of Texas Sports
The offensive line will have several new faces that will slide into the starting role for the first time. This position is mighty important especially considering there is a new quarterback behind center, but neither Christian Jones or Andrej Karic were able solidify themselves at the definite starter. Whether it is Hudson Card or Casey Thompson at quarterback, both are inexperienced at the college level, and there were certainly times during the spring game when they looked frantic in the pocket. This is why the left tackle position is important and needs to be solid in order for the new quarterback to be confident.
Wide Receiver: Jordan Whittington
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
The former five-star is looking to put together what would be his best and hopefully his first healthy season. This is his third year on campus, but Whittington has been constantly in and out of the lineup, only playing in six games. The Longhorns lacked a true No. 1 receiver last year as Joshua Moore was the leading receiver with only 472 yards, but with the flashes Whittington showed in the spring game, along with his high school days where he accounted for over 5,000 all-purpose yards, there is potential for him to step up and show why he was rated a five-star.
Running Back: Bijan Robinson
Jay Janner-USA TODAY NETWORK
The sophomore running back is the most proven offensive weapon that the Longhorns have, and he will definitely take pressure off the new quarterback. Sarkisian will most likely take pleasure in the fact he can just force feed a running back who averaged over eight yards per carry last season and is one of the most elusive players in the nation. If you compare the numbers of former Alabama back Najee Harris to Robinson's, you can make the assumption that it is very possible for Robinson to rush for over 2,000 yards in 2021. He’s a true blessing to have, as there could very well be some growing pains at the beginning of the season. When in doubt, hand it to No. 5.
Quarterback: Casey Thompson/Hudson Card
Image courtesy of Texas Sports
The Longhorns have a new field general and the only issue is that no one knows who it is yet. Casey Thompson, who popped off in relief of Sam Ehlinger in the Alamo Bowl with four touchdowns, has the most in-game experience. However, with a new coach in town, no one's job is safe whether or not you waited three years. It seems as if there is no true frontrunner, as Hudson Card made an impression during the spring game throwing for 191 yards and one touchdown, while completing 61% of his passes. Thompson started the game with the offensive starters, but did not throw for a touchdown and threw a pick six in the red zone. He also only completed 54% of his passes. The battle will likely go through fall and Texas needs whoever wins to play at an elite level in order to navigate through what 247Sports has ranked as the ninth toughest schedule in the nation. Sam Ehlinger built the foundation, and the next quarterback needs to use the momentum and propel the program to the next step, otherwise it will be another 10 years in the mediocre carousel of quarterback play.