The Texas Longhorns entered the offseason after their Alamo Bowl game against the Washington Huskies. Following the game, it’s easy to identify what must improve for Steve Sarkisian and his team.
The Longhorns felt Bijan Robinson’s absence in a struggling offensive effort. The Texas offensive line did not give much room for Keilan Robinson and Jonathon Brooks to make plays though Brooks’ long touchdown run helped make up for those offensive line struggles.
For the most part, the line has done a good job. Kyle Flood’s group has done particularly well in pass protection, which bodes well for Quinn Ewers next season.
Inconsistency in the passing game reared its head against the Huskies. This time, Quinn Ewers wasn’t the major culprit. Ewers improved dramatically in bowl practices. Now he and receivers look to get on the same page.
Let’s look at how Texas can target its weaknesses this offseason.
Quinn Ewers becomes Steve Sarkisian's project
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Steve Sarkisian’s main goal of the offseason should be to make Ewers into a championship caliber quarterback. In addition, Texas needs Quinn to be receptive to putting extra work into offseason preparation. Sarkisian should start with molding the gunslinger into the player that brings a Big 12 championship to Austin. If the quarterback position is elite, everything else will fall into place.
Isaiah Neyor gets healthy
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You can argue Neyor gives the Texas passing attack its highest ceiling. He is the jump ball and downfield threat that Quinn Ewers lacked this season. If healthy, the Wyoming transfer could make the offense as scary as we thought it would be this year.
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If Jordan Whittington returns, Texas could finally see what he, Neyor, Worthy and Ja’Tavion Sanders can do against opposing defenses. Whittington’s playmaking ability in the short and intermediate passing game can open more opportunities for the offense. It’s on Sarkisian and his staff to ensure that each of the four are each given significant roles in the offense next season.
Run blocking solidifies
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Texas pass protection was superb this season. The young offensive line played well in light of its lack of experience. If run blocking can catch up to pass protection, the offense could take off against Big 12 opponents.
Anthony Hill is game-ready
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There’s a strong chance Anthony Hill will start opposite Jaylan Ford next season. He has the instincts, athleticism, strength and football IQ to make a significant impact. If he progresses quickly, look for Texas to have one of the better defenses in the country.
Texas finds its answer at cornerback and safety
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Gavin Holmes, Derek Williams and Malik Muhammad will vie for significant roles in the Texas defense. Terrance Brooks has proven more than capable in coverage. Given everything the team returns, the 2023 secondary could be the team’s best since the 2018 season.
New leaders emerge
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Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson depart. Now others have the opportunity to take leadership roles. Jaylan Ford, Ryan Watts, T’Vondre Sweat, Jahdae Barron, Jerrin Thompson and Barryn Sorrell have the consistency to garner respect with their teammates. Quinn Ewers, Kelvin Banks, Jake Majors and Ja’Tavion Sanders figure to be natural leaders for next season on offense.
Duce Robinson chooses Texas
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This might be the least likely of the scenarios, but if Texas can add Robinson to the offense, it could be too much for the Big 12 to stop.