With 16 days until Texas kicks-off their season against Louisiana-Lafayette I will be predicting the starters for every position. Today we will be starting off with the Longhorns offensive starters. Coach Sarkisian is faced with possibly the biggest decision of his coaching career: Who will be his starting quarterback in Year One with the Texas Longhorns? However, there are plenty of other position battles being settled in camp as well. We will discuss all of them between now and the end of next week.
Quarterback — Hudson Card
Card and Casey Thompson have been battling for the right to be QB1 all off-season. This competition has been so close for so long with no one seizing the job. That leads me to believe Coach Sarkisian will opt to go with the younger and more talented quarterback, Hudson Card. If you want to go more in-depth on the quarterback battle I posted an article here. My colleague Michael Farber also shared his thoughts on the quarterback battle in and article here.
Running Back — Bijan Robinson
This might have been the easiest position to pencil in. Bijan could easily see 20-30 touches in big games as a runner and as a pass catcher. Roschon Johnson and Keilan Robinson will also get their fair share of touches. Johnson is great between the tackles runner, while Keilan Robinson is a very talented pass catcher. Robinson could even see time in the slot. Texas might have the most talented backfield in the Big-12.
Wide Receiver — Joshua Moore
Wide Receiver — Jordan Whittington
Wide Receiver — Xavier Worthy
One of Texas’ biggest question marks heading into the 2021 season is wide receiver. Joshua Moore and Jordan Whittington lead the group of returning wide receives. Combining for 51 receptions and 678 receiving yards, huge indictment on how inexperienced the receiving corps is.
I suspect Sark will move all of the receivers around and none will be strictly an “X” “Z” or “slot”, rather they will all rotate at each position. Depending on game matchups or in-game player matchups — which is why they are not designated here. Xavier Worthy has been the talk of fall camp and has reportedly impressed the coaching staff. I believe the third and fourth wide receiver spots will be rotated constantly between Worthy, Troy Omeire and Kelvontay Dixon. Omeire is coming back from an ACL injury he suffered last fall and offers Texas a big target. Dixon will add plenty of speed to this offense. While Xavier Worthy, as mentioned before, has been one of the most consistent wide receivers in camp and has shown an understanding of Sark’s playbook.
Tight End — Cade Brewer
The tight end group features Texas’ 4th most productive returning pass catcher from 2020, Cade Brewer. Brewer caught 15 balls for 169 yards in 2020. Jared Wiley is right behind him though, catching 9 balls for 166 yards. I imagine Cade Brewer will get over 50% of the snaps at tight end. Wiley will be rotated in a healthy amount as well, especially if the receiver group disappoints early. That would cause Coach Sark to run the ball more and get better blockers in the game. Rather than have three wide receivers playing, he may opt to bring in two tight ends more often than he ever has before.
Left Tackle — Christian Jones
Left Guard — Denzel Okafor
Center — Jake Majors
Right Guard — Junior Angilau
Right Tackle — Andrej Karic
The offensive line is another position that has questions heading into the 2021 season. This offensive line did not look good in the spring game, Kyle Flood has a lot of work to do to get this group ready for Week 1. Derek Kerstetter is coming back from a horrendous ankle injury he suffered last season, which is why I’ve opted to leave him out of the starting lineup for now and treat him as a plug-in-play 6th man. Junior Angilau is seemingly on the hot seat with Tope Imade reportedly working with the first team offense earlier this week. Kyle Flood is one of the best Offensive Line Coaches in all of College Football and I expect this group to be much better in Week 12 than they will be in Week 1.
Overall I believe this Texas Offense is going to be above average. There are certainly questions with the offensive line and wide receivers, but there should be enough depth in those positions to find capable starters. The quarterback situation is also a huge question mark. As good as everyone feels about Hudson Card and Casey Thompson, neither of them have proven to be successful starting quarterbacks in college football yet.
The running game with Bijan Robinson, Roschon Johnson and Keilan Robinson will be electric and they all compliment each other very well. I predict this Offense under Sarkisian will average roughly 35 points per game. A drop off from last year where they averaged 42.7 PPG, ranking 7th in the nation. Sarkisian is still implementing his offense and this roster isn’t necessarily built the way his teams have been in the past. I imagine Sarkisian will play to the offenses strengths and we will see a lot of two running backs on the field at the same time in 21 personnel. Slowly getting the wide receivers he needs to implement the spread offense he is accustomed to running and that worked so well at Alabama.
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