Hudson Card was officially named The Longhorns starting Quarterback Saturday afternoon. I predicted Hudson Card would win the starting quarterback job earlier this month, here. Casey Thompson and Card were neck and neck throughout the entire off-season. I expect Casey to explore the transfer portal this week or at the end of the 2021 season. I believe Thompson would be a good starting Quarterback for most Power-5 schools. No matter what he decides or where he goes, Thompson was loyal to The Longhorns while sitting behind Sam Ehlinger and we should all be rooting for him to succeed. Now back to Hudson Card, what should we be expecting of him this season? How will Sarkisian’s offense look with Card leading the way? Grab your favorite beer, cocktail, or a cup of coffee and let’s dive into those questions now!
How Will Coach Sarkisian’s Offense Look?
Coach Sark runs a lot of RPO’s (Run-Pass-Option plays). Giving the quarterback the decision on whether to hand the ball off or sling it to his receiver on the play. This tests the decision making ability for the starting quarterback. Hudson Card must have impressed Coach Sark with his decision making in the spring game, scrimmages, and practice. Sarkisian also believes in running a lot of routes that keep the receivers moving. For example: slants, posts, crossing routes, GO routes, etc. These types of routes test the quarterback’s accuracy by forcing him to lead the receiver into open space. This gives a lot of room for yards after the catch for the receivers. Sarkisian tends to shy away from hook routes and comebacks, where the receiver is either stopping or coming back to the quarterback. These routes do not allow for many YAC (Yards After Catch) opportunities.
Hudson Card’s decision making and accuracy are going to be the most important tools for success in Sarkisian’s offense. However, Card’s ability to create plays outside of structure is paramount. The Longhorns’ offensive-line is still a huge question mark, especially in pass protection. Card was a wide receiver in high school before converting to quarterback and has the athleticism to make plays outside of the pocket. Card also has shown solid playmaking ability when rolling out of a messy pocket, keeping his eyes downfield and hitting a receiver quickly and accurately for positive yards.
How Sarkisian Will Use Texas’ Weapons With Hudson Card
Looking at the skill positions Texas has, we can take an educational guess on how Sarkisian will use those pieces. Jordan Whittington, Xavier Worthy, and even Keilan Robinson will serve as great yards after the catch threats. Joshua Moore and Troy Omeire will give Card big targets in the red zone and in the intermediate part of the football field. Kelvontay Dixon and Marcus Washington can open up the offense with their vertical speed and deep-threat abilities. Cade Brewer and Jared Wiley will be blocking in the run game and releasing up the seams in the pass game. Bijan Robinson will be the focal point. In important games I could see Robinson getting 20-30 touches. Roschon Johnson will provide relief for Bijan. This Sarkisian offense has been made to “plug-in” any quarterback and allow his playmakers to help him succeed. Hudson Card is going to reap all of the benefits from this scheme, as Tua Tagoviola and Mac Jones did at Alabama.
What Should We Expect From Hudson Card?
A season stat line that would inspire hope for Texas Longhorns Fans, in my opinion, would be something as follows: 3,000+ yards passing, 30+ Total Touchdowns, with less than 10 turnovers. Turnovers and touchdowns will be the biggest indicators on how Card’s season had gone. His yards will be dictated by how often Bijan Robinson and company break off big gains on the ground rather than through the air. We should also all expect Hudson Card to start off slow in the first quarter of the season. A first time starter, Card will have a lot to learn and Texas does not have an easy schedule to start the season. As long as we don’t see obvious mistakes in the final four games of the season, Longhorns Faithful should be optimistic on Hudson’s future.
As mentioned above, Card has obviously shown Coach Sarkisian enough as a decision maker to be chosen as The Longhorns QB1. Card also is in a favorable offense with plenty of talent, most notably Bijan Robinson. Card will act as more of a “Field General”. He will be dishing out the ball to his playmakers and letting them do the work, to begin the season. As Coach Sark develops Card we should see this offense expand. If Card excels, we might see Card turn into a legitimate Heisman dark-horse himself for the 2022 season. Sarkisian has proven he can develop quarterbacks and has produced two top-15 picks in his last two seasons with Alabama. Card’s floor is seemingly a good floor general who will put the ball in his playmaker’s hands on time. Hudson’s ceiling seems to be a Heisman Finalist and high draft pick whenever he decides to take the leap to the NFL.
I believe Hudson Card was the correct choice, regardless of if Casey Thompson transfers out of Austin this season or not. Hudson has all of the natural tools to become a legitimate conference-winning quarterback. With the right development, Hudson Card could be the highest drafted quarterback out of Texas since Vince Young in 2006. Card’s improvement will also showcase how good Sarkisian is at developing quarterbacks. Arch Manning is the heir to the Manning Family Dynasty and I believe he is going to closely follow how Sarkisian does in his first year as Texas’ head coach. If Hudson Card flourishes and shows vast improvement from the beginning of the season to the end, Arch Manning will take note of it. Beyond Arch Manning though, Sarkisian’s billing as a “Quarterback Whisper” will help in recruiting for every young high school quarterback who is picking between Texas and other powerhouse programs like Oklahoma, Ohio State, Alabama, and Georgia. A lot rides on Hudson Card, more than just Texas’ 2021 football season.
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