Hudson Card not going down quietly in Texas football QB battle

Hudson Card, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
Hudson Card, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports /

Entering the third day of fall practice for head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Texas football program, it doesn’t feel like we’re much closer to having a starting quarterback named for the regular season opener. Texas is still seeing the likes of junior quarterback Hudson Card duke it out with redshirt freshman Quinn Ewers a few weeks ahead of the regular season opener, which is set for Sep. 3 at home against Louisiana-Monroe.

In fact, it feels like the quarterback competition through the first few days of fall camp is following a similar narrative to how it did in spring ball. Card is getting the first-team reps to start off fall practice so far this week while Ewers mixes in with the twos and then the ones later on.

It is worth noting that both Card and Ewers are getting reps in with the first and second-team units in fall practice so far.

Yet, the fact that Card is taking more of the first-team reps at the outset of fall camp over Ewers is still pretty surprising to some degree. It felt like Ewers had the momentum in the quarterback competition over Card at the conclusion of spring ball.

Granted, for those that want Ewers to be named the starting quarterback early in fall camp, we should note that the more experienced of the two signal-callers getting the first-team reps is completely in line with Sark’s thinking this week. Sark and the Longhorns staff tend to give the first-team reps to the most experienced and/or the returning starters at the outset of fall camp.

Hudson Card making notable strides in Texas football QB competition with Quinn Ewers early on

Not much has changed from how the practice reps were distributed throughout spring ball.

We’re likely going to see that narrative shift, though, as we move closer and closer to the start of the regular season. More and more position battles will be decided as certain players step up in the next couple of weeks of fall practice. There’s no reason to expect anything different at the quarterback position.

But it is interesting to see and hear the results coming from both Ewers and Card through the first few days of fall practice. It looks like Ewers and Card are both more confident in their throws down the field and to the sidelines than they were in spring ball, which is a good sign.

That’s where the similarities between the two so far in fall camp end, though.

The main difference between these two quarterbacks so far in fall camp appears to be the decision-making and footwork. Card has shown some pretty massive strides in terms of his footwork and movement within the pocket. And he looks to hold the edge in these regards over Ewers at the outset of camp.

Where Ewers holds the edge over Card appears to be with some of the throws he’s able to make. We all know the insane arm talent that Ewers brings to the table. And we’re getting to see some of those crazy arm angles and throws that he can make that really set him apart as a top talent at the quarterback position.

Thus, we’re left with the question as to whether Card’s increasing pocket awareness and improving footwork can give him a big enough edge to push Ewers for the starting job coming out of fall camp.

The problem with this is that we don’t quite know how Card’s seemingly improved pocket presence will translate in games. There’s obviously a major difference between going through reads in practice without full pads and without full contact compared with pressure coming at you in a live-game situation.

And dealing with that pressure in-game was something that Card struggled with throughout last season.

All in all, it sounds like Card is getting more of the first-team reps and is displaying some worthwhile developments in his game through the start of fall practice. And while it’s still too early to tell how exactly that will translate in this quarterback competition and in live-game situations this season, these are indications that he could be pushing Ewers more than some anticipated.

The combination of these improvements in Card’s game along with him showing heightened confidence while taking the first-team reps at the outset of fall practice are noteworthy developments in this competition.

I’m not saying that Card is going to win the quarterback competition over Ewers coming out of fall camp. But, if he wasn’t planning on doing this anyway, it certainly looks like it could be worth Sark giving Card some live-game reps during the non-conference schedule to see how these strides in Card’s pocket awareness/presence hold up against real pressure from opposing defenses.

If Ewers does show he can effectively take the reigns of this offense at the outset of the regular season, this might be a moot point that Card is showing these strides in his game.

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Texas has roughly three more weeks of fall practice before the team is ready to ramp up for the start of the upcoming regular season. The main storyline that will command the news cycle for the next couple of weeks for the Longhorns in camp will be this quarterback competition between Card and Ewers.