4 reasons to be optimistic about Texas football heading into bye week

Alfred Collins, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Alfred Collins, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Quinn Ewers, Texas football
Quinn Ewers, Texas football /

Freshman growing pains will subside eventually for Quinn Ewers

While the talent of the redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers is undoubted, we can’t forget that he is basically a little bit more experienced than a true freshman playing in his first season as a starter. Ewers was originally part of the 2022 recruiting class until he reclassified to the 2021 class and enrolled at Ohio State last fall.

And a lot of the freshmen mistakes that you would expect out of a first-year starter playing against a top-15 team on the road in conference play showed up last weekend. Ewers definitely had his worst game of the season, completing less than 40 percent of his passes for two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Ewers was off-target for much of this game, and there was miscommunication after miscommunication with his wideouts.

But Texas gets the bye week at the perfect time for Sark and Ewers to recalibrate this offense and come out strong on Nov. 5 against Kansas State.

Moreover, I think the narrative surrounding Ewers would be very different right now had the Texas receivers made more plays on catchable balls late in this game. Star sophomore wide receiver Xavier Worthy lost his balance on a nice ball in the end zone in the fourth quarter and came up with what should amount to a drop.

And then, sophomore tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders had a ball bounce off his hands right into the arms of Oklahoma State safety Kendal Daniels to put this game away for the Pokes.

Had two of the most talented Texas skill targets come up with catches that they make more often than not (especially Sanders), people would be talking about the mental toughness and clutch gene that Ewers brings to the table. Instead of talking about how he is able to fight through adversity, we’re now talking about how Sark potentially should’ve replaced him in this game for junior quarterback Hudson Card.

There is plenty of blame to go around in this game. And I’m not saying that Ewers isn’t at fault here. He had more than a dozen overthrows and wasn’t able to go through his progressions for at least 70 percent of the game. But it doesn’t help when your receivers have three drops and aren’t making plays late.

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If Texas can get the likes of Sanders and redshirt junior wide receiver Jordan Whittington involved more early on in the next few games, that should be able to get more confidence going for Ewers. And it looks like the return of senior tight end Jahleel Billingsley could positively impact this passing game moving forward, as he had some nice catches (one of which was a contested catch) late in this game for 33 yards.