Arch Manning was predicted to make his debut for Texas in the Longhorns’ Week 1 matchup against Rice on September 2 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium by Hook’em Headlines’ Andrew Miller — who believes an inevitable first-half lead will lead to snaps for Manning and Maalik Murphy, his primary competition for the backup role behind starter Quinn Ewers.
“Sark will likely have ample opportunities to get Maalik and Arch many live-game reps this weekend against Rice,” Miller wrote. “If Texas jumps out to a big first-half lead, I don’t see Sark hesitating to get Murphy and/or Arch their first live-game reps of their collegiate careers.
“Texas needs to solidify the backup quarterback job heading into Big 12 play. And there’s no better way to test Arch and Maalik’s readiness to assume the backup job effectively than by excelling in live-game action early this season.”
As Miller relays, Murphy is the current favorite to be Texas’ QB2, but the competition could remain open into the season.
“Murphy is the likely favorite to be the backup quarterback on the two-deep heading into the season,” Miller prefaced before saying, “But the competition will remain open for Arch to get more backup quarterback reps as the season progresses if he looks good in limited live-game reps and practice drills.”
Steve Sarkisian Non-Committal on Texas’ QB2 Preference
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian didn’t say much regarding the Longhorns’ backup quarterback race on August 28; instead declaring that the decision could be made only at the exact moment it will require one.
“I think I think one of the cool things about pretty much every position group that you talked about, that’s why we practice throughout the week and that’s why they come with a real intent to work every day,” Sarkisian said (h/t UT’s official athletics website.)
“Maalik and Arch right now, you know they’re both doing well and so you know, who do we feel like come Thursday is the guy that kind of earned that opportunity to be the backup this week? That’ll be who the backup is.”
Sarkisian extended that ambiguity to the running back and cornerback positions as well.
“The running back position is the same, we got a lot of information to still take in here these first few ballgames,” Sarkisian said. “And so that’s kind of how that position is gonna go and the corner position really too. Like I said, we’ve got four corners we feel comfortable with in Ryan (Watts) and Gavin (Holmes), Malik (Muhammad), and then Terrance (Brooks).”
Maalik Murphy as Texas QB2 Remains Most Likely Outcome
According to Longhorns Country’s Zach Dimmitt, Murphy winning the Texas backup signal-caller role “still remains the most likely outcome.”
“Based on their respective performances in the spring game and the overall experience comparison, Murphy had seemed like runaway favorite to be the QB2 behind Ewers,” Dimmitt prefaced before saying, “He finished that Orange-White game going 9 of 13 passing for 165 yards and one touchdown, which was highlighted by a beautiful 79-yard touchdown to freshman receiver Johntay Cook.
“Murphy being the QB2 still remains the most likely outcome, but Sarkisian may not be wanting to show his cards just yet for a game where the backups will likely get tons of reps.”