College Football
With starting QB Quinn Ewers 'week to week,' who will lead Texas?
College Football

With starting QB Quinn Ewers 'week to week,' who will lead Texas?

Updated Oct. 23, 2023 3:01 p.m. ET

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday that starting quarterback Quinn Ewers is "week to week" after sustaining a shoulder injury in a 31-24 win over Houston over the weekend.

Ewers sprained the AC joint in his throwing shoulder after taking a hard hit from defensive end David Ugwoegbu in the third quarter. He tried to keep playing but ultimately knew he needed to come out. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Maalik Murphy, who won the backup job during the spring.

"We never really know exactly how bodies respond to injury, so just going to have to monitor [him] on a weekly basis," Sarkisian said. "Obviously we're going to do everything in our power to get [him] back sooner rather than later."

Sarkisian said that if the Longhorns' next game vs. BYU, his alma mater, was today, Murphy would be the starter. But he also has "a ton of confidence" in freshman Arch Manning. Both will "get a ton of reps" this week in practice, Sarkisian said.


"Maalik is a natural passer," Sarkisian said. " He throws a beautiful ball and I think there's not a throw that he can't make."

Sarkisian went on to praise Murphy's leadership qualities, which is often evident on the sideline when he's dapping up his teammates and giving guys high-fives as they come off the field. Murphy also has "a great feel for the game and he can make all the throws," Sarkisian said.

Murphy completed 1-of-2 pass attempts for seven yards vs. the Cougars, but at that point, the Longhorns opted to run the ball. He also led Texas on its game-winning touchdown drive in the fourth quarter and operated the offense smoothly in the process.

"I thought he showed great poise and composure," Sarkisian said. "I know it became a running game there, but to handle that situation on the road, I was really impressed with him."

As for Ewers, this is a little bit of deja vu from last year when he suffered a sprained clavicle after a massive hit against Alabama. He missed three games, returning just in time to play Oklahoma.

Texas survives Houston: Quinn Ewers leaves game with injury

If there can be a bright side to his current situation, Ewers knows what he needs to do mentally and physically to handle the injury because of last year's experience. 

"He does have a little bit of a blueprint, and he knows what it takes to keep himself mentally sharp, to be dialed into the game plan, to support the other guys, and be a great teammate for all of the guys," Sarkisian said. "I know he's going to work tirelessly to try to get himself back."

Sarkisian said he also thinks it's helpful that Ewers is "in the best shape of his life," as has been well-documented since his body makeover in the spring. 

"Naturally, when you're in good shape, we respond better," Sarkisian said. "We don't stay sick as long, we don't stay hurt as long. So hopefully we can get him back, like I said, sooner rather than later."

As it pertains to this week's preparation working with two young and inexperienced quarterbacks, Sarkisian said he and the coaching staff aren't looking for Murphy and Manning to be able to perfectly execute the entire playbook. They will devise a plan with what those two guys do well and set them up for success.

"I think it's important that they get confidence early," Sarkisian said. "I want to make sure I'm giving them an opportunity to do the things that they've shown us that they're good at and that they like, because Saturday will be a test enough.

"It doesn't need to be a final exam as far as, let's test them on things they might know or might not know. I want to test them on the stuff that I know they know really well. I hope they get 100%. This is an open book test. I hope they play great."

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of "Strong Like a Woman," published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter at @LakenLitman.


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