Texas coach Tom Herman isn't ready to name a No. 1 quarterback for the 2018 season, although sophomore Sam Ehlinger appears to have the inside track on junior Shane Buechele.
"I haven’t given enough thought to if the season started today or tomorrow because it doesn’t," Herman said Tuesday morning during the Big 12 football coaches teleconference. "It's a question answered in training camp."
Herman, however, heaped praise on all four Longhorns quarterbacks this spring, including freshmen Casey Thompson and Cameron Rising, who enrolled in January and participated in spring practice. Herman applauded offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tim Beck for his work with the QBs.
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"I was really, really happy with the development of all four of those guys," he said. "I thought Coach Beck did a masterful job developing them."
Ehlinger improved the speed of his release, Herman said. Buechele, who is from Arlington Lamar and the son of Texas Rangers' first base coach Steve Buechele, has become more assertive under center.
"Anyone who has seen us practice throughout the spring it is noticeable," Herman said of Ehlinger holding the ball higher. "He is making some throws in scrimmage situations that I don’t know that he could have made last year. And that is exciting because that is progress, that is development."
Buechele, Herman said, has never had arm talent issue. But he had been too much of a "passive participant" in the offense.
"He's got a very quick release. He's very accurate," said Herman. "I told him the other day, you're not a third-string cello. You're the conductor of this orchestra. He has really taken that challenge and ran with it. He's really had a great spring."
Herman called Thompson, from Newcastle, Okla., and Cameron Rising, from Newbury Park in Ventura, Calif., the future of the program.
"You can tell right away from Practice 1 that neither of those guys looked out of place. They looked like they belonged and looked like veterans," Herman said.
Of course, both young QBs have a long way to go before becoming comfortable in the offense and adjusting to the speed of the college level, but the physical tools are there.
Thompson, for one, is ready to make his mark.
"He was begging me before the spring game to not to be in a black jersey," Herman said. "He wanted to be live so he could make guys miss. His quote was, "I want to make some people look silly out there.'"
Thompson, who was one of the top dual-threat recruits in the country, has impressed Herman with his passing ability. He said sometimes extremely gifted athletes playing quarterback are overlooked for their passing skills.
"Because there are these kind of uber athletes that are playing the quarterback position I think their passing ability might get downplayed a little bit because people can’t wrap their heads around," Herman said. "He can throw it along with his running ability."