Steve Sarkisian names Maalik Murphy as Texas starting quarterback for BYU game

On3 imageby:Matt Connolly10/26/23

MattConnollyOn3

Texas vs BYU Preview with Bobby and J.D.

Texas has announced its starting quarterback for Saturday’s game against BYU. Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian revealed on Thursday that Maalik Murphy will make his first career start this weekend.

Murphy is replacing Quinn Ewers, who was banged up in last week’s win over Houston. There is not a definitive timetable on Ewers’ return at this point. Steve Sarkisian described him as week-to-week earlier this week with an AC joint sprain in his right shoulder.

“Maalik (Murphy) is going to start Saturday,” Sarkisian said, according to On3’s Inside Texas.

Maalik Murphy filled in for Ewers during the win over Houston and completed 1 of 2 passes for 7 yards, as Texas was able to hold on for the win. On the season, Murphy is 4-for-8 passing for 47 yards. The redshirt freshman was ranked as the No. 12 quarterback and No. 205 overall player in the country in the class of 2022, according to the On3 Industry rankings.

“I don’t expect Maalik to go out and play perfect,” Sarkisian said, according to Kirk Bohls.

True freshman Arch Manning, who was also in the discussion to start against BYU, was the No. 1 overall player in the On3 Industry rankings in the class of 2023. He has yet to throw a pass in his college career but is obviously an incredibly talented QB. He passed for nearly 2,300 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior in high school, while also rushing for six scores.

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian describes the challenges Maalik Murphy could face vs. BYU

Earlier this week, Texas coach Steve Sarkisian discussed the challenges his quarterback will face against BYU.

Sarkisian hadn’t announced a starter at the time, but he admitted that there would be challenges, whether it was Maalik Murphy or Arch Manning getting the start. We now know that it will be Murphy.

“I think like anything, you know, we prepare as best we can,” Sarkisian said. “We try to prepare our players for the multitude of things that can and or should happen and try to put them in the best position. But naturally, you know, BYU is going to do things that aren’t on tape and you have to adapt at that point and adapting — sometimes it’s when we can get them on the sidelines and adapt. Sometimes you have to adapt in play, post-snap, right? 

“The coverages may be different than they’ve been playing, the pressure’s a little different, the matchups are different. And so that ability to adapt and not just rely on practice as much as I love practice and practice is huge. Adaptability in-game to some of the newness that comes at you I think is critical.”

The 5-2 BYU Cougars head to Austin to take on the No. 7 Longhorns for a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff. All eyes will be on Texas to see if the team can keep pace with BYU without its starting quarterback.

Since the experience level is low compared to Ewers, Murphy and Manning should just make the easy things easy, according to Sarkisian.

“And then two, I think one thing that quarterbacks early on in their career sometimes let the easy things be easy, right?” Sarkisian said. “There’s plenty of things that we do that are very quarterback friendly, and allowing those things to be easy for a young quarterback is critical because there’s going to be plenty of tough plays that they’re going to have to make. 

“And so I think (those are) probably two of the biggest challenges, right? Adaptability in game and then allowing the easy things to be easy are two big challenges for us as we go into the game to make sure those guys are ready for that.”