The talk of the college football world has hit Austin, Texas, as star quarterback Quinn Ewers is set to be out of action for some time. With a loaded QB room for the Texas Longhorns, the biggest questions surround whether or not Arch Manning will be playing for Texas in Week 9.
Is Arch Manning Playing This Week for Texas?
Simply put, we don’t know. But we can certainly assume Arch Manning’s best chances of seeing legitimate playing time during Year 1 of his Texas career could come when Ewers is sidelined.
As it stands right now, Ewers is out for a “couple of weeks” despite a diagnosis of “week-to-week” following a sprained AC joint that removed him from the game against Houston in Week 8.
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian has handled the media appropriately, giving little indication as to what his final plans will be for Saturday’s game.
“Arch and Maalik (Murphy) will both get a ton of reps,” Sarkisian said. “If the game was today, Maalik would start, and Arch would be ready to come in.”
That echoes the sentiment that we saw take place in Week 8. After Ewers went to the locker room, it was Murphy who entered the fray without question. Manning, in full gear, stood idly by his head coach.
If you read between the lines, it appears that Sarkisian’s plan all along has been to redshirt Manning. Following Week 1’s trouncing of Rice, Sarkisian spoke about that.
Speaking with reporters following Week 1’s victory over Rice, Sarkisian indicated he’s counting Manning’s games.
“Quite frankly, I had all intentions of playing Arch in that game,” Sarkisian said. “I didn’t think that the fourth quarter would go as fast as it did, and then I didn’t want to put him in there for the last minute and a half and use a game on that.”
Sarkisian is, of course, referring to the game count on redshirting.
It’s important to note that in order to maintain a year of eligibility within the rules of college football, or a redshirt year, a player can play in no more than four games for their program and are limited to a percentage of snaps as well.
MORE: Redshirting – Redshirt Rules Explained
Now, for someone like Manning, the concern is less for a redshirt season. His destiny is the NFL, and no matter a redshirt, he’s likely headed there following his redshirt sophomore season or his true junior campaign.
But, for all intents and purposes, let’s assume it takes Manning a bit longer than most high-profile recruits to get going. Maybe he will need that extra year to get up to speed. Maybe Manning does need a redshirt season to ensure he can play to his full potential before jumping into the NFL.
That’s perhaps what Sarkisian’s plan has been all along, and now, it’s potentially set to pay off.
Murphy is a prototypical college quarterback, with dominant size at 6’5″ and 238 pounds, providing highlight-reel potential with his dual-threat abilities. He also comes fully equipped with game experience to take on a BYU team in Week 9 that has shown flashes of just how good they could be in recent weeks.
For Manning, however, he’s the future of the program and the quarterback ‘savior’ that’s supposed to lead Texas into their SEC tenure in 2024. Yet, he’s without a college pass attempt or snap yet, but he has four games to burn while still preserving that redshirt.
Even if redshirting Manning has been Sarkisian’s play all along, Manning has the time and potential to see the field against BYU in Ewers’ absence.
Will he take the proverbial bull by the horns in practice this week to earn himself some playing time? That remains to be seen.