Texas starting QB Week 1 at BookMaker
Shane Buechele -480
Sam Ehlinger +355
The obvious answer here is Buechele and that’s why he comes off at -480. As a true freshman last season he started all 12 games and put up decent numbers completing 236 of 391 passes for 2,958 yards and 21 touchdowns. The completion percentage could be higher after he finished at 60.4, but he ranked fifth among all first year QBs in passer rating.
Buechele earned high praise from Charlie Strong, who recruited him in-state. But the coaching change threw everything up in the air and what Buechele accomplished last season has no meaning whatsoever on Herman and new offensive coordinator Tim Beck.
Like any teenager thrust into a high-pressure situation, Buechele’s performances varied. He threw for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a season-opening win over Notre Dame and amassed 291 yards and two touchdowns in a squeaker over Baylor. But there is cause for concern. Buechele’s play dropped off as the season progressed and he threw for just 383 yards on 33 of 65 passing with four picks and only one touchdown in losses to Kansas and TCU.
The Longhorns failed to have a winning season and in the end that falls on the quarterback. But Texas had its difficulties all over the field and blaming Buechele for the 5-7 finish is unfair. He played behind a patched up offensive line and performed like a true freshman.
The competition comes from Sam Ehlinger, who was the No. 8 rated quarterback in the 2017 class according to Scout.com. What makes Ehlinger so intriguing is that he’s not only good, he’s a local kid from Austin and could be just what the Longhorns need to get a rabid fan base back after three disappointing seasons under Strong.
During spring ball Buechele took all the reps with the first team but Herman was adamant about not naming a starter. He wanted to get closer to the beginning of the season before labeling his players. The coach is about turning things around and he did that quickly at Houston. This is likely a coaching maneuver to push Buechele to becoming a better player rather than taking what he did last fall as the reason for being the No. 1 guy.
The Longhorns have the talent to produce a winning record and the quarterback will be the focal point of that turnaround. Buechele has to screw up badly to lose the job and in the end the relationship with his new coach will be beneficial in the win column.
Bet on current QB Match Up odds at BookMaker: Shane Buechele