Texas sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger has won the starting job and will be behind center when the Longhorns open against Maryland on Sept. 1 at FedEx Field, coach Tom Herman announced on Monday.
Ehlinger, out of Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, beat out junior Shane Buechele for the job. Buechele is out of Arlington Lamar High School.
“Sam took the bulk of reps with the ones today (Monday),” Herman said. “Shane took most of the reps with the twos. “I think barring any sort of catastrophe between now and the Maryland game, that’s the way it’ll be.
“We’ll see as the next 12 days progress if that merits a change. But as of now, that’s the plan.”
Ehlinger and Buechele shared playing time last year for the Longhorns, who finished the season 7-6.
Ehlinger completed 158 of 275 pass attempts for 1,915 yards and 11 touchdowns, while also rushing for 381 yards and two TDs on 114 carries a year ago. He threw seven interceptions.
Buechele was 137 of 213 for 1,405 passing yards and seven touchdowns against four interceptions in 2017.
During his freshman season, Ehlinger made his first start in a 56-0 victory over San Jose State on Sept. 9 after Buechele suffered a shoulder injury.
The two have been battling for the starting job since the spring, with both receiving extensive playing time with the first-team offense. Buchele has been trying to earn his third consecutive season-opening start for the Longhorns, but Ehlinger appeared to have the edge. Ehlinger also lead Texas to a win in the Texas Bowl to finish last season.
“He’s throwing the ball a lot better,” Herman said of Ehlinger. “He’s sitting in the pocket much more comfortably. And let’s make no mistake, Shane Buechele had a great camp. Didn’t do really anything wrong. Just feel like there’s a lot of years of coaching experience on our staff and neither of them did anything to justify saying, ‘You can’t win with that guy.’
“So it was just a matter of who do we feel gives you the best chance to win in the first game and we’ll see if we’re right.”