AUSTIN, Texas -- On his way off the field last Saturday night, Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers stopped before the tunnel at the south end of DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Someone handed Ewers what looked like a disposable camera, and he smiled as he snapped a selfie. His long-awaited Texas debut -- delayed and diverted by name, image and likeness rules/opportunities, and a strange 3½ months at Ohio State -- was, at last, behind him.
Ewers started his college clock with a performance that featured a highlight-reel throw, an ill-advised throw, a few overthrows and plenty of smart, sensible throws to his talented teammates. Texas handled an overmatched Louisiana-Monroe team 52-10, and Ewers passed for 225 yards -- more than Colt McCoy or Sam Ehlinger had in their first starts for Texas -- with two touchdowns and an interception.
More importantly, coach Steve Sarkisian and his teammates finally saw how Ewers handled a game situation, mindful of the challenge that awaits Saturday when No. 1 Alabama visits.
"When I was running out of the tunnel, I took a couple glances at the crowd, just to see what it was like," Ewers said. "Sark said, 'Experience it, because it's all going to be over soon. It's over in a blink of an eye.'"
Now that Ewers is on the field, there's urgency for him to establish himself as Texas' QB1. His offseason competition with Hudson Card was close, by all accounts, and some coaches expressed surprise to ESPN when Texas announced Ewers had won the job. The Texas coaches are pleased with Ewers' progress, and potential struggles against Alabama likely won't put his status in jeopardy. But Arch Manning -- ESPN's No. 2 overall player in the Class of 2023 -- will arrive soon, so Ewers needs to maximize the head start he has on the next transcendent quarterback recruit.
Here's a closer look at Ewers' Texas debut, his progress and areas to upgrade, as well as four other quarterbacks -- Clemson's DJ Uiagalelei, Iowa's Spencer Petras, Oregon's Bo Nix and Cincinnati's Ben Bryant -- who need to deliver coming out of Week 1.