Joe Burrow had maybe the best season a college QB has ever had. Almost 5,700 yards passing and 60 touchdowns while winning a title and a Heisman is incredible. Nobody saw the explosion coming and Burrow took the country by storm. Now that he is headed to the NFL, people will wonder and look for the next Joe Burrow. So it begs the question, can Sam Ehlinger be the next Joe Burrow?
Sam Ehlinger doesn’t get the respect he deserves. He has shown an ability to rise to the occasion and put out impressive performances against top talent. He also had to be at his best to make up for a lackluster and injuried defense in 2019.
His 2019 stats also look better than Joe Burrow’s 2018 stats:
Looking at Burrow in 2018 shows a pretty average QB. He wasn’t bad, but he didn’t look like one of the best to ever do it. It was a great example of what being in the right system with the right players can do for a QB.
Joe Brady, a great RB and some elite receivers totally transformed the LSU offense. Texas can take a page out of their playbook.
Texas brought in Mike Yurcich to be the new OC and QB coach at Texas. Yurcich was the QB coach and passing game coordinator at Ohio State last season. He also spent time at Oklahoma State coaching under Mike Gundy. If Yurcich knows anything, it will be opening up the offense and working with some of the best offensive minds in football.
Texas also has a healthy rotation at RB. Jordan Whittington returns and Texas brings in the top running back in the 2020 class, Bijan Robinson.
With that said, it’s not all sunshine and rainbow’s for Ehlinger..
There are some concerns about Ehlinger’s weapons at WR.
Both Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay are gone and they were the majority of the production last season:
Texas has to make up for 87 catches and 1,149 yards in 2020. It’s easy to point out that Duvernay and Johnson were the starters and older. However Johnson only played in seven games while Smith and Eagles played in 13 and 12. Johnson also put up more yards and catches despite missing time. The younger two are definitely growing into stars and could take the next step in 2020, but there’s no guarantee
In addition, Texas has a difficult schedule in 2020. Going to LSU is going to be a tough spot, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Baylor will all be solid teams in 2020. Texas doesn’t have that many push overs to pad stats.
Not taking away from the amazing season he had, but Burrow played an FCS team, Utah State, Vandy, Arkansas and Ole Miss. Alabama had a down defense and Burrow just passed for another touchdown on that Oklahoma D.
Again, Burrow was unbelievable, he also had a schedule that lined up to help give him some eye popping stats. For people that haven’t watched much of the Big 12 will still think it is just an offensive league. While that is partly true, defense popped up last season in the Big 12. Kansas State had flashes of solid defense, as did TCU, Baylor and West Virginia.
I’m not going to pretend that the Big 12 is full of defensive powerhouses, but it is worth noting there is some defensive talent.
Can Sam Ehlinger Get There?
Should the stars align for Texas, this has a very 2019 LSU feel to it. Combine that with Ehlinger’s experience and it’s very possible he could have that Cinderella story. However, Texas is focused on a Big 12 championship and playoff berth, not a Joe Burrow-esque season for Ehlinger.
Texas will have some incredible running backs that will eat into the passing stats. You don’t leave all of that talent on the bench to throw the ball 60 times a game.
Justin Fields had 354 attempts in 2019, Joe Burrow had 527. Almost 200 more attempts will definitely set a QB apart. With Yurcich now coaching at Texas, I think you could see something similar with a more balanced approach.
So Sam Ehlinger likely won’t get near Burrow, but that’s ok. The end goal is a Big 12 championship and a playoff berth. Whether he has to throw 300 or 600 times, Texas just wants to get to a championship game.
Ehlinger likely doesn’t become the best ever stats wise, he does however have almost as much pressure in 2020. Getting Texas back.
Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Covering all things college football and talking Notre Dame on Twitter.