Charlie Strong won’t reveal who his starting quarterback will be until either Shane Buechele or Tyrone Swoopes takes the first snap of Texas’ opener against Notre Dame on Sunday.
Whether or not Strong has told Buechele and Swoopes who will start wasn’t clear, so this could be an instance of classic college coach paranoia. But still:
Buechele is a true freshman who’s impressed since enrolling early in the winter, but let’s put an emphasis on true freshman. There’s still a massive unknown heading into his first college game.
But Swoopes was ineffective last year, completing barely over 50 percent of his passes. He’s entering his fourth year in Austin, though, so has the seniority advantage over Buechele.
Texas kicks off against Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday on ABC.
“Oh, God yes.”
That was the answer Charlie Strong gave earlier in the day when he was asked if true freshman quarterback Shane Buechele would see the field this season. Several hours after that interview aired, Buechele backed up that strong, unequivocal response.
Armed with the knowledge that these are numbers coming out of a glorified scrimmage, Buechele (pictured, No. 16) was the star of the day as he, at least statistically, outplayed senior Tyrone Swoopes (pictured, No. 18) by a wide margin. In a spring finale that was called at halftime because of weather, Buechele completed 22-of-41 passes for 299 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions while Swoopes, considered to be the co-frontunner for the starting job along with Jerrod Heard, stumbled to a 4-16, 71 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions day.
With Heard sidelined for the remainder of the spring with a shoulder injury, Buechele has made significant progress in what had initially been a five-player race. Exiting spring, it appears that five-man battle has been whittled to three: Buechele, Swoopes and Heard.
Buechele, an early enrollee, has the kind of recruiting pedigree that suggests he could make an immediate impact. A four-star member of this year’s class, Buechele was rated as the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the country by Rivals.com.
Whether Buechele will get the opportunity to immediately back up that impressive résumé on the field remains to be seen, but he’s certainly taken a big step in that direction the last couple of weeks. One thing seems certain: Strong would be more than open to a true freshman guiding his offense if he comes out on top in the competition.
Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard will miss the remainder of spring after suffering what the Longhorns are calling a minor sprain in his throwing shoulder in practice on Tuesday.
The ‘Horns formally stated there is no timetable for Heard’s return this spring; Texas’ spring practice will end April 16.
Heard finished last season as the club’s leading passer and second-leading rusher. As a redshirt freshman, he completed 92-of-159 throws for 1,214 yards with five touchdowns and five picks while rushing 139 times for 556 yards and three scores.
The sophomore is battling senior Tyrone Swoopes and true freshman Shane Buechele for the Longhorns’ vacant quarterback job. New offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert has said he’s in no rush to name a starter, but missing two weeks of spring practice is, obviously, not good for Heard’s chances.
Many an observer – OK, at least one — of the Texas football program view Jerrod Heard as the best possible option at the quarterback position for the Longhorns. Wednesday, that standing was tossed into a state of flux.
UT announced via a one-sentence, emailed release this afternoon, that Heard sustained a shoulder injury during practice Tuesday. The severity of the injury is unknown, and Heard “is being evaluated at this time.”
Tyrone Swoopes began the 2015 season as the Longhorns’ starter, but was replaced after one game by Heard. The then-redshirt freshman proceeded to start the next 10 games, throwing five touchdowns and five interceptions as UT went 4-6 during his time as the starter. Swoopes then started the season finale against Baylor.
This offseason, head coach Charlie Strong has described a quarterback competition that includes redshirt freshmen Kai Locksley and Matthew Merrick and true freshman Shane Buechele as wide open.