Call on Tyrone

View Small TextView Normal TextView Large TextView Extra Large TextPrinter-Friendly Article

By Bill Frisbie, Inside Texas Lead Writer
Posted Sep 1, 2014
Copyright © 2019

News Image
Tyrone Swoopes versus Oklahoma State. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Texas players were cautiously optimistic Monday when, shortly after learning David Ash is out this week with concussion-like symptoms, assessed QB Tyrone Swoopes first collegiate start five days from now against BYU.

RS freshman tweets season-ending knee surgery:

The most telling comment about Swoopes stature, however, came last week when QB coach Shawn Watson explained why the sophomore would not get first-half snaps in Saturdays season-opener.

That has to be earned,” Watson said.  

This staff isnt as prone to coach-speak as the previous administration. Taking Watson at his word, coaches had not seen enough from Swoopes to warrantmeaningful reps. 

Swoopes may not have earned the right to play but, as Clint Eastwood snarled at the end of his 1992 Academy Award-winning western Unforgiven,Deserves got nothin to do with it.” Thats where things stand in a Longhorn program with more kickers on scholarship than available quarterbacks. 

It doesnt mean, however, that the season is lost byL abor Day.

“This is not going to deflate our team,” vowed John Harris on the heels of his career-best seven catches for 110 yards. “The message is that the next guy has to step up. I believe Tyrone can do that. I saw him step into the (2013 Alamo Bowl). At the beginning of last year, I saw a kid who didnt look like he could go into the game and play like that.”

Swoopes completed just 1-of-6 for eight yards against Oregon and ran for 38 yards after the outcome was all but decided

The eyes of Texas will naturally turn toward true freshman Jerrod Heard, considered the jewel of the 2014 recruiting class. There has been little to suggest, however, that Heard has a firm enough grasp on the playbook to effectively lead the offense.

“Hes a young guy, so I cant really say what the best thing there is about him,” Harris said. “Hes still learning. He still has a learning curve, but hell get better with time. Just like Tyrone, hell do just fine whenever he gets his chance to play.” 

Swoopes is at the 40 Acres primarily because former OC Bryan Harsin made the Whitewright product Texas top QB target of 2013This time last year, Swoopes focused on improving faulty footwork that hurt his downfield accuracy. These days, his emphasis is more mental, according to teammates. Swoopes has made considerable progress in the film room, Harris said.

“Hes grown a lot in the film room by learning coverages better, especially with this staff” Harris added. “Theyve done a really good job of that with all of us.”

For Swoopes, its primarily a matter of maintaining his confidence, according to RB Malcolm Brown.

“Sometimes its hard to be the back-up guy if you think you have to come in and be above-and-beyond what the starter does,” Brown surmised. “Its not that way at all. You just have to be consistent and be the player you are. Tyrone is a good player. If the confidence comes with it, he can do an outstanding job. Once he gets a couple of good plays in, he gets into a rhythm. Weve seen it a whole lot in practice. From the outside, people dont see what weve seen in practice.”

So, did anyone see the hit that sidelined Ash?  Reporters huddled Monday to determine which of the five hits Ash sustained was the knockout.  (My money would have been on the third-quarter hit when Ash was slung around on the turf, but Ash told coaches it happened early in the contest)Ash alerted trainers late Saturday about persistent headaches and dizziness. He was evaluated Sunday, and Charlie Strong broke the news to the team Monday morning. 

“We knew something was going on,” Brown said, “but we just found out this morning.”

Browns advice to Ash was one of them-there double entendres:  “Im going to tell him to keep his head up.”

Ash, of course, missed 10 games in 2103 after sustaining a concussion in the fourth quarter of last seasons loss to Saturdays opponent BYU. He is 15-7 as a starter in a spotty career defined more by his role as a game-manager than as a game-changer. 

“I dont know if David is out the whole season,” Harris said, “but it hurts because he is a senior in the offense. It hurts when you dont have your quarterback as the leader of the team, but we have a lot of faith in Tyrone.”

New to Inside Texas?