Today's question: What do you expect to see from Tyrone Swoopes at the spring game?
I expect to see someone who has made strides with his passing game, as we've heard from sources he has this spring, but that still looks to flee the pocket a little too early for Shawn Watson's liking.
Going 5-for-13 for 26 yards in six games, as Swoopes did in 2013, is far too small a sample size for the new coaching staff to feel even remotely comfortable with what the talented 6-foot-4, 241-pound QB can do under center.
This time a year ago, Swoopes orchestrated a 10-play, 31-yard drive that ended in a field goal against the first-team defense. It was the first points given up by that group all game.
What you saw in that drive was Swoopes ability to evade defenders and do damage with his feet, most notably with a highlight reel special where he ducked underneath tackles from Adrian Phillips and Jordan Hicks to pick up a substantial gain. But he didn't appear too comfortable in the pocket and seemed to flee at first chance.
He's got to be able to withstand pressure in the pocket to allow routes to develop. His size and athleticism should make that easier for him.
With Miles Onyegbule as the only healthy, viable backup on the roster, there's really no reason for Swoopes not to have a hand in every offensive series unless the coaches wish to give him a break to see what Onyegbule can do (think he'll actually surprise some people with his arm strength – story on this tomorrow).
I'd also like to see what type of vocal control Swoopes tries to assume on Saturday. I think it's clear to this point that he's not the most outwardly emotional when it comes to his ways of leading. That's not ideal for a QB but it isn't a deal breaker either.
But you'd like to see him take some measure of control knowing that he's truly the man right now until further notice. Will he step up to the test or quiver?
My guess: he'll step up to a certain extent but leave those in attendance, and those he's playing alongside, anxious to see what Jerrod Heard, presumably Max Wittek, and a healthy Ash can do this fall.
What I expect to see, and what I hope to see are two different things. By all reports, Tyrone Swoopes has had his moments this spring where he has looked the part as a thrower and a runner. But Swoopes has always been that way … he's always shown the flashes of being a high-level talent at the position. When I saw him in a high school game, he rushed for 277 yards, accounted for over 400 yards of total offense and dazzled by having a hand in all 36 points Whitewright scored. At the U.S. Army All-American practices, he made some NFL-type throws, including the most beautiful ball on a wheel route, after making an athletic play to scoop up a low snap. His deep ball that just missed Mike Davis in the Alamo Bowl was another big-time throw.
My point? Swoopes is more than capable of making dazzling plays. What he needs to show, and what I hope he shows, is more consistency. He doesn't always have to dance, find a gap and run for 30 yards. Sometimes, it's OK if the hole isn't there to lower your shoulder and power ahead for four.
I expect Swoopes, in his second year (and second spring) on campus, to be more confident. I don't want to see the hesitation that he showed a year ago. What I want to see is a quarterback making the right play on a play-by-play basis, somebody who is developing at going through his progressions and who does more than flash every few plays. Talent flashes, but a quarterback becomes a quarterback through getting his team out of bad plays and by executing the simple plays. Can Swoopes do a better job there? We'll find out Saturday.