HD Roundtable

Question: Should the Longhorns stick with sophomore Tyrone Swoopes at quarterback on Saturday vs. BYU or get true freshman Jerrod Heard involved as well?

William Wilkerson’s take

Texas’ worst-case scenario is unfolding right in front of the coaching staff’s eyes, and they’ve got less than a week to figure out how to manage this situation.

My take: Let Swoopes ride this one out from start to finish regardless of if the final score doesn’t appear to be headed in Texas’ favor.

That’s not to say Jerrod Heard couldn’t handle the magnitude of the situation and be productive. I think he could be. I’m one of Heard’s biggest fans. But I believe putting him out there now would do more harm than good long term considering Texas’ gauntlet of a schedule it will face over the next five weeks.

There’s no substitute for snaps in a game for a quarterback. No one can question that. But experience that ends up in defeat, and from the looks of it that could be coming Texas’ way a few times in the next few weeks, isn’t always what’s best for a quarterback’s confidence.

At this point in Heard’s career, especially having come from a high school where all he did was win, I think the Longhorns would be best served to, at the very least, sit him out this game and put him in the best position to succeed down the road. I’m not exactly sure when that is. But it isn’t this week.

And while Swoopes has left a lot to be desired when he’s taken snaps in front of the public eye, I’m not quite ready to throw the towel in on him.

If Shawn Watson can win with Taylor Martinez, why can’t he do it with a 6-foot-4, 243-pound beast with a missile for a right arm and not-great, but deceptive speed?

Watson’s been doing this a long time. He’ll alter the offense to cater to Swoopes’ strengths.

Annabel Stephan’s take

I hate, hate, hate a dual quarterback system. I am a firm believer that two quarterbacks equals zero quarterbacks.

The tricky part for me is that from what I've seen (limited reps from Swoopes and two games of Heard's at Denton Guyer last fall), my gut instinct is that Heard should take first team snaps. He was the best high school player I saw last season, hands down. He is so poised in the pocket and exudes confidence on the field while effortlessly making things happen.

However, Swoopes is the one with the college experience, however limited it may be. If the coaches trust him to get it done this weekend, then he's the man for the job.

Regardless, I feel like the worst thing that could happen is to rotate reps: it's a no win situation for everyone. Well, except for maybe BYU.

Greg Powers’ take

This is a true catch-22 for Texas, because Tyrone Swoopes needs all of the available reps he can get before entering the Big 12 slate, but it is also one play away from having to potentially play the true freshman.

I’d suspect if it was last week and Texas had the game well in hand you may expect there to be a scenario where the back-up would log some reps, but let me point out that Texas stuck with Ash the entire UNT game despite the score. But there is a much different scenario now. There was not much question that Ash was going to be the No. 1 guy. Now that there may be more of a question of who to play, the pressure may be on to see what the No. 2 guy has.

Either way, the decision needs to be made which guy best suites the offense in the immediate and long term best interests of the program. If Ash is thought to be done then finding the best guy and building the offense around his talents is what’s best for the program and what it faces over the course of the next 12-18 months.

The answer to the question this week could be a telling one.

Nick Castillo’s take

I want to believe in Tyrone Swoopes, I really do.

I like the “next man up” culture Strong and the rest of the coaching staff has instilled in the program. I’d like to see Swoopes succeed.

But let’s be honest – It’s time to start the Jerrod Heard era.

That doesn’t necessarily mean he should start Saturday against BYU but he should get an opportunity to showcase his talent.

If all that separates Heard from Swoopes are physical traits and not the fact that Swoopes is a better quarterback then Heard should get a shot.

After all, it appears that the dual threat quarterback from Denton (TX) has the higher upside over Swoopes.

It would be great to see David Ash lead the team for a full season but after suffering multiple concussions, it would almost be criminal to allow Ash to play again – for his own sake after all he’s only in his early 20s.

It’s time to see what the true freshman can contribute to the 2014 Longhorns. Unfortunately for Swoopes, the future is Heard’s.

Jason Higdon’s take

I think you play the best player regardless of age.

If the true freshman is the guy that gives you the best chance at winning the game then you play the true freshman.

If the staff believes he is the best for the job but Swoopes gives the team more confidence then you have a situation. From everything I have been told, the star in waiting has the “IT” factor in every aspect of the game, both on and off the field.

I say its time to throw the youngster in the game and see what he does under live fire.

Chip Brown’s take

I'm of the belief David Ash should walk away from football. If he was leaving things up to his faith then his faith probably just sent him the message to look out for his long-term future and walk away.

That means Tyrone Swoopes is now keeping the seat warm for Jerrod Heard. And let me clarify that everything we've heard is Ash was miles ahead of Swoopes and Heard coming out of camp. So neither Swoopes nor Heard is ready to handle the entire offense. Neither is ready as a passer to provide the balance this offense needs.

But the game against BYU will go on as scheduled Saturday night. So you give Swoopes the first shot. He's a second-year player who went through the spring and should be further along than the freshman Heard, who did not go through the spring.

Everything we heard over the summer was that Heard tried to use his charisma to lead and wasn't afraid to make mistakes and ask questions. Heard has presence that Swoopes doesn't have. The upside rests with Heard. So that means the coaches have to force feed both QBs and see who can handle the load. The minute it's clear Heard has enough of a grasp on the offense to walk out on the field with some confidence, you give him the keys, tailor the offense to suit him and live with his mistakes.

Of course if Swoopes struggles mightily Saturday vs BYU and turns the ball over and is clearly losing confidence, the Head era could start this week. The hope is Swoopes can do enough to somehow win this week and take some confidence into the UCLA game. It's all about confidence.

Swoopes, who won 1 game at 2A Whitewright as a senior, has to dig deep and show every bit of confidence he's ever had on a football field starting now. Otherwise it will be the Jerrod Heard show, which will then tell the coaches what they have in Heard as they continue to evaluate their QB recruiting going forward. With Ash out, it will undoubtedly be Heard's show at some point this season. Swoopes will determine when that point comes.

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