Breaking Down The Meltdown

Texas went from being a fashionable pick to upset TCU and the college football landscape on Thanksgiving to throwing up all over itself with 6 turnovers while being routed 48-10 by the Horned Frogs. We break down the meltdown in these 10 takes:

#1 ... Tyrone Swoopes threw 4 interceptions and lost a fumble. Four of those turnovers led to 24 TCU points. Overall, TCU converted 6 Texas turnovers into 31 points.

When the QB play is that bad - you want to know the reaction of the head coach and the offensive coordinator.

Charlie Strong was as direct with Swoopes as he's been all season and as direct as he's been about bringing in competition for the QB job going forward.

"I just told him he has to play," Strong said. "You can't turn the football over. You can't get down on yourself. It's all about demeanor. I said, 'Let me tell you this: The only way we're going to drive the football, we're going to score, is you have to make it happen.'"

#2 ... Asked about the QB position going forward, Strong said: "Well, you always have to recruit. You have to recruit for every position.

"You just gotta make sure you recruit good players, but you look at Tyrone, you know, he has some games where it's been up and down for him. Tonight wasn't his night."

#3 ... Shawn Watson said he absolutely will not give up on Swoopes, because, "As long as a kid is giving back, and Ty is giving back, I'll continue to pour myself into him as a coach and help him to grow in the position."

But Watson said it's also important for Swoopes to have competition for his job in order to develop. 

"That's what really makes a quarterback grow," Watson said. "You have to have four guys in that room who are all competing at a high level. And we haven't had a chance to impact that position yet in recruiting."

#4 ... Watson wouldn't say if Texas will pursue a JUCO QB.

"We always keep those options open," Watson said. "We've looked in that market, and we'll continue to look.

"We'll see how that market presents itself."

Asked if he regretted not playing freshman QB Jerrod Heard this season, Watson said, "No, because in order to play, you've got to be ready to play.

"And we weren't at that stage yet. I mean, fellas, we've got the situation that was dealt us. Our job is to manage it, fix it and make it better. That's what we're trying to do."

#5 ... When I asked why Swoopes didn't run more QB draw, power or counter from a five-wide set after making 15 yards on his first run up the gut, Watson said those were run/pass options Swoopes could make at the line, depending on how many defenders TCU had in the box.

Even more reason to bring in QB competition. 

Swoopes finished with 15 carries for 61 yards (4.1 ypc) with a long run of 28 yards - 12 of those carries came after Texas was down by 13 points in the game.

(Swoopes actually ran for 110 yards, but he had 49 negative yards, including minus-38 yards on 4 TCU sacks.)

Swoopes said he thinks he's still the man for the Texas QB job, because, "I'll compete when they put me in there."

With that said, Swoopes admitted his body language probably could have been better vs TCU.

"I knew I wasn't playing well. Turning the ball over is never good, so it just kind of got to me a little bit. I couldn't really get back up and get going again. It's just something I've got to work on."

#6 ... When asked if the offense took a step back, Swoopes said, "We don't look at it like that. Y'all might, but we don't. We just got to look at it as an opportunity to get better."

On his 11 starts this season, Swoopes said, "I just need to get more consistent. I played well some games and some games I haven't. I've just got to keep working on getting consistent and playing well."

I asked Swoopes how he has improved the most?

"Competing in the pocket, as Coach Watson would call it. THese last couple weeks, I've been trying to work on that. That's something that I will continue to work on in the off-season."

#7 ... Senior WR John Harris had 5 catches for 39 yards, giving him 64 catches for 1,015 receiving yards, making him the 6th player ever to post 1,000 yards receiving (the first since Jordan Shipley in 2009).

As much as TCU QB Trevone Boykin as been a great turnaround story for the Horned Frogs after bouncing from RB as a freshman to WR as a sophomore (in a 4-8 season) to QB as a junior, Harris has been UT's turnaround story.

Harris couldn't think about his own achievement after that performance by the Horns.

"I mean it's real frustrating, especially after the way we performed the last few weeks," Harris said. "I mean to come out in your home stadium, the last game, I mean it's really frustrating. You just got to live with it and move on."

#8 ... Freshman WR Armanti Foreman had his second straight game with a TD (a 73-yard, catch-and-run TD pass from Swoopes early in the 4Q), finishing with 4 catches for 91 yards and the TD.

I asked Watson why A. Foreman didn't play more this season?

"He's grown into what you see now," Watson said. "He's had to earn that. That's just the way our program is. Charlie does a beautiful job of saying, 'Our kids will earn what they get.'

"And he's earned his time on the field, and he's become a player."

#9 ... CB Quandre Diggs had the worst game maybe of his entire Texas career on Senior Night, giving up a handful of big plays to TCU WR Josh Doctson (7 catches, 115 yards), including a 22-yard TD.

Diggs also was flagged for pass interference and had a punt return go off his leg that TCU recovered at the Texas 19 and converted into a TD for a 34-10 lead in the 4Q.

He owned every bit of his awful night.

"We didn't play the way we wanted to - me especially," Diggs said. "I feel like I let my team down tonight. It definitely hurts."

Diggs gave credit to Doctson, too.

"He made great catches. It happens, you know. As a defensive back, you're going to have those days, and today was my day I guess." 

#10 ... Strong was asked about the direction of the program at 6-6, headed to a bowl game (right now that's looking like the AdvoCare Texas Bowl in Houston Dec. 29 - possibly vs Arkansas).

"We have to get better," he said. "You can't look at 6-6 and say you made improvement. We have to get better. We know this. We have to do a better job of coaching, and we just gotta play better. It's all about managing the game.

"It's all about you know you are looking at yourself and making sure, 'Do we have this team ready to go?' And just making sure that when you do go out to recruit  that guys understand what is expected of this program, the expectations here, the standards, the pride, tradition, it's all a part of it.

"I've told them when we start up again in January, that's what it's always going to be about. Some guys may not like it. They may not want to be here. That's fine. But we gotta get this program back to where it's going to - where it needs to be.

"It's going to happen. We'll get it back there."

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