HD Mailbag: Swoopes, Hoops, Recruits

In this week's HD Mailbag I answer questions about Tyrone Swoopes, UT Hoops and the Dallas NFTC.

Question from HD subscriber hornrush:

After everyone here (and mostly elsewhere with one noteable exception) said that there's no way Swoopes starts for us in 2015, we're now hearing (from that same exception) that Swoopes will probably be the starter and that's what the staff wants.

My question...how in the hell is this possible and if this is true, what does the staff here think CS chances of keeping his job if we have another year of mediocrity with Swoopes and his "...all the tools in toolbox..." at the helm of this team?

Answer:

The reality of the situation is that Swoopes is simply outworking Jerrod Heard right now from what we are hearing. Is it what most Longhorns fan presumably want to hear? Probably not. However, you can’t knock Swoopes for trying his behind off to try to prove doubters wrong. He’s the alpha dog right now among the two.

You have to keep everything in context at this point. Sure, Texas would like to see Heard taking the bull by the horn, so to speak, lead drills, stay way overtime, etc. But there is still time for him to rectify this. Spring ball hasn’t even started.

Quarterback is the most glaring issue on this team but it is far from the only one. Strong and his staff have their work cut out for them. He’ll keep his job even if Texas suffers another mediocre season. He’s getting the right players to campus. Let’s see what he can do with a roster full of them. I think he’ll get that opportunity.

Question from HD subscriber nwgjr:

With the large stable of backs we have going into next year and the offensive philosophy moving in a new direction, who do you feel will get the most carries behind J Gray and why?

Answer:

I’ll go with Duke Catalon because I think he gives Texas its best big-play threat, which is something this team has lacked from its RBs for quite some time.

From what I understand the coaches have really high hopes for him but its simply a wait-and-see game at this point until he buckles up against other competition. He’s got all the tools to be a complete back, and a nice compliment to Gray. Tommie Robinson loved him out of high school (recruited him at USC) and admires his work ethic.

I think he’ll get the first shot but it won’t surprise me at all if D’Onta Foreman plays a critical roll, especially in short-yardage situations, along with any of the three freshmen coming in. Those frosh will be counted on if they grasp the offense early enough.

Question from HD subscriber jmf1973:

Hey William, thanks for doing this. Please share your opinion on the following: I believe any head coaching job at UT is a top 10 job because of facilities, resources, recruiting base & money. The only reason fans may disagree with that is because of expectations in each sport, meaning it's vitally important to be a top 5 program in two sports, while simply being satisfied with a good showing in others. Your thoughts?

In addition I'd be delighted to read your opinion on whether you think the UT men's basketball team's loss to Iowa State will affect them in the next game. In other words, will that loss beat them twice?

And finally after watching the TCU-Baylor baseball series & the UT-WV series, I'm concerned the Big 12 will have multiple teams with the talent, coaching & heart to qualify for Omaha. But the B12 teams will beat each other up so much that someone really good will get left out or draw a bad matchup. Am I over thinking things? Thanks for your answers!

Answer:

Thanks for the question!

In regards to your first ask, I’m not so sure there are many who would argue against your take that any head coaching job at UT is a top 10 job. I’m of that opinion as well.

But for those that do, I’m sure that expectation with the “other two sports” – basketball and baseball – plays into that. We all know football is king and that’s what moves the needle. However, there is no reason why the Longhorns shouldn’t consistently be competing for Big 12 titles in basketball with the resources they have at their disposal. And we all know the expectations for the baseball team each year are pretty much “Omaha or Bust.”

I think those are fair assumptions. I think most UT fans would be just fine with Texas’ football team being a consistent top 5 program while the other two are competitive enough to keep you interested. I could be completely off-base with that.

UT won’t let the ISU loss impact the way it plays against Butler. If anything I think it will be used as fuel for motivation.

As for your baseball observation, I think you are spot on with it. The Big 12, per usual, is loaded. It will beat itself up and could end up costing somebody late in the season. But those that survive the gauntlet will be better off for it, and battle-tested enough to make a push in the postseason.

Question from HD member Bigdaddy6363:

How far does Texas get in the tourney in your opinion?

Answer:

I think Texas has a great chance at getting past Butler. If UT’s bigs can create some foul trouble for the Bulldogs, Butler is going to be in trouble because it doesn’t rely on its bench all that much (bench didn’t score a single point its last time out in a loss to Xavier).

If it gets to that matchup against ND I think the winner will come from the team that is able to assert its style of play the most. The Irish are guard heavy offensively with Jerian Grant and Demetrius Jackson being the top two. If the Longhorns can, once again, assert themselves down low on both sides of the court, and have Demarcus Holland limit one of those two guards, there is certainly a chance.

I will say this: Texas has a better chance of beating this Notre Dame team than it did of beating last seasons Michigan team in the third round. We’ll see. I’ll give the edge to the Irish right now because they are playing terrific basketball. But UT has the firepower to pull off two upsets.

Question from HD subscriber SU2014:

A question I normally would not ask, but here it goes... On the 247sports website I saw that Perroni & Hamm (aggy247) put their crystal ball predictions in for Chris Owens and Devin Duvernay. They both put soe for Owens & UT for Duvernay... if anything I would have expected the opposite.

But for Hamm & Perroni I would have expected them to put soe for both.

I usually don't put much stock in those crystal ball predictions, but these caught my eye... any thoughts or comments Will?

Answer:

Yeah, I’m not so sure I agree with those assumptions. For one, I think it is way too early right now in regards to both recruits. But I know that the Longhorns have a long way to go with Duvernay, especially with two WR commitments already in the fold for 2016.

Buechele will do what he can on Owens. He’s a hot commodity. A&M has done a great job of getting OL to the league the last few seasons. Texas has not. There is merit there. But I think having Buechele in the fold this early for UT is a great thing and will benefit them greatly in the end.

Texas needs offensive line help. I think UT has some solid, multi-year starters coming in with this 2015 class. But you can never have enough OL and Joe Wickline has proven himself to be one of the best. It’s going to be a fun battle nonetheless between these two rivals as well as the rest of the country with offers out to Owens.

Question from krshornz15:

Most impressive overall, offensively & defensively in Dallas today?

Answer:

Defensively, there were two players that stood out to me the most. Kendell Jones (shocker) and 2017 all-everything LB Anthony Hines.

I’ve seen Jones roughly six or seven times in person now and it always shocks me at just how big the dude is. I’ve never seen anyone like him. Ever. He simply manhandled the competition yesterday. It was almost unfair.

Hines, physically, is not far behind Jones when it comes to physical specimen. And he is so young I shutter to think at what he’ll look like when he gets into a college weight program. His footwork and instincts in the open field are well beyond his years.

Oh and Eric Monroe was also really, really good.

Offensively, I’d have to go with TE Kaden Smith, QB Devin Williams, and OL Greg Little.

Smith catches everything. He made a one-handed snag look so easy my mouth dropped.

Williams, to me, couldn’t have had a better camp. He got invited to the Elite 11.

And Little is, well, he’s Greg Little.

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