Denton-Guyer head coach John Walsh, who won back-to-back 4A state championships with Jerrod Heard at QB, would understand if Texas coaches mistook Heard's uncannney ability to stay loose for a lack of intensity.
"He's very unassuming when the lights are off," Walsh said. "But when the lights come on, he's not afraid to show you a little something."
Heard was the story of Texas' 42-28 victory over Rice in which he ran 10 times for 96 yards and completed 4 of 7 passes for 120 yards and TD strikes of 32 yards to Armanti Foreman and 69 yards to John Burt.
"He has so much confidence," Charlie Strong said in confirming Heard's second straight start this week against Cal. "A lot of things don't really bother him. So you can get the wrong impression - like he doesn't care. But his whole personality is like that.
"Some guys, when the lights come on, they're like, 'Watch me go shine.' And Jerrod is like that."
Malik Jefferson said Saturday night, after the Rice game, that Heard was now free after being held back as if in a prison cell - suggesting, he too, could see Heard's energy or "juice," as Strong calls it, needed to be on the field.
Asked about Jefferson's quote, Heard seemed to try to diffuse it by saying Jefferson must have been referring to Heard's redshirt season last year.
Reporters asked Strong why it took so long to get Heard on the field for an extended time?
"Jerrod redshirted last year. He played in the first game, and he started the second game," said Strong, who proclaimed after the Rice victory "if your quarterback has juice, your team will have juice."
Heard said he goes out of his way to act like "the goofiest guy on the team" to keep his teammates light.
"On the bus ride, which is probably the most serious part of game day, I'm probably in the back - laughing and throwing paper at players and probably annoying them. One time, Daje (Johnson) asked me, 'Can you put your headphones on?' But that's me, I wanna keep it calm, loose and relaxed.
"In the pre-game, I'm going to mess with them again, just to make sure everything is relaxed and guys are having fun."
Walsh said the greatest example of Heard's demeanor came in his senior year when Denton-Guyer trailed Highland Park 10-0 in the fourth quarter of the Class 4A Division I semifinal before coming back to win 22-16 on a TD by Heard with 55 seconds left.
"Jerrod just kept reassuring the defense that we were going to make something happen on offense," Walsh said. "He doesn't have any panic in him. When the bullets start firing, he's the one trying to find a way through it while keeping everyone else relaxed."
Heard can see where that kind of a loosey-goosey attitude might cause others to think he's not taking the game seriously enough.
"It may seem like I'm a little too loose, at times, but I'm totally into the game at all times," Heard said. "I just bring a different edge to the game."