“SO WHO’S BUECHELE’S BACKUP AT QUARTERBACK?”
Higs has been saying it for weeks, but someone close to Jerrod Heard let it slip to me this week that Heard was already working a ton at receiver and has impressed his teammates with his ability, attitude and work ethic.
According to the confidante of Heard, “Buechele may start against Notre Dame - or they may trot Tyrone (Swoopes) out there for the first series and Buechele finishes the game. Either way, the plan is to go with Buechele. Swoopes backs him up, and Heard gets on the field to help at receiver.”
Then, I got a call Wednesday from a friend asking, “If I knew someone who wanted to put a lot of money down in Vegas on Texas to win more than 6 1/2 games this season, who would I tell him is Shane Buechele’s backup at quarterback?”
“Tyrone Swoopes,” I said.
“What happened to (Jerrod) Heard?” he said. “He’ll still be a quarterback. But the plan is to have Swoopes be the backup and move Heard to receiver so you can still get his play-making on the field.”
Another long pause.
“Don’t they have enough receivers now?” he asked. “And wasn’t it Heard who beat Oklahoma? And who broke Vince Young’s single-game total offense record against Cal? Isn’t Heard the one with upside?”
Egging him on, I responded: “And Swoopes was 12 of 19 passing with a 57-yard TD pass and 52 yards rushing with a TD on the ground in UT’s 23-17 win at Baylor to end the season.”
Another long pause.
“Suddenly, my friend doesn’t feel as confident as he should about putting a lot of money down,” he said.
I said with a laugh, “Tell your friend he’s a fool for betting on sports in the first place - let alone college kids playing sports.”
One last long pause.
“Right,” he said. “I’ll tell him,” and hung up.
Heard (6-3, 201) will remain a quarterback and could be forced into a battle with Swoopes if something were to happen to Buechele.
But the expectation is Swoopes will be the backup quarterback. Heard threw passes this summer, but he has been working out at receiver all summer as well.
The sense is Heard’s size, speed, wiggle and hands can have a greater impact at receiver than if Swoopes was moved to another position, such as tight end.
And if Buechele stays healthy and productive, then a move to receiver by Heard, who is only a sophomore, could really develop into something the next three seasons.
We’re getting way ahead of ourselves here. Heard will likely open camp still taking snaps at quarterback after having surgery to repair an injured shoulder in the spring.
But don’t be surprised when this story starts to develop.
WR DEANDRE MCNEAL'S FOOTBALL FUTURE AT TEXAS IN LIMBO
There is all kinds of speculation about why McNeal has been suspended right before one of the most important training camps of his college career.
We were told to go slow and not to rush to conclusions on this one.
But we were told McNeal, a 6-foot-2, 234-pound receiver, would be suspended until more information on the situation in question could be gathered.
The Mesquite Poteet 4-star linebacker-turned-receiver was promised the first pass of last year’s Notre Dame game by Texas coach Charlie Strong during recruiting.
McNeal didn’t catch a single pass last season - all season. He had one carry for 9 yards against Oklahoma State and made one special teams tackle versus K-State.
Coaches started McNeal at a tight end/HB role in fall camp last year, but McNeal didn’t care for all the blocking work combined with very little catching of the ball.
No one ended up catching the ball last season as UT’s leading receiver - Daje Johnson - had just 37 grabs. Texas threw for just 1,751 yards - the fewest passing yards in a season since throwing for 1,681 yards in 1991.
But if McNeal had stayed on that TE/HB path, he might have become the heir-apparent to senior TE Caleb Bluiett, who also moved from defense to offense.
With the distinct possibility McNeal has been recruited over at receiver with the arrivals of Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay, McNeal will not even be in camp when it starts Saturday to make his case.
5-STAR OT WALKER LITTLE WITH GOOD NEWS FOR TEXAS
A few weeks after Episcopal OT Walker Little shot up Scout.com's 2017 rankings to become a five-star prospect and the No. 1 player in the state of Texas, he delivered good news for Texas fans.
Little told me he plans to attend the Longhorns Sunday, Sept. 4 season opener against Notre Dame.
After taking an unofficial visit to Texas in April, the Longhorns snuck into his top schools and have remained there ever since.
Texas was the first program to offer Little, which is a big deal to the offensive tackle.
And even through the staff changes, Little still feels comfortable with the Texas coaches and is excited to see what the team has to offer at the home opener of Charlie Strong's third season at Texas.
I would imagine Texas pulling a W over Notre Dame would make his visit one to remember throughout his recruitment.
A MONTH AGO, I TOLD YOU WILLIE LYLES WAS BACK IN ACTION
Lyles’ involvement with Oregon in the Ducks’ recruitment of Texas players such as Darron Thomas, LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk led to three years of NCAA sanctions against the Ducks, including a show-cause penalty for former UO head coach Chip Kelly.
On Monday, Lyles became the subject of a 12-3A football district executive committee (DEC) meeting at Anahuac High School to determine the eligibility of Hitchcock senior DB Chris Wilson.
On his previous athletic participation form (PAPF), Wilson was flagged several times regarding his changing schools from Dickinson to Hitchcock.
The committee delayed its decision until next week to allow Wilson and his parents the chance to review documents presented in their case.
But Dickinson AD John Snelson did not hold back in his assessment of Lyles’ actions involving Wilson (Wilson denies any connection to Lyles) and others.
Here’s a link to a recap of the DEC meeting and fireworks over Lyles in a story written by Galveston Daily News reporter James Lacombe.
HD ONLY PART 2 - With the latest on Big 12 realignment, which could be decided - for better or worse - in the next two weeks, is still to come ...