Cedric Golden

American-Statesman Staff

Column

Jerrod Heard’s number will be called

Don’t expect backup to ride bench, especially if QB Swoopes struggles.

Posted August 11th, 2015

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Jerrod Heard is obviously running backup to Tyrone Swoopes these days, but backup status doesn’t mean inactive status.

I expect Swoopes to be better than he was last season, which will hopefully equate to more than six wins for the Texas Longhorns, but I’m not quite ready to cede the starting quarterback position to him for a full 12 games.

Pardon the pun, but Jerrod will be heard from early in the season. It would be difficult to imagine him not getting some snaps at Notre Dame, if for nothing more than to give the Notre Dame defense a different dynamic to try to stop.

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Texas QB Tyrone Swoopes (18) will start the first practice over Jerrod Heard
Texas QB Tyrone Swoopes (18) will still holds the top spot on the quarterback depth chart. But that could change quickly.

This could play out like the 2003 season, when the very capable Chance Mock began the season as the starter in place of the graduated Chris Simms. Mock performed incredibly well in the first four games with 10 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in 79 attempts, which placed him among the nation’s most efficient passers.

His third pass against Oklahoma was returned for a touchdown by Oklahoma’s Derrick Strait, and that was it for Mock as a starter. Redshirt freshman Vince Young took it from there and ushered in the greatest 2½ seasons of Mack Brown’s coaching career: a 30-2 run, two Rose Bowl wins and a national championship.

Now I know what you are thinking: “Man, we would kill for 10 TDs and no picks to start the season from Tryone Swoopes.”

Baby steps, Horn fans.

Frank Gifford helped provide some of the most vivid Monday night memories of my life as a young NFL fan. Rest in peace.

Regarding another Hall of Famer: the Dallas Cowboys of the ’90s would not have gotten over the Super Bowl hump if not for the addition of defensive end Charles Haley, one of the fiercest pass rushers the game has ever produced. Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin gave “America’s Team” many thrills, but the nightmares Haley provided to opposing quarterbacks cannot be overlooked.

His induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was a long time coming, as was that of wideout Tim Brown.

Being the only player to win five Super Bowl rings sets Haley apart from any of his Hall of Fame colleagues, along with him being perhaps the nastiest pass rusher this side of the late Deacon Jones.

Speaking of those rings, I actually had a conversation over the weekend with a friend who said Haley’s induction bolstered the Hall of Fame case for NBA player Robert Horry, who owns seven championships, which is a record in the modern NBA era.

I disagree. Horry was never a premier player on any of his teams, even though his nickname of “Big Shot Bob” is well deserved, but the numbers – outside of the pieces of jewelry – just don’t add up. After averaging double-figure scoring in three of his first four seasons, Horry never averaged more than 9.3 points in his final 12 seasons.

He made some tremendous clutch shots over a storied career, but it was always in a complementary fashion. The terms “complementary” and “Hall of Fame” should never be uttered in the same sentence.

Hope you enjoyed the Statesman interviews with Longhorn greats Huston Street and Cat Osterman, two legends who transcended their respective sports. Street, who recently became a dad for the third time, will return to Disch-Falk Field one day and have his No. 25 retired. You can bet your last dollar on that happening.

As for Cat, one of the greatest pitchers in collegiate softball history, the Texas women’s athletic department is still holding strong to its belief that being a member of the Hall of Honor is enough of an honor. As a result, no female athlete has had a number retired at Texas.

You’ve read it here before, but here it is again: Cat’s jersey No. 8 should be retired.

Since there are only three traditional team sports played by women on campus – volleyball, basketball, and softball – it would be pretty simple to retire the numbers of people like Cat, Clarissa Davis and Kamie Ethridge in quick order. Osterman is on the Mount Everest of female team athletes to come through here, and her No. 8 should be displayed prominently at McCombs Field.

As for the deserving legends who didn’t have jersey numbers in their respective sports – such as Sanya Richards-Ross – my advice to women’s AD Chris Plonsky and the decision-makers over at the Forty Acres would be to put your heads together and figure out a way to honor them as well.

Contact Cedric Golden at 512-912-5944.

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