UT quarterback Tyrone Swoopes rushes in the second overtime against Notre Dame at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Sunday September 4, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Cedric Golden

American-Statesman Staff

Column

Golden: Swoopes’ love of team has united Texas Longhorns

Posted September 6th, 2016

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Story highlights
  • Tyrone Swoopes was beaten out for the starting job by freshman Shane Buechele this summer.
  • Swoopes has united the team with his selfless approach.
  • Swoopes scored the winning touchdown in the 50-47 double-overtime win over Notre Dame.

Tyrone Swoopes has taken the brunt of criticism at Texas ever since he took over for the fallen David Ash in 2013.

He was never really a fit as the starting quarterback, many of us wrote, but Swoopes never came after one of his detractors in interview settings. He kept his head down and continued working to get better.

And after he lost out to Shane Buechele for the starting job, Swoopes didn’t mope. Didn’t pout. Didn’t scream and yell at the coaches.

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Swoopes went to work. He’s one of the main reasons the Texas locker room is actually as close as they would have us believe. He is self-made and selfless to a fault. More than that, he has the respect of his teammates and coaches. After scoring the winning touchdown in the 50-47 double-overtime win over No. 10 Notre Dame, Swoopes just might be the most popular player on the team. At least he is among his teammates.

“Swoopes da’ man, bro,” guard Kent Perkins told me before I could say a word to him after the game. We gave a shout out to him in the meeting room. He was running through arm tackles … 18-Wheeler, man.”

There aren’t many seniors that can handle losing a starting position to a freshman with the grace and class exhibited to one of the most embattled quarterbacks in recent Texas history. Swoopes is selfless to a fault and it’s that regard for team over self that has helped galvanize the team. “(Shane Buechele) could go out there and throw for 500 yards and have six touchdowns, and I not touch the field, but as long as we win I really don’t care what happens, who gets the most playing time or whatever. I really don’t care as long as we win.”

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You know what? He believes that. It’s part of the reason why Swoopes is quickly becoming a fan favorite.

“It’s the way I was raised,” he said. “When you start something, you finish it. I know it’s not about me. The University of Texas is a lot bigger than I am.”

And who knows, there may come a time this season when they will need him to take more snaps behind center. Either way, Swoopes won’t change. It’s what makes him Swoopes.

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