September 10, 2016 - Texas Jerrod Heard (13) taking the snap from quarterback runs behind lineman Texas offensive lineman Alex Anderson (63) blocking UTEP linebacker Alvin Jones (16) during the second quarter of action held at Royal-Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Cedric Golden

American-Statesman Staff

Column

Golden: Jerrod Heard should get QB snaps against Cal D he dominated

Posted September 13th, 2016

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Story highlights
  • Jerrod Heard has settled in nicely at wide receiver.
  • Heard should get some snaps at quarterback against Cal, the team he dominated in 2015 with 527 yards of total offense.
  • Of his 527 yards against Cal, 163 came on the ground.
  • Cal gives us 291 rushing yards per game which ranks 125th of 128 FBS schools.

Jerrod Heard has already made a nice contribution at his new receiver position  but the former starting quarterback should see some snaps behind center against a defense that had no answers for him in 2015. Why not? Heard was unstoppable against Cal, especially with his feet.

While freshman starter Shane Buechele has been magnificent in his first two starts, I could see Heard getting some snaps at quarterback because the Bears are extremely vulnerable against the run, something he knows more than most. It may come at the expense of Tyrone Swoopes’ 18-wheeler package but if it adds up to big plays, so be it.  The coaching staff isn’t too keen on Boo Jr. running with the ball so Heard provides a nice complementary option in this matchup.

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Cal represented Heard’s coming-out party when he rushed for 163 of his school record 527 yards of total offense in his first career start, the 45-44 home loss that ended with kicker Nick Rose missing an extra point that would have possibly sent the game to overtime.

Don’t be shocked if offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert gives him a series or two at. He did get a wildcat snap last week against UTEP and remains the team’s best open-field runner.

The Bears gave up 281 rushing yards and three touchdowns to San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey Saturday, so don’t be surprised to see offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert pound D’Onta Foreman and Chris Warren III in addition to lining Heard up at QB.

That part is up to the coaches,” Heard said, “but that would be nice if I can get back there and do some carries. I feel like we’re going to harp on those things that we think are Cal’s weakness.”

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 19: Jerrod Heard #13 of the Texas Longhorns scrambles for a 2 yard touchdown run against the California Golden Bears during the first quarter on September 19, 2015 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Cal lost two six of its top defensive linemen and five linebackers from last season’s team. It’s shown in the first two games where the Bears have been shredded on the ground. The Bears are surrendering 291.0 rushing yards per game, which ranks 125th out of 128 FBS teams.

Be it wildcat or just plain old quarterback, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Heard’s hands on the ball more than we’ve seen the first two games. He still doesn’t quite understand how it all went wrong for him at the position he’s played since childhood but he remains an elite runner when he gets his hands on the ball. Hopefully we’ll see him behind center for a series or two.

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