Keeping score, quarterback Tyrone Swoopes was the popular subject today. Charlie Strong was asked about his sophomore quarterback a handful of times — on the concerns over his development, on the past couple of shaky games, on how Strong handles and talks to him, and on why it seems like everyone on the offense around him seems to be getting better, but he’s not.
On Swoopes’ struggles the last two weeks: “With Tyrone, we’ve known it’s week by week with him. He’s got to get better. But it is so important that everybody else around him plays well, to lift him up.”
On how he talks to Swoopes, a first-year starter: “What I tell him is to just trust your ability. Just make the throws and stand in there. Some of those throws the other night, there was no pressure in there and he threw the ball like someone was standing in his face. Just take your time and make the throw. You have the ability, just trust your ability and play within yourself.”
On the apparent lack of development/improvement from Swoopes vs. the rest of the offense: “I don’t know that he’s leveled off or if everyone else around him is getting better. The players around him have played before. Look at those running backs. It’s kind of a roller-coaster; you look at Oklahoma and Iowa State and it was boom-boom-boom, then there was Kansas State. It’s the execution factor with him. Just make the throw. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The guys can go fight for the football and come down with the football. Just make it.”
And, along the same lines, on how Strong sees Swoopes progressing: “If you watch him early, you watch in the first half, he was making those throws. And it’s almost like when it starts with the second half, and it doesn’t go too well, he can’t act like it’s all on his shoulders. I don’t need a great play, I just need a good play. I don’t need a home run. They’re open, just find them. Don’t act like you’ve got to go for the big one right away. Just be patient. It’ll happen for you.”
There were, of course, non-Swoopes questions, too …
On recruits’ comments last weekend that Desmond Harrison had told them he’s going to be redshirted: “He said it? He said it? Well, you know, we haven’t made a decision.”
On how the offensive line is playing: “We’re squeezing every ounce we have. Taylor (Doyle) played well, Sed Flowers played well, NCAA (Camhron Hughes) continues to get better, and Hutch (Marcus Hutchins). Those guys are forming a bond. Now the running backs are trusting them, and believing they’re going to get people out of their way, you know, just a seam. I think at the very beginning, they didn’t have that feel. Now you see it happening and the trust factor is coming into play.”
On Johnathan Gray’s improved play: “With J-Gray, I think he was looking at (Jordan) Hicks and how he’s playing so well and had the same injury — now I can put this foot on the ground and explode out of it.”
On the game plan for Oklahoma State: “We’re going to have to run the football. When we balance the run and pass, we’re pretty good on offense, throwing the ball well, running the ball well, opening up the holes. When you can run the football, you’re making a statement that it’s going to be a physical ball game.”
On the prospects of bad weather in Stillwater: “There’s nothing much we can do (about that). If it rains, whatever. I don’t think it will. It may be cold. But you’re only out there three or four hours.”
On whether injured players Dominic Espinosa and Desmond Jackson would be part of Texas’ senior day: “We haven’t made that decision yet. We’re just trying to get ready for Oklahoma State.”
On whether Michael Davidson has replaced William Russ at punter: “The first (punt) got away from us, and we just said let’s switch it. But that competition, I open up each and every week.”
On why Jaxon Shipley seems to call for fair catches nowadays: “It’s about the field position. A lot of those balls are inside the 10 or hovering around that area. I don’t want to see the ball bounce and end up on the 1. He’s so reliable. I told him it would not bother me if you fair caught every one. Just catch that football.”
Saturday’s Texas-Oklahoma State game kicks off at 6:30 in Stillwater. It’ll be televised on Fox.
The Longhorns lead the overall series, 23-5. That includes a 7-1 mark in games played in Stillwater. The early betting lines have Texas as a 1 1/2-point favorite.
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