Texas has found its quarterback, but Jerrod Heard’s new door opening also closed the starting door of Tyrone Swoopes.
Charlie Strong didn’t reveal his starter until a couple of minutes before kickoff Saturday. For Heard, it was the news he had been waiting to hear for more than a year. When told Monday that Malik Jefferson likened his backup status to a prison cell, Heard quipped, “AKA redshirt.” He carried himself with a disarming swagger that causes the listener to think things are looking up with him as the new leader in the huddle.
The news wasn’t so good for Swoopes, a backup for the first time since the opening week of the 2014 season. It’s not an easy transition to lose your job, especially after starting the lpast 13 games. During his time as starter, Swoopes never engendered the kind of hope that arrived soon after Heard’s 50-yard scramble in the first quarter Saturday, though he did represent the university well.
I approached Johnathan Gray, who knows a little bit about the frustration of being relegated to the bench. Gray tore his Achilles tendon two seasons ago and was forced to watch the last four games of 2013 from the sidelines on a motorized scooter.
“I know what it feels like not to be on the field,” Gray said. “As a senior leader, it’s one my responsibilities to pick him up and let him know where we’re trying to head and know it’s about the team and not about yourself. I think he knows that.”
Before you get too excited about this era, be advised that it’s possible we haven’t seen the end of Swoopes. Heard is a scrambler, and scramblers get hit. The reality is that Swoopes is one huge hit away from being right back in the starting lineup.
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