The world according to Charlie is always a little blurry. Never dull, but a little blurry.
After Charlie Strong told us in the spring and at Big 12 Media Days in Dallas that he fully planned to announce a starting quarterback early in preseason football camp, the Texas coach Charlie Strong told us Saturday morning that he was waiting longer, mostly “because we can’t let Notre Dame know.”
That’s some reversal of field. I hope quarterback-turned-receiver Jerrod Heard is as effective on his end-arounds. After all, he knew in April about the Notre Dame game, so nothing’s changed there.
I got no problem with Charlie putting off the announcement although I wrote after the spring game that he should immediately name true freshman Shane Buechele as his starter to give him a strong vote of confidence and let his team galvanize around him. I haven’t changed my thinking, but Strong has his, which obviously is his prerogative.
From everything we heard Saturday, Strong fully plans to play both Buechele and 14-game starter Tyrone Swoopes (6-8 record) in the season-opener against Notre Dame as well as Heard although the latter is expected to be ready to contribute as a wide receiver. When I asked if he could be that far along in his switch to receiver, Strong said, “Oh yeah. He’s an athlete. He’ll be ready.”
So there you have it. Buechele and Swoopes, a senior who has shown a strong arm, a gift for short-yardage offense but no accuracy or presence as a starter, will almost certainly split time in the opener and maybe all season.
That sounds very dangerous. Sure seems to me a strong commitment to Buechele has more upside. But then, maybe Charlie’s just playing games. He did say the two were locked into a very close battle for the No. 1 job but added that Swoopes took the first snap in Saturday’s scrimmage. There will probably be only one more full scrimmage, that coming a week from today.
Oh, and when I asked Charlie if he saw a 10-win or 11-win team as he observed Texas’ first eight practices, his response was, “Oh, God.” Can’t say that is reassuring, but there’s still time before the Sept. 4 opener.
— Kirk Bohls
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