There has been considerable buzz around Austin since the Texas Longhorns Orange-White scrimmage wrapped up Saturday evening, and most of it has been centered on the performance of freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes.
In a press conference following the spring game, Texas head coach Mack Brown said that Swoopes was the third best QB on the team, a statement I’m inclined to agree with. However, just because I agree that Swoopes is Texas’ third best QB and could even challenge for the second string spot, my opinion on what Brown needs to do with Swoopes has not changed. Tyrone Swoopes needs to be red-shirted.
There is currently a traffic jam at the quarterback position for the Longhorns. Texas has five QBs on their roster: David Ash, Case McCoy, Connor Brewer, Jalen Overstreet, and Swoopes. Ash will start and McCoy is still the best back-up option that Texas has, but that third spot was thought to be a toss-up before the scrimmage. Swoopes ended the competition in one series.
The thing that most helped to distance the bottom three QB options from each other was the fact that none of them were wearing the black, “don’t tackle me” jerseys that Ash and McCoy were sporting. This allowed for a better look at how well they could get away from pressure, slip tackles, and run the ball when needed.
Swoopes stole the show. He showed great touch on his passes proving that he is a better passer than Vince Young, whom Swoopes has drawn comparisons to, was in his early days at Texas. Swoopes was most impressive on the run though. He broke one outside for 19 yards, carried one up the middle and finished it off by lowering his shoulder and booming down a defender, and then he shook off two defenders to keep the play alive and scamper for positive yardage.
Brewer had plenty of zip on his deliveries but lacked accuracy on most of his passes, while Overstreet was only really impressive when he tucked the ball and took off up the sidelines with his blinding speed. The competition for who sits behind McCoy should be over, but even though he earned the third spot, Brown shouldn’t give it to Swoopes.
The fact of the matter is that Ash is the best QB on the roster and he will be at Texas for two more seasons. If Swoopes isn’t red-shirted then Texas is just wasting a year of eligibility that they could certainly use once Ash graduates. With the crowd at QB the ‘Horns don’t risk not having a good third option should the worst happen and both Ash and McCoy get injured. Swoopes needs to be red-shirted not because he isn’t good enough, but because he is good and has the potential to be great.
Ash is the starter, and might be the best QB in the Big 12; there should be no argument there. McCoy is the back-up who can give the team a spark if Ash struggles or gets hurt. I hope Brown has finally learned to leave Ash in if he struggles some instead of robbing him of confidence by swapping Ash for McCoy every time a mistake is made. Overstreet should be the number three guy on the depth chart going into the 2013 season.
Overstreet would be perfect for running the Wild Horn formation that Johnathan Gray did well in during 2012. Gray is great in the Wild Horn but risking him getting injured when Overstreet could do it just as well would be foolish. Overstreet is the best option for Texas as a third string QB since Swoopes needs to be red-shirted.
That leaves Brewer out in the cold, which is where most people knew he would wind up anyway. The best option for Brewer would be to transfer schools prior to the beginning of the 2013 season. He can sit for a year and get comfortable with the new system, then step in and deliver for a smaller school. He has the talent to start and would be wasting it in Austin. I know of a certain university in Dallas that has taken in former Longhorn QBs before, and would be a great fit for Brewer.
Seeing Tyrone Swoopes play well at the Orange-White scrimmage gave Longhorn fans great hope for the future, but if he isn’t red-shirted then a year of that future could be wasted. Red-shirt him Mack, it is the smart thing to do.
Follow Spenser Walters on Twitter @SpenserWalters