The Texas Longhorns had high hopes for this season, but with a 1-2 record after three games, head coach Mack Brown has had to change the narrative quite a bit. Despite two beat-downs, Brown has assured his players, his coaches, and Texas fans that the goal of winning the Big 12 title this season is still alive. Nevertheless, anyone who has been paying attention knows that this would take a miracle. However, Brown’s job is to keep his team motivated, and if that is what it takes, so be it.
But exactly how dedicated are the Longhorns to winning this season? Enough to think outside the box?
With the status of quarterback David Ash still up in the air due to an injury, it is believed that Case McCoy could start for against the Kansas State Wildcats again on Saturday. Last weekend, McCoy had a solid first half against Ole Miss, but once the defense realized that he was limited with his arm, they were able to take away the short passes and shut down the running game. As a result, the Longhorns (who were leading at the beginning of the third quarter) were shut down in the second half.
If the Longhorns are truly committed to winning the conference (at this point, they just need to focus on winning a game), then perhaps they need to look at other options if Ash is indeed sidelined again with injury.
Without Ash, McCoy should certainly be the main guy under center with the running backs getting the bulk of the play calls. After all, the Wildcats are giving up more than 170 yards per game on the ground and Texas has some solid running backs. However, if the Wildcats shut down them down and force the Longhorns to throw the ball, Texas may need to take some other chances.
True freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes is listed as the team’s No. 3 quarterback. Viewed as a dual threat, Swoopes was able to turn some heads in the spring game. He, with Case’s arm, could certainly add a new element to the game plan this weekend. But is it worth burning his redshirt in a season that is viewed by many as “wasted” already? It’s a question that has the fan base divided, but if the team truly feels that they can make a run at the conference crown, it may be worth a try to see what he can do.
Another option, though less likely it seems since he’s been away from the position, would be to try out sophomore quarterback-turned-running-back Jalen Overstreet under center along with McCoy. As we’ve already seen this season, Overstreet is an ample threat to run with the ball, but can he pass well enough to keep the defenses honest? Can Swoopes for that matter? That remains to be seen.
Clearly, Ash gives the team the best chance for the “W” along with a sound running game. But if he can’t go and the Wildcats shut down the run, Texas may have to approach the game with a new perspective. Again, McCoy should play the bulk of the game, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try to mix in Swoopes and/or Overstreet if the game is close, if indeed the coaches feel that the Big 12 title is a legitimate goal this season.
To most fans that goal seems laughable right now; it’s one thing, however, for fans to give up on a team, but it’s entirely another for the coaches and players to give up. They have to keep fighting to achieve their goals, even when those goals change. You never know what may provide the necessary spark needed to push this team (and it’s clear that something needs to happen), and if coaches believe Swoopes can truly be that guy, shouldn’t they give him a try?