What will happen with freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes?
Will his redshirt be burned at some point sooner than later?
Could Thursday be the first time we see him play?
None of these questions would have ever been considered, and Swoopes’ redshirt would have been untouchable had the Longhorns not started the 2013 season with a 2-2 start, and almost more importantly, if starting quarterback David Ash wasn’t still less than 100% after a concussion suffered in the loss to the BYU Cougars a few weeks ago that still has him loopy.
There’s some lingering doubt both about whether Ash will be healthy enough to play against Iowa State, and also if Mack Brown will be willing to remain with Case McCoy as the starter in Ash’s place and not roll the dice some by playing Swoopes at least in some designed packages, if nowhere else.
Playing Tyrone Swoopes at any point in the 2013 season is a classic case of risk versus reward. If Texas rolls the dice on the Whitewright native and he performs above expectations, the Longhorns coaching staff looks brilliant for taking a calculated risk which could have backfired.
On the flipside, if Swoopes’ redshirt is burned and he fails to adapt to the speed of the Big 12 game — which has been a well-documented concern given his performance in fall practice — the risk looks like yet another blunder which could add a partial nail to Mack Brown’s already more claustrophobic coffin.
Swoopes brings an advanced athleticism to the table which Case McCoy and David Ash simply do not possess, and along those lines could add a unique spark to a Texas offense that is desperately in need of some explosive plays, especially in a hostile environment like those they will face in Ames and next week in Dallas against the Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Shootout.
Ultimately, the decision is not in Tyrone Swoopes’ hands. Mack Brown can choose to use Swoopes as one more piece of a last-ditch effort to help Texas fight for a Big 12 Conference crown and in turn save his own backside, should he choose to do so.
There’s always risk attached in running a talented player on to the field too soon, before they’re ready for what they will face. These risks are tethered to the potential of rewards and the possibility of failures.
Such is the world of college football, and Texas definitely faces this conundrum with Tyrone Swoopes.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer and Business Analyst for Rant Sports.