Texas Longhorns Waste Opportunity to Play Tyrone Swoopes

By Marian Hinton
Brendan Maloney: USA TODAY Sports

The second that Tyrone Swoopes stepped onto the field in the final drive of the Texas Longhorns game vs. the TCU Horned Frogs two weekends ago, the true freshman quarterback’s redshirt was burned. Fans immediately began to argue whether or not this was the right move, but no matter what side of the argument one is on, what’s done is done.

Mack Brown‘s decision to play Swoopes added credence to the belief that David Ash, who suffered a concussion very early in the season, is very likely done for the year, if not for good. That leaves senior Case McCoy as the team’s No. 1 quarterback, and the only one with any experience. Though McCoy may be physically limited, he’s done what he’s had to do to lead his team to a 5-0 record in the conference. Nevertheless, with the team currently sitting at the top of the Big 12 standings alongside the Baylor Bears, they cannot afford to have only one serviceable quarterback as they head into the toughest part of their season.

If Ash is truly finished this year, the Longhorns had no choice but to get Swoopes some game time experience, with the understanding that he would continue to gain experience throughout the remainder of the season. After all, he’s one injury away from becoming the team’s starting quarterback this year, and if Ash doesn’t come back next fall, Swoopes could be the starting quarterback next season.

Saturday’s game against the Kansas Jayhawks looked to be the perfect game in which to get Swoopes more real time experience. Though the Longhorns got off to a slow start, they led by a score of 28-6 heading into the final quarter, which would have been the perfect opportunity for Swoopes to play.

However, instead of bringing in Swoopes to lead the team the in the last fifteen minutes of the game, Brown and the rest of the staff stuck with McCoy, even after he was shaken up. Swoopes did in fact come into the game, but not until the final drive,  with around 3:30 left on the clock. When he finally did take the reigns, he looked very shaky, except for an impressive 18-yard run. But that’s precisely why he needs more meaningful experience. At best, he should have come in throughout the game when it was still in doubt, to mix things up; at worst, he should have at least gotten the entire final quarter.

With the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, and the Baylor Bears left on the schedule, there probably won’t be a better opportunity for Swoopes to play.

I must admit that I defended Mack Brown’s choice to burn Swoopes shirt two weeks ago, but his refusal to play him more against the Jayhawks is perplexing. If he doesn’t see the field more this season, then they will have burned his shirt in vain, and that would be a shame. Unfortunately, what looks to be their best opportunity to get Swoopes meaningful playing time appears to have been wasted.


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