Ash and Swoopes Both in the Hunt at Texas?

Tyrone Swoopes might pry the job from Ash (Eric May)

The Texas Longhorns have been longing for that next great Texas quarterback since Colt McCoy was hurt in the first quarter of the 2010 National Championship game, and they still haven’t found him. Garrett Gilbert was supposed to take the torch from McCoy (to whom it was passed after Vince Young), but he fizzled out in Austin and transferred to SMU. David Ash was then the heir apparent, but he’s had mixed results and has had some recent health issues. Case McCoy had his moments, but no one on the 40 acres really saw him as a national-title contending QB before he graduated in May. The fans have grown restless, as heard by the boos that have been known to come out of the stands at DKR from time to time. The options have opened back up again before the 2014 season, so let’s take a look at who might energize the crowd in Austin this season.

David Ash will likely go into camp as the front runner for the QB job, but will Charlie Strong hold him in the same high regard that Mack Brown did? Brown gave Ash every opportunity he could, even when it was obvious Ash needed to be taken out of the game. The leash might be a lot shorter, especially with Strong trying to get the Longhorn faithful on his side early on. You don’t do that by leaving a bad quarterback in the game for too long. Ash will need to prove himself to the ex-Louisville staff and offensive coordinator Joe Wickline as well.

The other main option will be dual-threat QB Tyrone Swoopes. The sophomore got in at the tail end of five games in 2013, all with the game already in hand for either Texas, Oklahoma State, or Oregon. Swoopes had a tremendous second half at the Texas Spring game, making lots of fans wonder whether Strong is seriously considering giving him the job out of the gate. For his sake, Strong has said a decision won’t be made until right before the season.

The last, long shot option is Jerrod Heard. The freshman out of Denton is not expected to get much playing time this season, but if Ash and Swoopes don’t produce, why not? Heard is also a dual-threat guy, but he’s a very polished passer that likes to use his legs to give himself time to throw instead of just taking off down the field.

Texas fans having been aching for a quarterback to lead them back into the national title hunt, and 2014 could produce that guy if Strong is willing to take a chance on a young guy should Ash not pan out.