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It’s Tyrone Swoopes’ ball, offense to run now

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His high school coach is still a big believer in Tyrone.




It’s Tyrone Swoopes’ ball, offense to run now




The last time Tyrone Swoopes was a starting quarterback was his senior year at Class 2A Whitewright High, in a small community a little over an hour northeast of Dallas. That team went 1-9.

And that win? The opponent came into the game with an 0-8 record.



“You can’t line up one against 11,†Swoopes’ mother, Elizabeth, said Tuesday. “Regardless of what people say, he had people supporting him on the field and supporting him off the field. That’s the only way he survived, if you call it that.â€

Regardless of what Texas fans think, Swoopes will be the one stepping in for David Ash on Saturday against BYU (1-0) and possibly even longer. Mack Brown once pegged the 6-foot-4-inch sophomore as the next Vince Young. It’s time to see whether Brown was right.

Swoopes’ high school coach, Jack Wylie, certainly offered up some explosive hyperbole about Texas’ new starter this week.


“First off, I think Tyrone is a better passer, going to be a better passer than Vince ever was,†Wylie told KTEN-TV. “And Tyrone’s body frame … you know he probably carries 20 more pounds right now than Vince ever did, so I think he can do everything Vince did and more there.â€

Better than Vince Young ever was? Um, let’s go back and dig into that 1-9 record.

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine once said Swoopes “might be the most exciting player in Texas at any classification.†He ran for 560 yards against Tom Bean in 2011, a figure that still ranks as the second-best single game in Texas high school history. Whitewright went 7-4 in Swoopes’ junior year.

But he had very little help as a senior, recalled Jason Della Rosa, a sportswriter for the Sherman Herald Democrat.

In Whitewright’s 2012 season opener, Swoopes ran 27 times for 305 yards. He completed 16 of 22 passes for 175 yards. He accounted for six touchdowns (three rushing, three passing). His rushing touchdowns were from 43, 63 and 71 yards, according to the box score. But Nacona still pulled out a 55-47 win.

By the end of the year, Swoopes had rushed for 1,475 yards and 16 touchdowns. He had thrown for 958 yards and 10 touchdowns with only three interceptions.

Whitewright’s defense allowed 408 yards per game. Here’s a sobering statistic about that team: Of the 3,675 total yards allowed, 2,973 were on the ground. After the season, Wylie was forced out as head coach.

Swoopes “gets a really bad rap for that senior year,†Della Rosa said, “and I think if people looked into the numbers and see the video from that year, I don’t know what more he was supposed to do in a lot of those games to get them wins.â€

Despite the team’s overall record, Swoopes was still labeled a blue-chip recruit by every service out there.

UT fans clamored for him last season after Ash was benched at halftime against Kansas State on Sept. 21 with concussion symptoms. But Brown put Case McCoy into the starting lineup, and the Horns went on to win six straight.

Swoopes finally lost his redshirt in a midseason game at TCU but didn’t see any meaningful action until the Alamo Bowl. He looked raw and was betrayed by receivers who dropped some catchable balls. He finished the night completing 1 of 6 passes for 8 yards.

For some, that was enough. Now that freshman Jerrod Heard, who won two Class 4A state titles at Denton Guyer, is on campus, there is a pocket of fans who believe Texas coach Charlie Strong should bypass Swoopes and go straight to Heard.

“I’m very confident in Tyrone; I am,†Strong said. “I’m confident in any player on this football team. And they realize that. If I don’t believe in them, then no one else will believe in them.â€

Swoopes has never shown a real vocal presence on the field. That’s not who he is, teammates say. Receiver John Harris said Swoopes is a player who can complete several short passes and suddenly get rolling. “Then, I promise you, people will be so surprised in him,†Harris said.

Running back Malcolm Brown said, “People don’t see what we’ve seen in practice the last couple of years. He’s definitely a good player once he gets going.â€

Just how will Swoopes handle the pressure in front of a full house at Royal-Memorial Stadium?

“I really don’t know. But he’s never been put in a situation, so really, nobody knows,†said Elizabeth Swoopes, who is still the girls track coach in Whitewright. “People are going to have their opinions, good or bad. He can do the best to prepare, and when the time comes, you just perform.â€




















Size: 6 feet 4 inches, 243 pounds

Year: Sophomore

2013: Saw limited time in six games backing up Case McCoy after David Ash was injured in the second game.

Career stats: 5 of 13 for 26 yards; 20 carries for 79 yards and a TD.

As a recruit: Swoopes was a four-star athlete, though Texas signed him as a quarterback. He was ranked 30th on the American-Statesman’s Fabulous 55 and was the nation’s 235th overall prospect. He was an early enrollee for the spring of 2013.

High school: Was a four-year starter at Class 2A Whitewright, rushing for 5,341 yards and 73 TDs and passing for 3,850 yards and 41 TDs.

Did you know: His full name is Alphonso Tyrone, and he is a cousin to former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes.

Watson to Swoopes: Don’t win game by yourself

Texas quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson said he’s told Tyrone Swoopes to rely on his running backs and receivers this week against BYU.

“He does not need to put an ‘S’ on his chest and put a cape on his back and try to do it all by himself,†Watson said after Tuesday’s practice. “It won’t work that way.â€

Watson said Swoopes’ skill set will open up some other things that David Ash cannot do. The coaching staff will probably implement the zone read to highlight Swoopes’ running ability to the perimeter.

“They don’t ask the quarterbacks to be Superman,†receiver Jaxon Shipley said. “Just don’t turn the ball over and do what he’s asked to do.â€




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From the Daily Texan, good to hear good things about Tyrone from his teammates.



Swoopes preparing for first start at texas



The backup quarterback is usually everyone’s favorite player, and for the past two seasons, sophomore signal caller Tyrone Swoopes has played that role. 

Now finding himself thrust into the starting role following another head injury to redshirt junior quarterback David Ash, Swoopes is ready to take over as starter for the foreseeable future.

“He’s been the cool, calm customer he is,†quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson said. “I think he is a very well-liked player on this football team and a very well-respected player for his work ethic and his character and the person he is and what he puts in and what he’s working to accomplish here. So he has a lot of team respect, and the guys will rally behind him because of that.â€

That poise has helped Swoopes earn the respect of his teammates, who see him continuing to work to improve as a player and a leader. 

“The thing with Tyrone is that he’s a leader,†senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley said. “And a lot of guys don’t see that because you don’t see him on the field. But in the locker room, all of the guys love him. He’s all one of our good friends, pretty much everyone on the team. And we have a lot of respect for him. He’s an extremely hard worker.†

At 6 feet 4 inches and 240 pounds, Swoopes is nearly identical to Vince Young in size and stature, but those expecting similarities in their styles of play will be thoroughly disappointed. Young was elusive and nimble with his feet and used his legs primarily to open up throwing lanes, whereas Swoopes is more physical — running over guys with the ball and using his elite arm strength to break defenses deep


“He can make some really big throws in tight windows,†redshirt senior receiver John Harris said. “Tyrone is a guy [who] has a really strong arm, as you can see when he played against Oregon, throwing the deep ball to Mike [Davis].†

Some people who saw Swoopes play last season have already wrote him off at quarterback. But those snaps were sporadic and often un-meaningful, and the Texas players have confidence that all it will take for Swoopes to excel is the opportunity to get

“Once he gets a couple of good plays in, he’ll start finding a little rhythm and just start doing what he does,†senior running back Malcolm Brown said. “Once he gets a couple throws in and gets in a rhythm, he’ll do fine.â€

But the most important thing for Swoopes’ success is an understanding of how he can contribute to the Texas offense by utilizing the talent around him.

“Basically, his first transition he develops is he’s got to be a part of why we win,†Watson said. “I said a part — he’s got to understand what he’s got at his disposal. He’s got two great tailbacks, he’s got a really gifted corps of receivers, he’s got really good tight ends, [and] he’s got a really good offensive line, so he’s got to let those people help him. He does not need to put an ‘S’ on his chest and a cape on his back and try to do it all by himself. It won’t work that way.“

Swoopes is no longer the backup and will now faces a major test on national
television. With only 13 pass attempts under his belt, one shouldn’t be too quick to write off Swoopes if he struggles against BYU. For now, it is the responsibility of the rest of the team to play flawlessly and put Swoopes in position to help them win games.



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