It took just one game, and possibly just one hit, for Texas junior quarterback David Ash’s concussion symptoms to return in 2014.
Longhorn head coach Charlie Strong announced Monday that Ash, who missed 10 games because of multiple concussions last season, will have to sit out this weekend’s game against BYU after he experienced concussion-like symptoms yet again after last Saturday’s 38-7 victory over North Texas.
“Ash took a hit in the first quarter,” Strong said. “We are going to evaluate it more with our medical staff. But we just made the decision that he will not play this week.”
Strong and his staff believe the injury occurred when Ash fumbled a snap on Texas’ second drive of the game and was hit by North Texas defensive end Jarrian Roberts as he jumped on the loose ball. Strong said the coaches and medical staff did not know of any issues with their starting quarterback until after the game, when he complained about a headache and some dizziness.
“During the game there was no symptoms,” Strong said. “We got a call [from Ash] late that night, and we were able to get him with the trainers.”
While Ash told the staff that he believes the injury occurred early in the first quarter, he took several hits throughout the game that may have caused the symptoms to return.
No further details were provided about the extent of Ash’s head injury or how much time he might miss, as Strong indicated they will wait for the medical staff to do more evaluating before they determine whether Ash will be able to return this season.
In Ash’s absence, sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes is expected to get the start this weekend while true freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard will be the backup.
“We went out yesterday, and Tyrone was able to execute the offense and practiced well,” Strong said “We have two quarterbacks, and we’re just going to turn it over to them and let it happen this week.”
Swoopes has limited experience, having played sparingly at the end of last season. The 6-foot-4-inch, 245-pound dual-threat quarterback was six for 13 for 26 yards and rushed for 79 yards and one touchdown as a freshman.
“Offensively, we’re going to have to tweak it some for Tyrone,” Strong said. “Tyrone can handle it. I’m not concerned about that. The team will rally around him; we’ll be able to get it fixed and move on.”
Heard just arrived on campus this fall after an illustrious high school career at Guyer High in Denton. He threw for 2,148 yards and 22 touchdowns and ran for another 2,172 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior last year.
“Now it’s going to move very quickly for [Heard],” Strong said. “He’ll be right behind Tyrone, and he’s always just a play away [from being in the game].”
Given the lack of experience for both Swoopes and Heard, Strong emphasized the importance of the two signal callers acting as game managers and allowing the rest of the team to step up and fill the void left by Ash’s absence.
As for the rest of the team, the players are confident that no matter who is at quarterback, they can still win games as a team.
“We’ve got to get together,” said senior defensive back Quandre Diggs, a leader in the Texas locker room. “We’ve got guys on scholarship that should be ready to go. If your number gets called upon, you should be ready to go. You can’t be too concerned. We’re going to miss those guys, but, hey, life goes on.”