Strong faces dilemma in quarterback competition

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The Texas Longhorns finished the 2015 season 5-7 under head coach Charlie Strong. Going into the spring, Strong wanted to name his starting quarterback before spring practices were over but after Jerrod Heard’s shoulder injury, it may be harder than he thought.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff

Head coach Charlie Strong wanted to name the Longhorns’ starting quarterback for the 2016 season by the end of spring practice, but now he might have to wait longer than expected to make that decision.

“I don’t know by the end of spring there will be a guy,” Strong said. “But you just like the battle right now.”

But now, Strong faces a dilemma in the quarterback battle.

Last week, Texas announced that redshirt sophomore quarterback Jerrod Heard injured his throwing shoulder in practice, and Strong confirmed that Heard is officially shut down for the rest of spring ball. While Heard can’t compete on the field for the job, it doesn’t mean Strong has ruled him out of the race.

“It’s not that he’s getting it on the field, but he’s getting it in the classroom,” Strong said. “I think that helps us. Just physically he can’t do what they are doing right now, but just mentally he can make sure that he is processing everything in the classroom.”

On the field, senior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes has shown to the coaching staff that he has exponentially improved his game since last season.  

“He’s mature and much better now,” Strong said. “As you get older, you have to get better. What we are asking him to do right now on offense, he’s doing those things so he’ll get better and improve. It just comes with age.”

While Strong likes a quarterback with experience, he is no stranger to starting a true freshman at the quarterback position.

When Strong was coaching at Louisville, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater started 11 games as a true freshman. And Strong feels confident in how true freshman Shane Buechele has progressed after only four months on campus.

“He’s doing a great job,” Strong said. “Shane’s a quarterback who knows where to put the ball and he’s been in an offense similar to what we are doing right now. He’s only going to get better.”

Strong will come closer to making his decision on the quarterback competition when Swoopes and Buechele will put their talents on display in the Texas spring game April 16.