Tyrone Swoopes

Texas sophomore running back D’Onta Foreman runs past the Longhorns defense at the annual Orange-White scrimmage.
Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

With spring practice over, here's the takeaway from the Longhorns this spring:

1. The offensive line showed needed improvement.

Texas’ offensive line was nightmarish in last year’s 6–7 campaign, and head coach Charlie Strong knows the unit needs to improve. The line was consistently overpowered by opposing defensive lines and suffered from injuries, dismissals and a major lack of experience.

With spring practices in the books, Strong has seen improvement. The unit looked comfortable and performed well during practices and the Orange-White scrimmage.

“They’ve gotten a lot better with communicating with each other,” Strong said. “I think it’ll be a great season for us.”

2. The quarterback battle is tighter than ever.

Heading into the spring, junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes had the advantage, having started 12 games last season. He got the majority of first team reps this spring, and Strong praised his growth both on and off the field.

However, redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard, a highly touted state championship-winning quarterback from Denten also impressed Strong, making accurate throws and torching defenses with his feet. Strong has said that Swoopes is still the favorite, but he emphasized that Heard has closed the gap. With several months between now and the season opener, both quarterbacks will have the chance to separate themselves and win the job.

3. Freshman linebacker Malik Jefferson is the real deal.

Jefferson was Texas’ top recruit in its 2015 recruiting class, and he did not disappoint as an early enrollee. Jefferson showed his athleticism and feel for the game in practices, showing a knack for playmaking.

In the spring game, Jefferson forced a fumble, broke up a pass and picked up five tackles, including one tackle for loss.

“He’s very athletic and very instinctive,” Strong said. “He can read plays, and he made a ton of plays on Saturday.”

4. Texas needs freshmen to step up on the outside.

Strong’s first recruiting class was a success, and the Longhorns will need their freshmen to step up.

The Longhorns need outside playmakers on both sides of the ball, and Strong has emphasized throughout spring that freshmen will have a chance to come in and compete at these positions. If the incoming freshmen can contribute and push their fellow teammates, it will go a long way in improving two weak positions.

Freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard and sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes will both get reps with the first team.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Four months after the Longhorns’ 31–7 loss to Arkansas in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl, head coach Charlie Strong still has a bitter taste in his mouth.

“[The loss] burns; it will continue to burn,” Strong said in February. “I guess what burns you more than anything is that when you go and compete, and you feel like we didn’t compete at the level that we should.”

Strong’s first chance this season to get the team competing at his desired level arose in late March when the members of the spring 2015 roster took the field for four weeks of spring practices, all leading up to this weekend’s Orange-White game. The practices yielded several changes for the team, including a revamped up-tempo spread offense that will be put on display Saturday for the first time.

While the offense is a work in progress, Strong expressed satisfaction with what he has seen so far.

“Just with us installing the new offense and trying to tweak it, I think that we’re looking at each day trying to get better, and we’re accomplishing that,” Strong said.

The Longhorns hope their new offense will be a better fit for the team, allowing for a faster-paced offense.

“It allows us to go out there and play aggressively,” senior lineman Marcus Hutchins said. “I think this year, with this offense and tempo, our speed will fit us even better, and I’m excited to play in it.”

In addition to scheme changes, Strong hopes that competition will generate improvement. The Longhorns have already had several key position battles this spring, including a quarterback duel between junior Tyrone Swoopes and redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard.

Swoopes took most of the first-team reps in spring practices, but Heard is not far behind. Most recently, Strong said Heard’s play was better, but lacked Swoopes’ consistency.

Senior running back Johnathan Gray praised both quarterbacks and said he expects them to be ready come Saturday.

“You’re going to see a smarter Jerrod [Heard] and a smarter Swoopes — guys who can operate the offense and bring us to where we need to be,” Gray said.

On the other side of the ball, senior Peter Jinkens, junior Timothy Cole and redshirt freshman Edwin Freeman will be competing for the vacancies at the linebacker position left by injured players and departing seniors.

Other notable position battles include the wide receivers, tight ends and offensive line — positions that gave the Longhorns trouble last year.

While Strong said he’s satisfied with the team’s progress, they will have their first chance to demonstrate that progress Saturday.  

“On Saturday, it’s going to be different,” Hutchins said. “It’s going to be a different era — a different team. You just got to tune in and watch.”

Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Texas is just halfway through spring practices, but things appear to be coming together in an off-season filled with change.

Head coach Charlie Strong’s staff is still implementing a new spread offense, but the unit looked fluid during Monday's practice with several successful drives in 11-on-11 drills. Strong said after practice that the offense looked particularly good during Saturday’s scrimmage, and it appears that the unit is starting to gel operating without a huddle.

Though Texas’ offense has shown improvement through spring play, the Longhorns will only go as far as their quarterback come fall. Currently, rising junior Tyrone Swoopes is taking the majority of the first team reps, but the quarterback battle seems to be tightening.

Redshirted freshman Jerrod Heard has made some serious strides since the first practice. He completed several downfield passes through tight windows, which is something he failed to do in the opening part of the spring and through much of the 2014 season. He also showed off his speed with a long scramble up the middle and some lengthy runs on options and other designed quarterback runs.

Swoopes looked sharp at times, but he also made some poor throws and was clearly not on the same page with his receivers on a few occasions. After practice, Strong said that Heard played better, but that Swoopes has been more consistent overall through spring. He also said that he hopes both quarterbacks will be ready in the fall.

While Heard impressed, Monday's biggest takeaway may be the improvement in the receiving corps, which struggled often struggled gaining separation last season leaving Swoopes and the offensive line vulnerable to opponents’ pass rush. Specifically, rising junior Jacorey Warrick and rising sophomore Dorian Leonard stood out as potential difference makers on the outside for next season.

Warrick ran crisp routes, made impressive catches and showed explosiveness taking a number of screens and flat routes for touchdowns. Leonard used his six-foot-three frame to box-out defensive backs and make tough grabs in traffic. Both players took almost all of their reps with the first team offense and should compete for starting spots come August.

Though the offense often shined with electrifying plays, the defense, which has been decimated with injuries this spring, also showed improvement. The unit mostly lined up in the nickel with four down linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs.

Both redshirted freshman linebacker Edwin Freeman and rising junior linebacker Timothy Cole showed off their instincts and athleticism in pass coverage while filling in for injured senior linebacker Dalton Santos. Freshman Malik Jefferson also impressed in his quick transition to inside linebacker after playing mostly outside before Santos’ injury.

In the secondary, rising sophomore safety Jason Hall made some big hits, while rising sophomore cornerback Antwaun Davis showed his ball skills breaking up several passes on the outside.

Overall, Strong says that he believes that the team is accomplishing its goal of improving each day, and that’s the most important part of spring practice. The Longhorns still have a few weeks to keep improving before they’re put to the test at the Orange-White game on April 18. 

Thoughts from Texas' first spring practice

With the first spring practice in the books, it’s officially football season.

The first practice was telling in regards to the Longhorns’ attitude and direction. The changes that Longhorn fans have been craving after a disappointing 6-7 season are already present, with both offensive and defensive scheme shifts on display early.

The Longhorns new-look offense can best be described with one word-- tempo. The teams’ conditioning was tested early with the offense running to the line after each snap and getting set without a huddle. It’s clear that head coach Charlie Strong and his staff want the offense to play fast this year, similar to the up-tempo offense ran by former offensive coordinator Major Applewhite during the final years of the Mack Brown era. 

Texas also seems to be getting more creative with offensive formations. The Longhorns displayed a primarily shotgun and pistol offense, which is something quite different from last season where the Longhorns often preferred to be under center.

Texas lined up in a variety of shotgun and pistol formations, including sets using full backs and tight ends in the backfield, as well as multiple spread formations with three-to-four wide receivers. Creativity was also present in play calling with junior receiver Daje Johnson taking end-around handoffs out of shotgun formations.

Though Strong said Monday that rising junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes and redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard would be taking equal reps, it seemed that Swoopes had the early advantage in Texas’ quarterback battle.

Swoopes looked confident and sharp when throwing the ball and made a number of nice throws in traffic. Heard had his moments, but he struggled with his accuracy at times and limited himself to shorter range throws. Though they received about an even number of total plays, Swoopes took all of the major reps with the first-team offense.

Other offensive standouts include rising sophomore receiver Lorenzo Joe who was impressive in using his six-foot-two height to box-out defenders and make grabs in traffic. Junior receiver Marcus Johnson also made noise using his speed to gain separation on several different route types.

Defensively, the Longhorns showed a different look from last year’s 4-3 defense, with three linebackers, three linemen and five defensive backs on the field at almost all times. The new defensive look may be an attempt to get faster in a conference that features up-tempo passing offenses.

Though it’s very early in spring play, the Longhorns showed they are making strides in addressing last season’s shortcomings.  There is still a lot of work to do before the spring game, but with already noticeable changes on both sides of the ball, Longhorns fans have something to hang their hat on.

Head coach Charlie Strong is looking to senior linebacker Dalton Santos to be a leader on defense in 2015. The Longhorns defense has big shoes to fill after losing key players last season.
Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

It’s that time of year when the flowers begin to blossom, the temperature outside  warms up, and spring practice commences for the Longhorns.

Head coach Charlie Strong’s first season didn’t have the traction that was expected, and it ended with a 31–7 defeat at the hands of Arkansas.

Texas enters spring practice with a sense of urgency to get back to national relevance. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the start of spring practice.

The quarterback situation

“Who will be the starting quarterback?” 

It’s the question everyone wants to know the answer to. Last season, sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes lacked consistency in his play, and by the season’s end, fans were ready to move on from the Swoopes era.

Strong made it clear both Swoopes and redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard, who hasn’t seen any action yet, will compete for the starting job.

“Going into the spring practice, we’re going to give them equal reps; give them a chance to compete against each other,” Strong said.

Players are often judged by their stats and how they perform on the field; it’s no different for quarterbacks, who are often in the eye of the storm. Swoopes and Heard will not be solely judged on their skill set and ability to execute but also on their ability to lead and unify the team.

“At that position you got to have leadership,” Strong said. “With these two quarterbacks, can we get the team to follow them?”

Defense

It’s an old saying: “Offense wins games, but defense wins championships.” 

The Longhorns go into this spring season losing key players on the defensive end, including linebacker Jordan Hicks, cornerback Quandre Diggs and defensive tackle Malcom Brown.

Texas has the right personnel for a successful defense, but time will tell whether it will become elite. 

Texas is looking for leaders, especially in the middle linebacker position, which is regarded as the “quarterback” of the defense.

According to Strong, rising senior linebacker Dalton Santos is in place to start as middle linebacker. As the backup to senior linebacker Steve Edmond last season, he saw the field a fair amount, helping him gain the experience to take over. But spring practice will provide important reps for him with the first team.

Fans will also get their first glance at freshman outside linebacker Malik Jefferson, who is considered to be the star member of Strong’s recruiting class.

Team chemistry, leadership and intangibles

The Longhorns’ team chemistry, pride and leadership are all important for success, going hand-in-hand with each other.

“One thing [the coaches and I] talked about — the number one — and it’s very key is to go build us a football team,” Strong said. “A team with team chemistry.”

While pride of being on the team can create leaders that galvanize others on the team, Texas will look for its team chemistry to show.

Beyond the ‘X’s and ‘O’s, Strong and the Longhorns strive for the intangibles that make successful teams. Spring practice begins Wednesday, and fans will see whether Texas can begin to blossom like flowers are doing now.

Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes struggled with consistency during the 2014 season. One of Texas’ biggest needs for next season is better quarterback play.
Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

Head coach Charlie Strong has his work cut out for him. The Longhorns offense needs fixing, and it needs it badly.

When the Longhorns weren’t turning the ball over, they were simply unable to sustain drives — ranking 89th in plays-per-game and 110th in third-down conversion percentage last season. While injuries and dismissals played a role in their offensive woes, predictable play calling and a vanilla offensive scheme didn’t do sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes and company any favors.

“We have to tweak [the offense],” Strong said after National Signing Day. “We know this. I look at five games last season where we scored 20 points or less. We know we have to get better.”

The games that Strong mentioned were cringe-worthy. Among them were losses to Kansas State, TCU and Arkansas, in which describing the offense as looking lost is an understatement. It was clear the personnel and the scheme did not add up to a successful offense.

Strong knows that Texas’ offensive struggles last season were unacceptable, and he’s emphasized adjusting the scheme to fit his players and new recruits. In this case, Texas’ recruits mostly come from Texas, which is notorious for a high-tempo, high-scoring spread offenses at the high-school level.

“I look at this state ship, and I would say probably 98 percent of this state is a spread offense,” Strong said Monday at the first spring press conference. “So, when we bring players into our program, let’s not change them.”

Perhaps the best indication of the coming system tweaks is the hiring of Jay Norvell, former Oklahoma wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator, as Texas’ new wide receivers coach.

Norvell was partly hired for his experience in coaching spread offenses, and his impressive track record at Oklahoma is encouraging. In five of his seven years with the Sooners, Oklahoma’s offense ranked in the top 30 in scoring and plays-per-game. 

In simpler terms, Norvell’s spread stayed on the field, gained first downs and scored points. Texas needs all of the above.

The new offense’s biggest beneficiaries may be the quarterbacks. Both Swoopes and redshirted freshman Jerrod Heard were top dual-threat quarterbacks coming out of high school, and spreading the offense will give them a chance to prove themselves as runners and throwers in spring play. 

Even incoming freshman quarterback Kai Locksley — who won’t be in practices until the summer but is still a candidate for the starting job, according to Strong — excelled in a spread offense in high school.

“They are good enough where they can throw the ball, good enough where, if you had to pull it down, they could run the football,” Strong said. “But, you have to take advantage of what you have.”

If Strong and his staff can get consistent play from their quarterbacks through a scheme change, it would be an enormous step toward fixing the offense.

Regardless of who is under center, Texas has no more excuses for poor offense. Strong and his staff need to find a way to get the most out of their players, and, whether it’s a complete offensive overhaul or some slight scheme changes, Texas’ offense will look different next year. 

If Strong and his staff can deliver on their promise to improve the offense, it will be a big step in bringing the Longhorns back into national relevance.

Running back Chris Warren from Rockwall High School smiles with his family after signing with Texas. Warren is one of 28 recruits in Charlie Strong’s first recruiting class.

Biggest signees for Texas: 

Malik Jefferson was Texas’ most highlighted recruit as the nation’s top linebacker. But Jefferson wasn’t the only monumental recruit for head coach Charlie Strong’s first official recruiting class.

The Longhorns signed two tall receivers who can provide playmaking abilities in 6-foot-2 John Burt and 6-foot-4 Gilbert Johnson. Texas’ starting quarterback next season — whether it be sophomore Tyrone Swoopes or redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard — can have the confidence to throw the deep ball when either receiver has a height advantage on a cornerback.

Texas also signed Chris Warren, a 6-foot-2, 239-pound running back who is ranked the No. 8 running back in the nation, according to 247Sports. Warren has the ability to run strong up the middle and to gain a significant amount of yards after contact because of his solid frame.

In addition, the Longhorns found success at the tight end position, signing of Devonaire Clarington, the No. 7 tight end in the nation, according to 247Sports. Clarington’s athleticism, combined with his height and strength, will stretch the field for the Longhorns because of his ability to run down the seams and be a mismatch for most linebackers.

Biggest disappointment for Texas:

The question the Longhorns face — a question as big as Texas — is who the quarterback will be next season. Swoopes wasn’t consistent enough when it came to getting the ball to his receivers, and Heard has not yet been tested. Although Texas signed Kai Locksley, who, according to Strong, will play quarterback, he isn’t a marquee name in the quarterback position.

After four-star quarterback prospect Zach Gentry flipped his commitment to Michigan, five-star quarterback Kyler Murray was the Longhorns’ last hope to get a top-ranked quarterback recruit. However, Murray ended up sticking with his original commitment at Texas A&M.

The last time the Longhorns found consistency at the quarterback position was with Colt McCoy. Texas now has to work on developing Locksley, Swoopes or Heard in order to improve on last season’s quarterback play.

Texas wins the Big 12 in recruiting:

Texas has the No. 11 recruiting class in the nation, according to 247Sports. Oklahoma’s No. 15-ranked recruiting class was second among Big 12 schools, followed by Texas Tech at No. 33. That leaves the Longhorns with the No. 1 recruiting class in the Big 12.

Texas signed 14 recruits ranked in ESPN 300, and the rest of the Big 12 combined for 20 such recruits. Strong alluded last year he wanted to put the “T” back in Texas, and the results of his first recruiting period at Texas is a big first step toward that statement.

Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes looks to recover from an inconsistent season and fight to remain the starter.
Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones kick-started his college career by lighting up the scoreboard against some of the best competition in the nation and winning a national championship in his first three games. The offensive outburst by the redshirt sophomore prompted an outpouring of praise for Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and his ability to recruit and coach a roster with three All-American caliber quarterbacks.

Back on the 40 Acres, the mood was a little more gloomy. Jones’ downfield rockets and Meyer’s bold and creative play calling stood in stark contrast to the Longhorns’ dismal performance at the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, where the burnt orange and white accumulated only 59 yards of total offense.

If the Longhorns want to rejoin Ohio State as college football royalty, they will need to find a quarterback and coaching duo to lead the way. The options at quarterback look promising, as Texas will likely burn freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard’s redshirt next season, and sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes will have the off season to develop. Kyler Murray, five-star quarterback recruit and Texas A&M commit, even stopped by the University of Texas campus for a visit Wednesday.

The tutelage of Shawn Watson, Texas’ assistant head coach for offense and quarterbacks, who coached current Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville, is set to launch one of the Longhorn quarterbacks into All-American consideration. At this point, however, it is hard to tell if Watson is the right man to coach Heard, Swoopes or any other quarterback on the roster.

Watson was a member of head coach Charlie Strong’s staff at Louisville when the Vikings drafted Bridgewater, but it is still unclear at the moment whether it was Watson who bolstered Bridgewater to prominence or the other way around.

When at Louisville, Bridgewater was a mobile quarterback who could still thrive when sitting back and embracing his role as a pocket passer. Watson tried to run a similar offense in his first year of play-calling duties at Texas, but to no avail.

Swoopes showed he is not Bridgewater, as he often looked uncomfortable dropping back and scanning the defense — a requirement for a pocket passer. When the offense went downhill in the Kansas State game, Watson and the rest of the staff seemed to make little effort to change the game plan in order to attempt to use Swoopes’ powerful legs to their advantage.

Heard is the clear next-in-line if the “Tyrone Swoopes experiment” does not work out, but his blazing speed appears to be better suited for an offense that avoids under-center sets and embraces the option. It has yet been determined whether Heard can achieve success when sitting back and reading a defense. If he cannot do so, the Longhorns will have to spend springtime courting pocket passers or start making serious changes to the offense.

Watson showed moments of brilliance as a play caller, even with a patchwork offensive line. But if Watson’s young quarterbacks prove incapable of being pocket passers during spring practice, he will have to put Louisville’s formula for success behind him and tweak the offense in a way that better incorporates his quarterbacks’ skill sets.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

HOUSTON—In his post game remarks, head coach Charlie Strong was quick to his point about what needs to happen for the Longhorns to avoid another losing season in 2015 and beyond.
 
“We got to get better on offense,” Strong said. “There are no playmakers.”
 
While both of those statements were pretty clear to many entering the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl the Longhorns’ performance in the 31-7 loss to the Razorbacks left almost no doubt to fans about the validity of those comments.
 
Junior running back Johnathan Gray ran for nine-yards on six carries but had a costly fumble in the end zone that resulted in an Arkansas touchdown. Junior wide receiver/ running back Daje Johnson, who has big-play potential, received a season-high-three touches , but produced zero yards.
 
“We didn’t execute on offense,” Strong said. "[That’s] what happens if you’re watching so much, when we have one bad play it leads to another bad play. It’s like we can’t retain our focus.”
 
For most of the evening the Longhorns simply could not move the ball in the right direction on offense. After penalties, Texas moved the ball a net of 45-yards on 11 offensive possessions including 59-yards from scrimmage the least by an FBS team this season, according to ESPN. 
 
Six of the Longhorns’ 11 possessions went for negative yardage, with only their final possession of 29-yards keeping the team nine yards from avoiding the distinction of producing their fewest yards of scrimmage in school history.
 
However, that late drive ended in an interception thrown by sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes that was returned for 46-yards, or one more yard than the offense moved the ball. Texas also scored its only touchdown on a 44-yard drive in the second quarter, an anomaly that came during a seven-drive stretch during which the other six ended with it moving backwards.
 
“We just didn’t execute,” Swoopes said. “At the end of the day that’s what you’ve got to do.”
 
After struggling in a five-turnover effort against TCU on Thanksgiving, Swoopes struggled again, averaging less than three yards per pass attempt, while losing 32 yards on the ground. Texas finished the year 5-7 in his 12 starts, and throughout the season the offense struggled to consistently move the chains.
 
“We talk about the quarterback because the ball is in his hands a lot,” Strong said. “We know that and we see that. He doesn’t always make the perfect throws, but also you got to have somebody around him who can help him out sometimes.”
 
Junior wide receiver Marcus Johnson thinks that help can come from improved leadership of fellow players in the locker room.
 
“Once people question pride in the program and things like that it comes from within the locker room and that’s something we have to take accountability for and change, “ Johnson said.
 
While Johnson did not suggest any position or player in particular needs to step up as leaders, Texas’ poor results since 2010 indicate that whoever is the starting quarterback in 2015 will need to take charge if the Longhorns are to start winning again.

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

HOUSTON-- For Texas, Monday night epitomized head coach Charlie Strong’s first year struggles and sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes’ inconsistent play. 

At NRG Stadium in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, Arkansas (7-6, 2-4 SEC) topped the Longhorns (6-7, 5-4 Big 12) 31-7 in a matchup of two historical Southwest Conference rivals. Texas gained just 59 yards in the contest, the fewest of any FBS team through all of 2014, according to ESPN.

“You don’t ever expect to go out and get hammered in a bowl game 31-7 when you had a month to go prepare,” Strong said. “Texas has got to mean something. Right now, it doesn’t mean much.”

Arkansas dominated the game throughout. When both teams started out slowly, Arkansas inched out to a 3-0 lead at first quarter’s end. The Razorbacks contained the Longhorns to just 17 yards and two first downs through the first quarter and began to pull away in the second.

The Razorbacks’ offense began to explode in the second quarter. Junior quarterback Brandon Allen began the streak with a 36-yard touchdown pass just 45 seconds into the second. Next, defensive tackle Taiwan Johnson ramped up momentum by recovering junior running back Johnathan Gray’s endzone fumble for a second touchdown halfway through the second quarter. The score marked just the third touchdown by Arkansas defense through 2014.

“[Gray and I] weren’t on the same page when he missed the handoff,” Swoopes said. “We just didn’t execute. At the end of the day, that’s what you got to do.”

As Swoopes—and the Texas offense as a whole—struggled to succeed with the pass game, the Longhorns alternated between the run game and short passes through the first half. Swoopes completed six-of-10 for 30 yards before halftime and lost 19 yards on two sacks. Even so, it was Swoopes’ run game alone that put Texas on the board. His nine-yard rush with 3:50 to go in the second quarter shrunk the Texas deficit to 17-7. The Longhorns entered the half down 24-7 and wouldn’t score again.

“They were just physical,” Swoopes said of the Arkansas defense. “They had a lot of guys to the point of the attack and just all played hard for 60 minutes.”

In addition to gaining a lowly 59 yards on offense, the Longhorns also played their eighth scoreless third quarter of the season. Texas ends its season with just 23 third-quarter points in 2014.

Strong said Texas’ game needs to improve in every quarter.

“A lot of time in the first half it’s a low-scoring game and in the second half, it just falls in on us,” Strong said. “It’s just about guys finishing and executing. We don’t finish. We didn’t do a great job of finishing.”

Texas allowed one more rushing touchdown in the fourth, as Arkansas capped off its day with 351 total offensive yards—292 more than the Longhorns produced. Allen, the game’s most valuable player, completed 12-of-23 passes for 160 yards.

Though Swoopes completed more passes than Allen did, his 13 balls were good for just 57 yards. He also lost 41 yards rushing. Strong and Shawn Watson, assistant head coach for offense/quarterbacks, said Swoopes will face competition for next year’s starting quarterback position.

“He knows he’s got a lot of work to do and understands he’s far from a finished product,” Watson said. “He’s got tons of work to do and he’s willing to go out and do it.”

The loss drops Texas’ all-time series record against Arkansas to 56-22, 1-2 at neutral sites. Texas also finishes the season at 6-7, its second losing season since 2010.

“We see there’s a lot of work to be done which is a great challenge and I don’t mind that—I accept that,” Strong said. “You look at the TCU game and this game and it’s not an indication of what Texas is all about. We have work to do and we got to get it done.”