Considering the UT’s 11-14 record his first two seasons, head football coach Charlie Strong knows year three is crucial. Which means Strong’s third spring is critical as well.
Strong says, "I am ready to go - and you're right this is a critical year for us - it's our third year. There's a standard here - and we need to meet that standard."
Over the past few years it doesn't matter whether it's spring or fall. The same question always pops up for the Longhorns: Who's going to be starting quarterback? And as Coach Strong and his bunch start spring practices, finding that number one guy will be a top priority.
The guy deciding who'll get the starting nod is new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Sterlin Gilbert. Gilbert will be installing a new uptempo offense for the Horns this spring.
As for the guys competing, there’s a few. There's redshirt sophomore Jerrod Heard, who started 10 games for the Horns last year. He showed some flashes at times. Especially in the Cal game.
Then there's senior Tyrone Swoopes, who came up huge in that 18-wheeler package. Racking up a team-high 12 touchdowns on the ground. Swoopes looking pretty good on day one.
You also have redshirt freshman Kai Locksley and true freshman Shane Buechelle in the mix.
In all, a total of five guys will be competing for the top spot this spring.
Strong says, "The slate is clean with these quarterbacks. Actually, with everyone on the team actually on offense. So it's clean. So you're gonna have a good battle. You're gonna have a good gauge of where guys are gonna be. And it will be wide open. So it's gonna be a matter of how quickly guys can pick it up. How quickly the guys can do what he ask them to do. So it'll be a different change.”
“And it'll be so upbeat. And so much uptempo. That we'll know exactly where we are. What you have now. It's all new for them. So now you have a chance to go compete. And guys have to step up. It's no choice. You look at that position. The quarterback position. You have two guys that played a lot last season. Now you got some more guys that are pushing them. But you're just hoping that some point someone would just rise up and become the guy there,” Strong adds.
Coach Strong also says he hopes this is a conversation he's not having in the fall because he plans on naming a starting quarterback by the end of spring practices, which wrap up next month.
The spring game is April 16th.