It may have taken him half the season, but sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes is starting to provide some hope for the future.
After a series of uneven performances in the first four starts of his career, Swoopes has been a different player in his last two games. He’s been poised and confident, erasing the “talented but raw” label — at least for the time being — that many attached to him throughout the first half of the season.
Most importantly, though, he looks like a player who could be a major part of the Texas offense for the next two seasons.
Swoopes passed for at least 300 yards while rushing for at least 50 yards against both Oklahoma and Iowa State. A Texas passer has not seen these totals since Colt McCoy donned the burnt orange from 2006-2009.
These performances have made Swoopes’ early season struggles against BYU and Baylor seem like an eternity ago.
“It’s just so fun to watch the development of Tyrone and how he’s getting better and better week by week,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “Our offense is going to go as our quarterback goes.”
Physically, Swoopes possesses all the tools to excel as a collegiate quarterback: an imposing 6-foot-4, 243-pound frame, superb throwing arm and good enough speed to keep defenses on their toes. The question has been whether he could acclimate himself with the offense and become a leader after being pressed into action. More and more each week, he’s proving the answer to be “yes.”
For a team that’s battled quarterback uncertainty for half a decade now, Swoopes’ emergence offers a reason for optimism. Texas consistently fields one of the most talented rosters in the nation, but it’s the teams with excellent quarterback play that regularly contend for conference championships.
Swoopes’ poise late in the last two games has been promising. He led two late touchdown drives against Oklahoma and almost got Texas a win, and he then led a last-minute field goal drive against Iowa State to clinch the victory.
However, he isn’t a finished product quite yet. His interception returned for a touchdown against Oklahoma took place after he stared down his receiver before throwing into coverage. Last week, he made a terrible judgment call when he tried to force a ball into traffic in the red zone, a throw resulting in an easily avoidable interception.
At the same time, though, he’s shown flashes of impressive playmaking ability in the last two weeks that some quarterbacks could only hope to have. If he can outgrow his mistakes and continue to harness his talent, Swoopes could firmly establish himself as Texas’ starting quarterback and give the Longhorns a future to look forward to.