Texas notes: Freshman QB Tyrone Swoopes could make debut vs. Oklahoma

Posted Friday, Oct. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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What a way Tyrone Swoopes could begin his college football career.

Swoopes, a true freshman, has taken second-team reps in practice ever since first-team quarterback David Ash suffered a concussion against BYU a month ago.

Swoopes has not played in a real game, but that could change Saturday when the Longhorns (3-2, 2-0 Big 12) take on Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0) at the Cotton Bowl in the Red River Rivalry in Dallas.

“The one thing you can never be prepared for is your first snap, in terms of the speed and the way things are going to accelerate once that ball is snapped,” co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said.

The Longhorns’ coaching staff was prepared to strip Swoopes of his redshirt against Iowa State but never found the right time to play him. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder from Whitewright turned heads in Texas’ spring game.

“The biggest thing is he needs to show Major during the week is that by putting him in, it will help us win,” Texas coach Mack Brown said.

Big underdog

Texas, already with a pair of 19-point losses to BYU and Ole Miss, is a 14-point underdogagainst Oklahoma.

Not since 2005, when the Longhorns were also a two-touchdown favorite, has there been a team that heavily favored in the Red River Rivalry.

“I don’t look at point spreads,” Mack Brown said. “It doesn’t matter. We’re going to do our best to win regardless of the perception of the game going in.”

It’s been more than 20 years since the Sooners have been favored against Texas by as many points as they are this week. But the Longhorns aren’t concerned.

“Who cares who the underdog is?” sophomore running back Johnathan Gray said. “It’s all about the outcome. [We’re] prepared for a fight, and it’s going to be a great game.”

Starting at LB

For the first time in their careers, linebackers Steve Edmond and Dalton Santos will be starting alongside each other.

Santos made his first career start in last week’s victory over Iowa State as Edmond sat out the first half after being called for targeting in the fourth quarter in the Longhorns’ previous game.

Santos will start again, staying atop the depth chart at middle linebacker, while Edmond slides over to weakside linebacker.

“They play downhill and hard and they bring a tremendous force at the linebacker position,” junior defensive end Cedric Reed said.

Edmond has made 35 tackles this seasonm while Santos has made 24 stops, but the team’s leading tackler is still Jordan Hicks (41), who was lost for the season when he underwent surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon two weeks ago.

“We’ve been inconsistent at linebacker and we’ve got to step up,” Brown said. “Last year when we lost Jordan Hicks, we didn’t play well after that at linebacker. We’ve got to get it fixed and we’ve got to get it fixed this week.”

Robinson returns

Texas defensive coordinator Greg Robinson returns to the Cotton Bowl to face Oklahoma for the first time since 2004. The Longhorns fell to the Sooners that year 12-0, but Robinson has happy memories of that game.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had more fun at a game,” Robinson recalled. “It was 6-0 there with about six minutes to go, and I thought something was going to go there and it just didn’t. But it was a great game and it was so unique. I’ve been to the Cotton Bowl before, but it was nothing like what that was like.”

That loss was the only one Texas had all season. The Longhorns went on to win their next 21 games, including a Rose Bowl victory over Michigan and a national title-clinching triumph over USC.

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