Texas Longhorns coach Charlie Strong seems to be making a strong case for Arlington Lamar product Shane Buehele to be the team’s next starting quarterback.
In an exclusive interview Wednesday with former Heisman winner Ricky Williams on the Longhorn Network, Strong showered Buechele with the type of praise that certainly seems to place the early enrollee as a major threat to win the job.
When Williams asked Strong if Buechele has “any chance to see significant playing time in the fall,” Strong looked at Williams like the former Texas great must be smoking something: “Buechele? Oh God yes. Yes, oh, he will play in the fall. Yes, he will play. Yes.”
Buechele, who impressed with his performance in the spring game, is battling senior Tyrone Swoopes and sophomore Jerrod Heard, who experienced some success last season as the starter, but missed a chunk of the spring, including the spring game, with a shoulder strain.
Never miss a local story.
Williams started the quarterback conversation by telling Strong that he watched the quarterbacks during spring practices and “I have to be honest, the player who jumped out was Shane Buechele. What makes him so special?”
It’s interesting to note how Strong opened his description of Buechele.
“Buechele,” Strong said, “if you think about it, he’s a quarterback, and he’s been in this offense before so he really understands it.”
He’s a quarterback. Now, that’s not to say that Strong doesn’t view his other two options as such, but neither Swoopes nor Heard has yet to demonstrate an ability to perform as an all-around QB. Swoopes thrived last season as a goal-line runner after he lost his starting job to Heard. Heard showed he has a long way to go in the passing game.
Buechele already might be the most complete, and most polished quarterback in the group. And, according to Strong, in just a few months, he’s already rubbing off on his teammates.
“He’s like a gym rat. He really studies the game, and it’s amazing,” Strong said. “If you walked down that hall right now, he might be somewhere hanging out in the office.
“He is a competitor and that comes from his dad, with his dad (Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele) playing professional baseball, so he understands. And the players know it. The good thing about it, and we can say what we want to say, but the players see it. Players, they know who’s the good players, they know who the bad players are. And they’ll tell you, ‘He’s a baller, coach.’
“Even me and Ty (Swoopes) was talking, and he said, ‘You know what coach? He will make me better because he can play.’ When you’re sitting there getting that from a teammate of yours, someone you’re competing at the same position, then you know you got you something special.”
The ultimate decision, Strong said, will be left up to first-year offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, who is implementing an up-tempo offense.
With spring over and the summer approaching, the QB question will be put to rest until the team reconvenes for camp in August.
It might not be long after that when Strong announces his team will roll into the Sept. 4 opener against Notre Dame with a true freshman as the starting QB.