After struggling to solidify the quarterback position during his first two seasons at the school, Texas coach Charlie Strong said Monday that the two-quarterback system that produced Sunday’s 50-47 upset of No. 10 Notre Dame in double-overtime is exactly what the program needs going forward.
Strong opted to start freshman Shane Buechele, an Arlington Lamar graduate, in the contest and used Tyrone Swoopes, a senior with a 6-8 career mark as the Longhorns’ starter, as a situational quarterback in goal-line and short-yardage situations where more run-heavy play calls are likely.
The combination proved efficient, with Buechele throwing for two touchdowns and running for another. Swoopes added three rushing touchdowns, including two in overtime, to help the Longhorns knock off Notre Dame after falling in last year’s contest, 38-3, in South Bend, Ind.
Texas is 1-0 after posting records of 6-7 and 5-7 in Strong’s first two seasons at the school. Asked about his quarterbacks during Monday’s conference call with Big 12 football coaches, Strong made it clear that he likes the roles his two quarterbacks embraced against Notre Dame.
“I knew all along what I had at quarterback,” said Strong, who did not announce a starter before the contest. “Now you have a system set up where you can play two and you can rotate those two guys. We know the packages and they know the packages they have. And they have enough respect for one another. If they didn’t have the respect for one another, it would be hard because one guy would feel like he’s not getting enough touches. But now, with the way the situation is being handled, they understand that.”
Strong acknowledged he was more sure what he would get from Swoopes, who also directed the Longhorns’ run-heavy “18 wheeler” package last season, than Buechele going into the contest. Buechele, the first incoming freshman quarterback to start a game for the Longhorns since Bobby Layne in 1944, completed 16-of-26 passes for 280 yards and two TDs. He also rushed for 33 yards (6.6 per carry) and one score. Swoopes rushed 13 times for 53 yards and three TDs.
“We knew what Tyrone was and the package we had for him. And Shane, with a freshman, you don’t always know how they’ll play their first game,” Strong said. “For him to come out and perform the way he did, it was great to see … He played an unbelievable game, just the poise that he has.”