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Unleash Tyrone Swoopes: Now is the time.

We fired off the first shot in Fort Worth, a few more rounds at DKR, but now it's time to empty the clip and see what we have in Tyrone Swoopes.

Time to see what the freshman can do.
Time to see what the freshman can do.
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

There's no doubt about it: the Texas offense is sputtering. After the offensive domination of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, the Texas offense has been on the decline: 5.8 yards per play against TCU, 5.5 yards per play against Kansas, 4.8 yards per play against West Virginia, and the most recent 4.5 yards per play against Oklahoma State.

The offense as a whole this season has slipped to 71st nationally at 5.58 yards per game. Mix in an increase of turnovers (two each vs. TCU, KU, and WVU, and three against OSU), and the Texas offense has done little to relieve an improving, although still flawed, defense.

In 2011 and 2012, the offensive staff didn't hesitate to go to the back-up QB to provide a "spark" for its offense. Yet now, despite the struggles of late, it has failed to provide any meaningful benefit after burning Tyrone Swoopes' redshirt late in garbage time against TCU. However, following the roughest outing for the O since Ole Miss, the team is free from the burden of controlling its destiny in the Big 12 title race. The argument for getting Swoopes more reps in the game is two-fold:

1) With the redshirt burned, the only way to justify the decision and get the most growth for him now is to put him in some live fire situations and acclimate him to big time football.

2) With defenses locking down the run game with superior numbers, and taking away the only viable aspects of the passing game, something needs to change to find some production.

The future....

Is Tyrone Swoopes the future of Texas football at QB? Will David Ash return in 2014 and have two more healthy years of football? Is Jerrod Heard the truth and ready to step in the moment he arrives in Austin? Will Texas comb the JUCO ranks for a solution before Signing Day?

Many questions, and not really any answers to them. The only thing the offense can do is at least try and figure out what Swoopes can do, and prepare as if he will be the guy in 2014.. We've seen what he can do as a scrambler, showing off some nice runs late in games and taking a few easy throws. But can he do that in the first quarter against a fresh defense? I'd sure like to find out.

The present...

I wouldn't think this would be wise if it didn't have the potential to be an improvement over the current situation. When Ash was healthy, I was all-in on Swoopes holding the clipboard and learning. But, as Scipio Tex points out, the Case Rules are irrefutable, and the opposing defensive strategy is the primary determinant of his success due to simple physics and observed laws.

If teams are going to stack the box and slow the Texas run game (to the tune of 3.5 yards per carry against OSU, for example), then you must introduce the QB as a runner to even the math out or punish them deep for the risk. Right now, neither is happening, and whether or not either is possible is up for debate (with the results the last few weeks leaning no). But Swoopes might be able to accomplish one of those tasks...

The plan...

I'm not saying Swoopes should start and relegate Case McCoy to the bench. I think it's a stretch to say that he's a guaranteed improvement for 60 minutes against any opponent, and I think the staff would be doing a disservice to Swoopes and the seniors on this team by rolling him out and asking him to shoulder the load. And I certainly don't want to be painted as one that wants to see the unknown merely because the known is sub-par.

The question is: is the drop off from McCoy to Swoopes so severe that the future benefit, and potential present benefit, is not worth the drop off? Possibly. But that's the wisdom in not going all-in on the strategy. Swoopes gets a series or two early, and if he flames out with a pair of turnovers, you move on from the strategy. But if he moves the ball? Stick to the plan.

This all is likely a moot point, as the team (in whatever form or reason) has refused to put him in the game until it has long since been decided. But I'd hope, given a bye week to prepare for two games in three weeks, the staff would give a serious look at preparing Swoopes for an increased load, and see how he does on the third series against Texas Tech. And, unless he looks dreadful, give him the sixth series. And so on...

So how bout it? Insanity? Worth a shot? Unlikely to happen regardless of it's merits? At the very least, I'd be excited to watch this offense roll out for the first time in a long time.