Don't call it the Swoopesdozer or the Storm Swooper -- Texas Longhorns redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard has a better name for the physical package new play caller Jay Norvell installed for junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes.
"I keep calling it '18 Wheeler,'" Heard said Tuesday. "That's what I like to call it."
The 18 refers, of course, to the number worn by the 6'4, 244-pounder who has become adept at lowering his shoulder and picking up extra yardage in the run-heavy look that features an extra offensive lineman and a bevy of blockers. Inspired by the Belldozer package that Norvell used at Oklahoma to allow former quarterback Blake Bell to run for four touchdowns against the Longhorns in 2012, the 18 Wheeler package debuted against Oklahoma State when Swoopes carried the ball three times for 35 yards and scored a touchdown.
After getting blown out early against TCU, Swoopes only appeared in a back-up role replacing Heard, but once again reprised his short-yardage role in the Cotton Bowl against Norvell's former employer, carrying the ball four times for 14 yards and the touchdown on which he fumbled at the goal line.
Texas has mostly run QB Counter to the left with the package, but switched up the personnel for the Oklahoma game by inserting sophomore wide receiver Lorenzo Joe, then finally used a play-action pass from the package to score a critical late touchdown when Swoopes found junior tight end Caleb Bluiett wide open in the back of the end zone from two yards out.
Swoopes often appeared uncomfortable in his role as the starting role, but the 18 Wheeler package has helped energize him and the entire team, so expect Norvell to continue to use it moving forward until defenses prove that they can stop it with any consistency. Given the increasingly physical nature of the Texas offensive line and the 11 against 11 nature of the package, that seems unikely.
"When you see him out there you know he's going to break it."