The Texas Longhorns may be without Jerrod Heard on Saturday in Waco against the Baylor Bears, as head coach Charlie Strong said Monday morning that his redshirt freshman quarterback is still day-to-day after suffering a concussion last week against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
The Texas medical staff will continue to evaluate the team's starting quarterback on Monday and throughout game week.
The 6'2, 195-pounder left the game in the second quarter after he took a hard third-down hit when freshman running back Chris Warren failed to pick up a blitzing defender. Heard finished the game 2-of-5 passing for 12 yards and 4 carries for -1 yards.
His replacement, junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, was effective on the ground in scoring a 46-yard touchdown, but continued to struggle in the passing game, missing on the critical fourth-down throw to senior wide receiver Daje Johnson and overthrowing sophomore wide receiver Lorenzo Joe on what would have been a long touchdown.
The recent history of concussions at the quarterback position provides a sobering reality for the Longhorns, however, as David Ash never recovered from the concussion that he suffered against BYU in 2013 when combined with another hit against Kansas State in his return and a final blow taken in the opener against North Texas last year.
Concussions impact different players in different ways, but the Texas coaches will have to consider the long-term risk when deciding whether to play Heard in a meaningless game, assuming that Heard receives clearance from the medical staff at all, which is hardly a given.
If Swoopes does start, he'll be the first quarterback to start and finish the season for Texas since 2010 -- now there's a sobering stat.