With Texas Longhorns set to start junior Tyrone Swoopes at quarterback on Saturday against the Baylor Bears and redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard not likely to see action, the Horns are considering taking drastic measures.
The only other two scholarship quarterbacks on campus are freshmen Kai Locksley and Matthew Merrick, both of whom are currently redshirting this season. However, that could change on Saturday, as play caller Jay Norvell said Tuesday that the team is preparing both of those players to see action on Saturday.
Head coach Charlie Strong and company don't want to risk further head trauma with Heard, who suffered a concussion last week against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. So even though Heard was cleared to practice by the team's medical staff, he almost certainly won't see the field in Waco.
In discussing the possibility of burning the redshirt of one of those freshman quarterbacks in a meaningless game, Norvell admitted that the logic of it doesn't pass a particularly high level of scrutiny.
"It's not ideal," Norvell said. "That's something that we'll look at, but they are here on scholarship and if it comes to that that's a decision we'll have to make when we do that. It's not something you'd like to do in this situation at this point in the season, but those are some of the decisions that we're going to have to make."
If something does happen to Swoopes, the other options are walk ons Skip Holtz and Logan Vinklarek. Neither one has seen meaningful game action for Texas, but using them to protect the redshirts of Locksley and Merrick would make a tremendous amount of sense for the Longhorns.
Both Locksley and Merrick were known as relatively raw prospects out of high school, but for different reasons -- Locksley played in run-heavy offense and spent time at wide receiver, while Merrick primarily focused on basketball until his junior season.
Seeing either in game action would provide some valuable insight into their current level of development, but that knowledge isn't worth a season of lost eligibility.
Texas didn't benefit from burning the redshirt of Swoopes in 2013 and wouldn't benefit from burning the redshirt on Locksley or Merrick this year, either.