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Charlie Strong: Both Texas QBs will play against Notre Dame

Managing a two-quarterback system to start the season would represent a significant challenge for the Longhorns staff.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe it doesn't matter that much that Texas Longhorns quarterback Tyrone Swoopes will open with the first team when practice begins. Maybe it doesn't matter that much who takes the first snap against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on September 5.

After all, head coach Charlie Strong said during his whirlwind session of interviews with ESPN this week that both quarterbacks will play against the Fighting Irish.

"I'm not going to play musical chairs with them," Strong said. "They both are going to play. When we line up in South Bend, whoever is going to start, the other guy is going to play also."

The key for Texas will be in finding a balance -- if Strong doesn't want to play musical chairs, he has to decide how often the two will switch.

If Swoopes wins the job in fall camp, as seems likely given that all reports out of summer workouts indicate that he's still in front of redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard, then when does Heard come in? Does Swoopes get two or three series before his younger counterpart enters the game? If Strong doesn't want to play musical chairs with them, to what extent will the rotation tie into on-field performance? How long will the competition continue if one plays better than the other on national television against a high-quality opponent?

There are plenty of questions about the mechanics of Strong's plan, as well as the old adage that if you have two quarterbacks, you don't have one.

If there's one benefit to the idea, it's in allowing both players an opportunity to receive game reps -- as popular as the back-up quarterback can become in Austin, since Swoopes and Heard will have a chance to win the job on the field, there won't be any mythologizing of the passer that doesn't start.

The two will put it on the line in the national spotlight and the better quarterback will emerge with a strong chance to secure the starting job moving forward.

In Charlie Strong's meritocracy, it's a plan that makes sense, even if it won't always be easy to manage.