Just about a year ago, Texas Longhorns quarterback Tyrone Swoopes became the starter and the only healthy scholarship quarterback the coaches were willing to put on the field.
Now, he's the starter after winning a competition against Jerrod Heard, the redshirt freshman who just wasn't ready to push Swoopes enough last year for there to be any question about expending a season of eligibility to forcibly induce that much-needed competition and couldn't overcome the experience gained by Swoopes last year as a starter.
In any such fierce battle, there's a risk of the loser ruining team chemistry with a bad attitude. Not the case this fall for the Horns, says assistant head coach for offense/quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson:
The thing that's really gratifying for me is both of those guys are each other's best ally, best friend. They help each other out; they push each other. They love competing with one another. When somebody makes a big play, the first guy down there is whoever was out. If Jerrod did it, Tyrone is there. If Tyrone did it, Jerrod is there. Those guys have been really supportive of each other and have enjoyed the competition.
Unless Watson is completely fabricating things here -- and there's no reason to think that he is -- what he's saying is that the Texas quarterback competition is elevating both players and perhaps even providing the program with an opportunity to reverse the longstanding issues at the game's most important position.
After the last five seasons, even cautious optimism at quarterback for Texas seems like a big investment, but some cautious optimism would feel kinda nice, wouldn't it?