On Saturday morning, the Texas Longhorns held the second scrimmage of fall camp and head coach Charlie Strong reiterated that he won’t publicly name a winner in the quarterback competition between freshman Shane Buechele and senior Tyrone Swoopes.
However, Strong did say that he will tell the team and that he and offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert are on the same page right now. In fact, the Longhorns head coach “kinda knows” who the starter will be on September 4 against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
With both quarterbacks reportedly making some good plays, the guess here is still that Buechele will get the start in Austin and Swoopes will again operate the 18-Wheeler package.
In positive injury news for Texas, Smash Brothers D’Onta Foreman and Chris Warren both participated in the scrimmage and made some plays, according to Strong. Both players sat out the scrimmage last week with minor injuries.
At center, freshman starter Zach Shackelford is still working back from his ankle injury, with the head coach putting him at about 60 percent right now. However, Strong is hoping to get Shack Attack “back up to pace next week.”
In his absence, sophomore Jake McMillon continues to take the reps at center and it doesn’t appear that sophomore offensive guard Patrick Vahe or freshman offensive lineman Denzel Okafor have gotten any work at the position — the staff seems confident in McMillon holding things down until Shackelford returns.
Unfortunately, Strong didn’t sound optimistic that would happen this week, which would mean a potential return during game week.
At right tackle, junior Tristan Nickelson is still out, with Okafor, junior Brandon Hodges, and freshman Jean Delance all getting reps at the position. All buzz points to Okafor as the leader in that group.
Strong expects Nickelson to return to practice in the coming days, but there is not currently a timetable for junior wide receiver Lorenzo Joe, who has a hamstring issue.
The latest addition to the team, freshman linebacker Erick Fowler, did not scrimmage on Saturday and will start out at inside linebacker instead of Fox end, an interesting development, but one that makes sense because of increased depth at the hybrid position due to the move of sophomore Breckyn Hager and the fact that freshman Malcolm Roach is starting out there before a potential move to the strong side.
Both should play get playing time early in the season behind junior Naashon Hughes, the multi-year starter at the position.
The move of redshirt freshman quarterback Kai Locksley to wide receiver could be imminent, as he’s been working at punt returner in addition to taking reps behind center. Tellingly, Strong noted that Locksley has good hands.
Senior wide receiver Jacorey Warrick is the current favorite to replace Daje Johnson and received a substantial amount of praise from his head coach despite failing to make an impact during his first three seasons.
The last quarterback to move to wide receiver for the ‘Horns, sophomore Jerrod Heard, is already making an impact at the position:
Strong said Heard caught a deep ball for a touchdown and had a really good scrimmage: "he's so athletic ... he made a ton of plays today"— Ezra Siegel (@SiegelEzra) August 20, 2016
One of the plays was a 50-yard touchdown. Based on video and images emerging from practice, that’s not a surprise. Strong also mentioned the possibility of a package of plays for Heard at quarterback, which should give the Fighting Irish something to think about.