The long-anticipated and much-discussed move of Texas Longhorns sophomore quarterback Jerrod Heard to wide receiver finally happened during portions of Monday’s practice, according to multiple reports.
The news that Heard spent time at wide receiver during 1-on-1, 7-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills at wide receiver comes about three weeks after head coach Charlie Strong denied rumors and speculation that the third-year player would transition to a pass-catching role while at Big 12 Media Days in July.
“You’re going to always need those quarterbacks because you never know what’s going to happen,” Strong said. “So right now Jerrod is at quarterback and he’s just a little bit behind because of what happened to him in the spring with his injury.”
But Heard only spent two days of practice — both made available to the media — at quarterback before keeping his black no-contact jersey while working with the wide receivers.
He reportedly made a few plays and could even be in line for some action on trick plays in addition to serving as the third-string quarterback.
The desire to use Heard in a role reminiscent of former Pittsburgh Steelers standout Kordell Stewart makes sense since he’s been wearing gloves at quarterback during the first two practice and has enough athleticism and quarterbacking ability to credibly do both in a situational package, while still remaining the emergency option at quarterback behind senior Tyrone Swoopes and presumptive starter Shane Buechele, the true freshman.
A comfort level throwing with the football with gloves would suggest that one of the reasons for adopting the gloves could be to allow him to get on the field without tipping off which position he would be playing.
So expect some trick plays and a special package for Heard this fall from offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, in addition to Texas using Swoopes in the 18-Wheeler package and perhaps even on the type of throwback play that the ‘Horns not-so-subtly displayed to fans on Sunday.
As for cracking the depth chart at the talent-laden position, the transfer of Ryan Newsome, likely medical redshirt for Ty Templin, and indefinite suspension of DeAndre McNeal have opened up some opportunities.
And now the coaching staff is putting Heard in a position to take advantage of those opportunities.