On Thursday, Texas Longhorns offensive coordinator Tim Beck shot down speculation that junior wide receiver Jerrod Heard could see time at quarterback this spring:
New Texas OC Tim Beck says Jerrod Heard will not initially get a trial at QB pic.twitter.com/Eh7UjWBKPd— ANTHONY GERONIMO (@ATXANT10) February 16, 2017
That doesn’t necessarily mean that Beck and head coach Tom Herman won’t experiment in getting the ball to the former quarterback in creative ways — merely that Heard will spend his time working on his skills at receiver instead of moving back to quarterback.
The addition of early enrollee Sam Ehlinger means that there are only three scholarship quarterbacks on campus for the spring, a group that also includes incumbent starter Shane Buechele and fellow sophomore Matthew Merrick.
In 2015, Heard started 10 games at quarterback, including his record-setting performance against Cal that sparked nation-wide buzz about his potential.
However, the former Denton Guyer standout showed inconsistency in multiple areas of his game and eventually fell behind Buechele and Tyrone Swoopes last spring, in part because of a shoulder injury that caused him to miss roughly half of the practices during that time period.
As a result, the 6’3, 201-pounder quietly began working out at wide receiver during the summer, eventually going to former head coach Charlie Strong and asking for a position change early in fall camp.
Heard got off to a quick start at his new position, recording a 68-yard catch in the season opener against Notre Dame, then scoring two touchdowns against UTEP.
Unfortunately, his impact decreased quickly — he had only one catch of 21 yards or more after the second game, didn’t play against Baylor, and didn’t make an impact other than his 37-yard touchdown catch against Iowa State.
During this offseason, Heard has spent time working out with a Dallas-area trainer in hopes of playing a larger role in the offense this season.
At a crowded position that lost only Jacorey Warrick and Jake Oliver from last season, there are no guarantees that Heard will be able to fulfill the potential that he flashed only briefly during his sophomore season.
A new coaching staff and a fresh start may help, however, as well as full reps at the position during the spring for the first time in his career.
And stay on the lookout for Heard to get some opportunities in a more diverse role under Beck and Herman.