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Longhorns want (and need) more competition at quarterback

Another poor performance by Tyrone Swoopes has once again returned a familiar instability to the position.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

After the 48-10 massacre of the Texas Longhorns by the TCU Horned Frogs, head coach Charlie Strong looked as dejected as he has all season.

His body language leaving the podium was similar to that of sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, who looked as bad as he has all season in turning the ball over five times. His fumble was returned for the first TCU touchdown, while his final interception resulted in the last score for the Horned Frogs.

In assessing Swoopes' performance after the game, Strong hardly guaranteed his starting position moving forward.

"You always have to recruit to every position," Strong said. "You make sure you recruit. But with Tyrone, it wasn't his night..."

The Longhorns have New Mexico quarterback Zach Gentry coming in and just recently took a flyer on likely grayshirt Matthew Merrick of Irving Cistercian. Did the words of the head coach suggest that the Longhorns will pursue a graduate transfer or junior college quarterback with Swoopes and redshirting freshman Jerrod Heard the only options currently on campus?

One thing for certain -- Strong wants more bodies there.

"Competition's gonna help [him] with confidence... Right now there's not somebody else to go compete with."

Of course, with the deep valleys currently experienced with the sophomore, the simple fact of having other options would be a major change for the team, even if it doesn't spark a steeper developmental curve for the raw Swoopes.

Had it not been so late in the season, it sounded like Heard might have gotten his shot.

"We thought about that but it's your last game of the season so it's one of those points where we needed to settle him down and we never got him settled down," Strong said. "You've got to carry yourself in a different way and have an attitude about that."

At some point during the game, Strong engaged in an animated conversation with his young quarterback. But the performance on the field might not have been the biggest concern -- Strong mentioned how Swoopes carried himself several times in his post-game press conference, noting that the quarterback has to maintain a positive demeanor.

Much like former quarterback David Ash, Swoopes can be a quiet, conscientious kid who gets down on himself. He's not overflowing with confidence. And like Ash early in his career, when things go wrong early, the Whitewright product has problems getting himself into the game mentally and believing that he can turn things around.

Until he can learn those skills, he's not going to be able to overcome adversity, a circumstance that would severely cap his significant ceiling.

More than that, Swoopes doesn't seem to be inspiring much confidence in his head coach right now.

There's going to be a quarterback competition in the spring. Can Swoopes grow? Will Heard prove he's ready? Will there be another player in the equation.

Lacking answers at the position isn't exactly an unfamiliar position for the Texas program. It just needs to become unfamiliar before the Horns can return to former success.

The performance by Swoopes on Thanksgiving suggested Texas isn't any closer to finding one.