Please view the Arkansas bowl debacle as a gift. A torturous, horrific, beautiful gift.
Disasters, as painful as they are, provide clarity. From Cannae to Dien Bien Phu to Gigli. It's up to us to receive their message.
That Texas Bowl performance reconfirmed the negatives we saw from Tyrone Swoopes against functioning defenses and revealed that the book on how to defend him is now a pamphlet. A freshman David Ash used his bowl game against Cal to foreshadow an effective sophomore season; a sophomore Tyrone Swoopes used his showcase to demonstrate a significant regression. While it's not inconceivable that Swoopes could one day become a functional QB with the proper nurturing and guidance and a thorough psychological and mental overhaul (and an OL and a running game), if that realization is three or four years away, the point is moot. Strong will be on his way out and we'll be lost in the wilderness. Rebuilds take time, but Texas is in the now business. Tyrone is in the Might Be business. More likely, Never Will.
Had Swoopes played an up and down game in a close loss with fourth quarter rally (say, three turnovers paired with 260 yards passing and a 50 yard scramble) it might have provided the very glimmer of hope we don't need. We might imagine that a corner is about to be turned. And we'd find ourselves on a reduced Logan Thomas plan at Virginia Tech - eternally waiting for a physically gifted athlete to finally come into his own when his deficiencies are hard-wired. The more entrenched that QB becomes, the harder to make the switch.
Clarity - even in the negative - is always a gift. Particularly if it calls you to action.
We've been called to action. Texas needs a quarterback.
I loved Jerrod Heard in high school, but putting all of your eggs into one unknown redshirt freshman basket is exactly how the Mack Brown era came apart. We need competition, we need experience and we need a depth chart that competes rather than coronates.
Texas needs a JUCO or a graduate transfer. Either to act as a bridge to the next program-recruited starter while Heard and Gentry develop or to act as a solid back-up to press Heard into his full potential and win games in relief when Heard has his freshman moments.
Let's talk about possible candidates. I'm not interested in players who have to sit out a year. This list isn't exhaustive, but may be a decent starting point for conversation.
Jeff Driskel (La Tech), JUCO Chad Kelly (Ole Miss) and UAB QB Cody Clements (South Alabama) are off the board. Thank God on Driskel and it might be too bad on Clements and Kelly.
Braxton Miller- Ohio State
He's the Golden Ticket (don't worry Urban has a plan to play all three of his QBs!), but it's unlikely he'd want to come to Texas given his incompatibility with our offensive system and our staff's lack of a relationship with him. Our best shot is if Miller wants a pro-style offense to maximize his draft chances but there are better choices than Texas given the uncertainty of 2015's performance. We'd have to sell him on hope where other programs can sell him on substance. If he wants to double down on what makes him special, he should head to Oregon. If he wants NFL-style tutelage in an established system, I'd advise Duke or FSU.
Kevin Hogan - Stanford
While he hasn't yet announced formally for transfer, the Stanford graduate clashed with David Shaw over his conservative offense and had the unenviable task of replacing Andrew Luck - arguably the most gifted QB walking the planet. The rumor mill is running hard and fast that he wants out and would like a show case for his wares. While imperfect - and possessing a slow release that Shaun Watson could help him with - Hogan is a proven competitor with good athletic ability and a live arm. He has 48 touchdowns to 21 career interceptions, won a Rose Bowl, started 30+ games and has a career QB rating around 145. Yet people treat him as if he's chopped liver. He's not. He's also a sneaky running threat who isn't afraid of contact. He's an upgrade and wouldn't be particularly terrified taking a snap from under center in South Bend next year. He's roughly comparable to a sophomore David Ash, but with veteran experience. That's a significant upgrade from Swoopes. He could help us. Now forward him this post immediately and get the illegal contacts started.
Daniel Fitzwater - Copiah Community College
The 6-5, 225 pound pro style QB fits the Watson mold and he's one of the better regarded JUCO QBs in a fairly weak national class. He also has two years of experience in JUCO ball. He should be able to compete from the get-go. Texas has been in contact with him, but I don't know how frequently or how hard we're pursuing. I watched some film and he's not particularly fleet of foot but far from a statue and he throws a nice ball deep and is accurate on the half roll. The arm is there and he has some skills. He looks the part, but his composure, intelligence and gameness are unknown. Sometimes he stares down receivers like I look at Heidi Klum.
Trent Hosick - Arizona JUCO
The former Mizzou signee went JUCO and committed to BYU, but is now exploring his options. Hosick is a thickly built dual threat QB with great athleticism and strength. He's an unpolished passer - sort of a poor man's Taysom Hill - and while he may not be ideally suited to Watson's desired offense, beggars can't be choosers. A dual threat option might actually be the band aid our offense needs in the running game and to compensate for imperfect pass protection. I see Hosick as a pure spread operator who would excel most in an Urban Meyer/Dan Mullen style option attack. Don't really see this happening.
Jake Hubenak- Blinn
The pocket passer from Blinn tore it up this year in the JUCO ranks after transferring from Oklahoma State as a preferred walk-on where he found himself on the short end of the depth chart battles there. Hubenak is a spread QB in the Josh Heupel mode, beating defenses with his brain and superior ball placement rather than raw physical ability. He's also playing in a JUCO league where defense isn't exactly dominating. Still, you can't help but notice the composure and his ability to make the correct throw to the right spot. You can see that there's something there, right?
The Georgetown product is a Texas fan and would jump at the chance to come here. Wickline was at OSU when Hubenak was there and there's little doubt his opinion will weigh in our decision. The question is whether Hubenak was unfairly discounted by college recruiters for good reason (lack of arm, measurables, high school spread creation) or because he missed his junior season before leading Georgetown to the state title game as a senior and they didn't want to revisit their assumptions? College recruiters do suffer from remarkable groupthink, but it's also groupthink that falling from a ten story building is bad for your health. Some groupthink is pretty sound. I admit, I'm intrigued by Hubenak and there's a divorce between what I can clearly see on his JUCO and high school film and how he has been treated in the recruiting process and Stillwater. So what's the deal here?
David Watford - Virginia
Virginia's version of Tyrone Swoopes started in 2013, but was relegated to back-up status in 2014, largely for being an athletically gifted player with horrible judgement as the offense fell apart around him. He wants out. Does he materially improve our football team? Probably not at QB.
Happy to hear your thoughts and explore other options.