Texas mislaid a conflict yet won a war, descending 45-44 to Cal on a home margin on Saturday yet anticipating wish in a form of beginner quarterback Jerrod Heard.
Heard finished 20 of 31 passes for 364 yards, rushed for 163 yards and 3 touchdowns and makeshift in ways that gave Longhorns fans visions of former quarterback Vince Young.
Even yet it came opposite Cal, a invulnerability that final year ranked No. 108 in a nation on Football Outsiders’ SP+ ratings, Heard’s opening felt important. He willed a Longhorns behind from a 14-point fourth-quarter necessity and would have forced overtime if not for a missed additional indicate in a final minute.
“I’m vehement by a offense, yet it’s negated by how a invulnerability is playing,” conduct manager Charlie Strong told a Longhorn Network after a game.
At this point, many Texas fans will take it.
Heard came to Texas after heading Guyer High School to back-to-back 4A D-I Texas State Championships.
He was bred to be a Longhorns’ starting quarterback and entered open stay as a favorite to replace starter Tyrone Swoopes, who struggled final deteriorate while Heard schooled a offense and took a redshirt.
But Heard couldn’t pass Swoopes all offseason, and solemnly fans began to review meaningful tea leaves. If Swoopes has all these flaws, and Heard can’t win a starting pursuit over him, how many flaws contingency Heard have?!
But maybe Heard is only a “game” quarterback—the form who struggles on a use margin yet shines underneath splendid lights. That would align him with another Texas high school-turned-college fable whose diversion his happens to resemble: Johnny Manziel.
Replacing Swoopes with Heard flushed a group with a opposite energy. The offense was quick and confident. Players flew into open space and shredded holes. They seemed like they were personification football instead of thinking about personification football.
Cooper Neill/Getty Images
They looked like they were out there carrying fun.
Even if personification Cal arrogant Heard’s stats, or if he simply played a best diversion of his life, his presentation shone light on a dour situation. The Longhorns demoted Shawn Watson off play-calling duties after gaining 163 yards in Week 1 and afterwards “fired” jaunty executive Steve Patterson (who technically resigned) one week later.
The partial of Longhorns fans that looked brazen to examination games had been smothered by a three-game widen opposite TCU, Arkansas and Notre Dame in that a offense averaged 3.1 yards per play and a group mislaid by a total measure of 117-20.
Game days with Swoopes felt some-more like carrying 9 a.m. chem lab than a reason to tailgate.
Now during slightest there’s something to demeanour brazen to.
Texas lost, yet with Patterson out and Heard in, a mood should be extremely improved in Austin. Artisanal pickles for all.
— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) September 20, 2015
Texas has depressed distant a past half-decade. It succumbed to a group that has mislaid 27 games a past 3 seasons, and it still feels like a day was a net positive. This is not a same module that done a 2010 BCS National Championship Game.
But we can’t go from 2015 Texas to mid-2000s Texas in one neat swoop. Restoring a module takes time. Texas’ unequaled stake accelerates that timeline, yet still it takes time. You have to reconstruct a register square by piece.
The biggest square on Texas’ roster, as with many rosters, is a quarterback. Prior to Saturday, it didn’t consider it had one. After Saturday, it’s flattering certain it does.
Hope can’t be distant behind.
Brian Leigh covers college football for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @BLeigh35