Entering last weekend, the last time Tyrone Swoopes had played in a live game -- not including the Longhorns' spring game this year -- he was facing a 2A Texas high school football team.
But, as Swoopes told his coaches on the sidelines, his experience facing TCU last Saturday was much different than his experience facing high school defenses while he was playing for Whitewright.
"Are you nervous?" co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite asked Swoopes before the final drive of the Longhorns' 30-7 win over the Horned Frogs and the first of Swoopes' college career.
"Yeah," Swoopes responded.
"Well that's good because I'd be ticked off if you weren't," Applewhite said. "You should be nervous. This is Texas. You're playing quarterback as a freshman so you ought to be."
Swoopes was on the field for eight snaps, handing it off five times and running it himself the other three plays. His first run went for eight yards and a first down while his last two carries came on pass plays for losses of three and seven yards.
"The first one that he had, he could have dumped it but it would have been a catch and a hit. I thought he was right to take off," Applewhite said. "He made a good decision there. On the second one he should have shot the ball but we wanted to do something safe. At that point in the game, we felt it was out of hand and we didn't want to take shots down the field."
Junior David Ash, the team's unquestioned starting quarterback coming into the year who has not played since last month's win over Kansas State, will miss his fourth straight game when Texas hosts Kansas this Saturday.
Senior Case McCoy has filled in admirably in Ash's absence but if he goes down with an injury as well, the keys to the offense will be handed to Swoopes. How much playing time Swoopes will see against Kansas, a four-touchdown underdog against Texas this week, remains to be seen.
"Texas' backup quarterback is the most talked-about player in the history of Texas football," Texas head coach Mack Brown. "If Case sprained an ankle today walking over here, Tyrone would have needed to be the starter."
McCoy threw for 228 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions on 9-for-19 passing against TCU, leading Texas to its fourth straight victory. He was impressed with Swoopes' performance last Saturday as well.
"He's got everything that you would want in a quarterback," McCoy said. "He's big, he's fast. The thing I'm impressed by Tyrone so far, he's been in my ear. He wants to know, he wants to learn the game. For a guy like that, I mean, I couldn't think of a better way to spend a freshman year."