Longhorns see Swoopes’ future in backfield

Michael Shapiro

Texas saw former quarterback Tyrone Swoopes in a new position on Saturday, as the senior shifted from his patented 18-wheeler package to the backfield as a designated running back. 

Swoopes didn’t fare too well in his new role against Baylor, carrying the ball for just seven yards on seven attempts. And on one ill-advised play, the Whitewright product fumbled a snap with defenders in his face, almost turning the ball over to Baylor.

But offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert still sees Swoopes as a prime candidate to take carries when junior D’Onta Foreman is on the bench. Foreman has rushed the ball nearly 25 times per game in 2016, running over 30 times in two contests.

“We understand with [Foreman’s] carries what can happen to his body,” Gilbert said. “This is an opportunity to give him a breather, and put the ball in the hands of a guy who’s had game experience before.”

The Longhorns’ play-caller noted Swoopes’ comfortability with carrying the ball given his history of success in the 18-wheeler. Swoopes had 12 rushing touchdowns in the package in 2015, and has notched six through eight games this year.

Foreman praised Swoopes’ natural ability at the running back position. Listed at just under 250 pounds, Swoopes is every bit the bruiser Foreman is, displaying the ability to run over defenders with ease. Despite his lack of experience, Forema seems confident in Swoopes’ ability to produce when he comes out of the game. 

“At times [Swoopes] runs more physical than I do,” Foreman said. “He can get out to the open field and outrun people. I’m really excited to see what he’s gonna do.”