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Have You Heard? Texas Has, And OSU Better Be Ready

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I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it looks like Texas finally has itself a quarterback.  

Jerrod Heard, a redshirt freshman from Denton, Texas, might be the savior whom Longhorn fans have coveted since the departure of Colt McCoy.

Coach Charlie Strong inserted Heard into Texas’ week-two matchup against Rice. Heard proceeded to fry Rice for 216 total yards and a pair of passing touchdowns, and in the process cemented his place as the Horns’ new starter. Heard followed that up by passing for 364 yards and rushing for 163 yards and three scores in Texas’ heartbreaking one-point loss to Cal.

Heard led the Horns back from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit on Saturday only to have kicker Nick Rose push his extra point to the right with just seconds remaining. But despite the loss, UT finding a QB of the future is a more important big-picture story.

That future starts on Saturday when Texas hosts Oklahoma State at 2:30 p.m. What looked like a virtual bye week less than a month ago now could go either way, simply because OSU has a whole new puzzle to solve.

"It changes your rush lanes and your contain lanes a little bit,” coach Mike Gundy said. “At times, you have to have somebody responsible for him. He's obviously very active. We haven't gotten that far, though. We just got started. By the middle of the week, we'll have a plan in place. We'll do everything we can to try and contain him and try to limit some of the big runs and big plays that he's been able to get."

The term “duel-threat quarterback” isn’t quite enough to describe Heard. OSU's J.W. Walsh is a duel threat. Heard is more than that. He's NFL fast, and could give the Pokes fits if he escapes into the open field. The Cowboys could implement a QB spy to try and inhibit Heard from taking off, but it comes with risks.

"What's scary about this situation is that you could have it all right, you could have that extra guy, but it's always tough to have that extra guy,” defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. “If you're trying to have an extra guy for the quarterback, than you're giving up something else. There are no guarantees that you can make a play, which is scary. The guy can beat you at any time. He could make you look foolish."

Safety Tre Flowers believes that the Cowboys’ best stop at thwarting Heard is to lock up the Longhorn receivers. The Horns have only completed 33 passes in three games, but they sure do get their money’s worth.  Six UT receivers are averaging 10 or more yards per catch, including John Burt, who is averaging more than 30.

“I just try to get a lock on my man to give Emmanuel (Ogbah) and Jimmy (Bean) enough time to get there,” Flowers said. “I know that if they get a hold of (Heard), he’s not going to be moving that fast at all.”

The Cowboys have won three straight in Austin, but the fourth might be harder than expected.

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