April 15, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard is making progress in the quarterback competition with returning starter Tyrone Swoopes.

''Tyrone is doing really well,'' coach Charlie Strong said Wednesday. ''Jerrod has taken just tremendous steps in the last week or so. He's really closed the gap.''

Spring practice ends Saturday with the Orange-White scrimmage.

Swoopes, a junior, started 12 games last season after David Ash was lost to a head injury suffered in the opener. Swoopes was erratic and received much of the criticism from fans for an offense that struggled badly during a 6-7 season. Swoopes finished with 2,409 yards passing, 13 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a completion rate of 58.3 percent.

Swoopes had five turnovers in a crushing home loss to TCU to end the regular season. The Longhorns managed just 59 total yards in a blowout loss to Arkansas in the Texas Bowl in Houston.

Now both quarterbacks will receive snaps with the first-team offense Saturday. Strong said Heard is well-suited to the new spread offense the Longhorns have installed.

''He's so athletic, very light on his feet,'' Strong said. ''If pressure is coming to him, he's a guy who can get himself away from the rush and create plays on the perimeter. Where he has made a tremendous improvement is throwing the football. He's hitting the open receivers, finding the open receivers, making the correct checks. He's so much more comfortable.''

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