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Texas coach Charlie Strong delivered some stunning news out of Austin this Labor Day morning. The Longhorns' starting quarterback, David Ash, began suffering concussion-like symptoms late Saturday night after Texas' 38-7 win over North Texas and will definitely not play on Saturday when Texas plays host to BYU. Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m. MDT and the game will be televised nationally by Fox Sports 1. Obviously, it is horrible news for Ash, who suffered a concussion against BYU in last year's 40-21 loss in Provo and was undoubtedly looking forward for his shot at revenge. Strong said the starter will be Tyrone Swoopes, a 6-foot-4, 243-pound sophomore. "You look at Tyrone, he's big and physical," Strong said. "If he ever gets on the perimeter, he'll look like Taysom Hill from BYU." In a development that may impact the game as much as Ash's absence, Strong said WR/RB Daje Johnson and safety Josh Turner will also miss the game because they are suspended. Desmond Harrison, an OT, will play. So UT will be without its starting quarterback and starting center, because senior Dom Espinosa fractured an ankle against NT and is done for the year.
You can't blame BYU fans if they don't get real excited about the prospects of facing a backup QB; Two years ago, they were blistered by Oregon State backup Cody Vaz in a 42-28 loss to the Beavers when Sean Mannion was hurt. They also lost to Utes and Brett Ratliff when Brian Johnson couldn't go.
Meanwhile, the Cougars are expected to welcome back all five guys who were suspended against UConn: Jamaal Williams, Marques Johnson, Devon Blackmon, Jordan Johnson and Robertson Daniel. Strong alluded to Williams' return when I asked him about Taysom Hill's improvement in the Big 12 coaches teleconference earlier Monday. "He's a Heisman candidate, so he has improved. He is so competitive. That offense goes as he goes. They didn't have their running back Williams, but you just look at it, they didn't miss a beat, because he is able to get them in the right plays. He runs the ball so well, he gets them in their offense. He has done an unbelievable job, is a really, really good football player," Strong said. Strong opened the teleconference by repeating what he said after Saturday's game: He's looking forward to the showdown on Saturday with Hill and BYU. "BYU is a team that beat us last year, and beat us very good on the road. I have a lot of respect for Bronco Mendenhall. Just looking forward to the matchup," he said. Later, when he was asked about Texas' defense getting complacent after its overwhelming performance against North Texas, Strong said there's no way that happens with BYU coming to town. "You can't be satisfied. You can't allow our players to be satisfied," he said. "They won't be satisfied with this team [BYU] because last year they rushed for 550 yards, so not much has to be said."