Texas receiver Lorenzo Joe played only one snap on offense in the Longhorns’ first five games: a 21-yard touchdown catch a blowout loss to TCU. But the sophomore turned that opportunity into a strong week of practice and his first career start against Oklahoma, where he rose to the occasion as a downfield blocker who sprung one touchdown run and might’ve saved another. Joe caught up with ESPN.com this week to discuss his rise as a new unsung hero in Texas’ offense.
You played just one snap before the Oklahoma game. How excited were you to get that start?
Lorenzo Joe: Oh yeah, it was a lot of fun to go out there and start a big game like that. It was great to go out there and get a win against OU. Great team win. I could care less if I was starting or not. No matter what, I’ll support the guys and whoever’s playing. To actually go out and contribute felt good.
Before the season opener, Texas coaches left your name off the depth chart and you took offense to that on Twitter. What’d you learn from that?
Joe: It was a selfish tweet on my part when I tweeted that. But I really had to let it go. I’ve always been the type of guy that’s always kept a positive attitude, and that’s what I’ve had to do this whole year. Just keep a positive attitude and wait on my opportunity and take advantage when it’s given to me.
Was the frustration that you put in a lot of work and felt like it was going unnoticed?
Joe: We’ve all come out here to compete, but it’s Coach’s decision. We go out there and work everyday. They felt like those guys were working hard. I just use it as motivation this whole year. No matter who’s playing, we’ll all support each other and compete.
Your first touchdown came in a 50-7 loss to TCU. Could you even get excited about that?
Joe: I was excited to get my first touchdown, but that really wasn’t my favorite. My favorite play was actually when Marcus [Johnson] scored that first touchdown on OU, especially in a big game like that. He did a great job of stiff-arming that first guy and tight-roping it down the sideline. I kind of shielded off No. 7 [Jordan Thomas] and he squeezed through there. That was probably my favorite play all year.
And then you recovered the Tyrone Swoopes fumble in the end zone later to save a touchdown. Think you deserved some credit for that in the box score?
Joe: Everybody keeps on wondering if I got the credit or not for that touchdown. I don’t know. I don’t care. We got the win. That’s all I’m worried about. At first everything kind of stopped because I saw the ref throw up 'Touchdown,' I saw Tyrone celebrating, but then I saw an OU player kept running for it. So I’m like, ‘Hey, if he’s going for it I might as well try to chase it too.’ I picked it up just to make sure.
Jerrod Heard seems to be your best friend on the team. How fun has it been to watch him get his shot this season?
Joe: We’re always together, 24/7, so that’s my boy. It’s been awesome. Throughout the recruiting process we went to a lot of camps together and we got to compete. To see him grow and mature and become the quarterback he’s become, it’s pretty awesome.
As a receiver, it probably doesn’t hurt to have the quarterback be your best friend, right?
Joe: Yeah, I guess not. It’s always good to be friends with the quarterback.