https://www.hornsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ash_wesuspw.jpg Texas quarterback David Ash led the Longhorns to a victory in the Holiday Bowl against Cal. Credit:Â Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE
Projected Starter:Â David Ash
Project 2nd string:Â Case McCoy
Reserves:Â Jalen Overstreet, Connor Brewer
This is the first installment of my series of articles where I will be breaking down the positions all across the board for the 2012 Longhorn football team.
Thereâ€™s no question that every UT fan is expecting to see growth and improvements from projected starter David Ash. Last season he passed for just 1,079 yards, with 4 tdâ€™s and 8 interceptions, and struggled in every single game. But in defense of Ash, he wasnâ€™t supposed to be thrust into the starting role. Realistically he wasnâ€™t even supposed to be the back up. In a perfect world Ash would be a redshirt freshman this season continuing to learn the offense in the comfort of a back up role to former quarterback Garret Gilbert. But hey, this isnâ€™t a perfect world, we all know what happened with Gilbert, and no other school cares about UT and itâ€™s quarterback troubles so the Longhorns must move on and improve.
Once Garret was sidelined David Ash was thrust onto the field in a rotation with Case McCoy and that was that for the rest of the 2011 season. Each game I kept waiting to see if Ash would play well enough to insert himself as the lone starter of the offense. And each game the QB rotation continued to be used because neither Ash, nor McCoy played well enough to claim the starting role for himself. This season, if things go according to plan, Ash will be the starter. And there is a lot to like about him. He has good size, is athletic enough to move around in the pocket, and up field when he needs to (emphasis on â€œwhen he needs toâ€ because I want to see him make more plays with his arm rather than bailing on the play early and using his legs), and he seems like a tough competitor.
On the other hand he clearly has much to show and improve on. Last season he often locked onto one receiver the entire play, which made it incredibly easy and predictable for opposing defenses to figure out where he was throwing the ball. He also struggled with accuracy and timing on his throws, though he does have decent arm strength. But many of the weaknesses and mistakes he made last year have a lot to do with the fact that Ash was a freshman. And I canâ€™t stress that enough. HE WAS A TRUE FRESHMAN. I donâ€™t care what high school you played for or how many stars you have as a national recruit, anytime any athlete moves up in level of play there is always a period of time where the athlete is adjusting to the new game speed and increased difficulty and complexity of the game. Well, this is exactly what has happened with Ash and will continue to happen this season as he adjusts to game more and it all slows down for him.
David Ash should be the starter opening day and remain the starter unless he loses the job himself. He has many more tools and much more potential than Case McCoy. With this entire off-season to work with his receivers and get the starters reps (or at least many, many more reps than he had last off season) his accuracy and timing should undoubtedly improve. On top of that, another year with Harsinâ€™s new offense will only be a plus and I fully expect Harsin to show off more of his mad scientist play calling as Ash becomes more familiar with the calls and reads. I also fully expect for Ash to insert himself as a leader. This aspect has to improve, and I think it will as he makes more plays and becomes more comfortable with the offense and the players he is working with.
As for McCoy and the two freshmanâ€¦
Case McCoy is a very poor manâ€™s Colt McCoy, plain and simple. He shows some flashes of his brother with his feel for the game and his attitude on the field. But he simply lacks the arm strength and size to compete with Ash for the starting job. I love him as a back up and Iâ€™m glad he hasnâ€™t transferred but I donâ€™t expect him to be the starter unless something goes wrong with David Ash.
Donâ€™t even get me started with Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet. They are freshman. If you think either of them should be the starter then just stop. Brewer will most likely get a red-shirt, and he should, end of story. I know that many fans are excited about Jalen but I doubt he sees the field at all, unless he shows enough this off-season to grant him a small package of plays in some type of â€œwild hornâ€ formation. Otherwise I expect both of those guys to be reserves and soak in as much as they can as they watch from the sidelines.
It will be an interesting year to say the least. I donâ€™t think the success of the team relies completely on how Ash, or whoever is starting, performs. But itâ€™s obviously a serious factor in determining where this team stands at the end of the year. I donâ€™t usually like projecting stats for players because so many factors go into how they end up playing, but if you had to ask me then I would think Ashâ€™s numbers will be something along the lines of 1700-1900 passing yards, 300 rushing yards, 12-16 TDâ€™s, and 7 INTâ€™s. Not great, not bad, but improvement, and thatâ€™s all we can ask for right now.