Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Texas quarterbacks facing a favorable foe
By David Ubben
Uncertainty and inexperience reign at quarterback for Texas.
The season began with Garrett Gilbert looking to rebound from an ugly 2010 campaign. By the second game, he had been benched. Weeks later, he underwent shoulder surgery and transfered.
Meanwhile, his replacements have been shuffled in and out like a pair of pistons firing in an engine.
Until last time out, anyway.
David Ash took all the snaps in practices preceding the week of a 38-26 loss to Oklahoma State and played the whole game. He completed 22 of 40 passes for 139 yards and two interceptions.
This week following a bye? Welcome back, Case McCoy.
"We’re still evaluating it day-to-day. We’ll watch them throughout this week and make that decision probably on Friday," Texas coach Mack Brown said.
That's not welcome news for a team in need of major growth at the most important position in football, one whose importance is amplified in a league with four of the nation's top seven passers.
But if that growth is going to happen, the Longhorns couldn't ask for a better opportunity Saturday.
Waiting for them at home is Kansas, who has given up more than 318 yards per game through the air. Only Texas A&M has given up more (335), but the Aggies lead the nation with 28 sacks.
Kansas has six. Only six teams in the FBS have fewer.
Receivers have had room. Quarterbacks have had time. The same should be true for the Longhorns. Who will take advantage?
Texas has to figure that out, but the criteria sounds simple.
"We’re trying to figure out who can get us in the end zone the most," Brown said.
Last week, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein got his offense in the end zone seven times and threw for a career-high 195 yards. That was the second lowest output of the season for the Jayhawks, who lost, 59-21. The other? A 164-yard performance against Georgia Tech ... who ran for 604 yards.
"I think all of our quarterbacks are really more confident, I really do," offensive lineman David Snow told reporters this week. "Getting to see David grow up a little bit in the last couple games, [it's] been good to see."
Heading into Saturday's game, there's reason to be confident.
Brown has warned his team though, citing last year's loss to Iowa State. The Cyclones had been walloped by Utah and Oklahoma when they came to Austin angry.
Kansas has lost five consecutive games, including the previous three by more than 30 points.
Texas lost to that Iowa State team, but solid quarterback play from Ash and McCoy could keep Kansas from pulling a repeat.
Considering the trends from Kansas' defense, that seems likely.