- David Ubben, College Football
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Mack Brown sat down in front of a microphone and did what anyone who follows Texas football expected the coach to do for the past eight months: He named David Ash his starting quarterback, ahead of Case McCoy.
That charade aside, it's time Brown did what few if any expect him to do: Stick with Ash and keep McCoy on the sidelines.
The two may as well have installed a revolving door on the Longhorns bench last year, and the Longhorns offense paid the price for both players' futility. Texas finished seventh in the league in total offense, winning just eight games despite a fourth consecutive season atop the Big 12 in total defense.
This year's unit looks likely to make it five, and a fierce backfield trio of Joe Bergeron, Malcolm Brown and hyped freshman Johnathan Gray will be running behind one of the Big 12's best offensive lines.
All the pieces around the quarterback spot are there. Let Ash grow into them.
Competition sounds great, but at quarterback, the more Ash is off the field, the more his growth is stunted.
McCoy surely grew this offseason, but so did Ash. Unless McCoy sprouted Usain Bolt's legs or Robert Griffin's right arm, it's highly doubtful he does anything well enough to truly warrant making Ash trot to the sidelines for a random series or play.
Ash was tossed into the fire as a true freshman and his decision-making showed it. He threw eight interceptions on just 173 attempts, an average of one pick every 21.625 throws.
Rival quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M) and Landry Jones (Oklahoma) tied for a Big 12-high 15 picks last year, but Jones threw a pick every 37 attempts and Tannehill every 35 or so attempts. That's not a good stat for Ash.
Ash is no Jones or even Tannehill, but with the defense and running game around him, he doesn't need to be. He does need to be on the field and allowed to learn from those mistakes on the fly, rather than kept out of rhythm by a fruitless rotation to get McCoy some snaps.
The only way that should change is if Ash goes on a Garrett Gilbert-like string of interceptions like he did in 2010 against Kansas State, when two of his five interceptions came on successive throws.
At some point, one quarterback needs to grab a hold of the position. Ash is a sophomore, McCoy a junior. This charade can't go on for two more seasons.
For now, Ash has the reins.
For 2012, he need to be allowed to keep them.
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