Work ethic buoys David Ash

Sophomore quarterback bounces back against Tech after subpar stretch

Updated: November 6, 2012, 3:17 AM ET
By Carter Strickland | HornsNation

AUSTIN, Texas -- David Ash didn't quit.

That was to be expected. It's the way the Texas quarterback grew up: First one to the barn. Don't sit on the hay bales, roll them. Always working. Always turning to ask if there is more to be done.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesAfter being pulled versus Kansas, Texas quarterback David Ash bounced back to lead the Longhorns to an upset win over Texas Tech.
So it was clear the sophomore wasn't going to quit. But what was more important in Texas' win over Texas Tech, and is important for the continued success of Texas' offense, is that no one quit on him.

Given the heroics of Case McCoy to close out the Kansas game, that might have been an easy route for the players to take. After all, Ash's poor performance against Oklahoma was still pretty close to the surface of the cerebellum, too. So a look toward McCoy would have only been natural. So, too, would a look over the shoulder for Ash.

One or two slips and undoubtedly McCoy would have been in the game and Texas would have been back to the quagmire that was the 2011 quarterback debate. There is no doubt that thought, which certainly had not escaped the fan base, didn't escape Ash either.

"Probably without saying it I'm sure he did [think about the ramifications of his performance against Texas Tech]," Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said of Ash's mindset. "You come off a game you didn't play well. Case comes in and gets the win."

But if there were glances in McCoy's direction, they were only fleeting. The trust was still there for Ash against Texas Tech. Harsin called pass plays from the start and even allowed for Ash to choose between run or pass on the 75-yard touchdown strike to Mike Davis. Clearly Ash chose correctly. So, too, did Harsin in putting his trust in Ash.

But Ash never really gave him a choice. Instead, through his work ethic, Ash proved that he was more than worthy of his coach's trust.

"With David, I think it is very matter of fact," Harsin said. "Here is what we have. Here is what we have to do. And here's what needs to get done. That is what I love about him, is he operates with that mentality: What do I need to do so what needs to get done, gets done."

What Ash needed to get done was to get his mind back in the game. It had slipped in the three games prior to Texas Tech. It was noticeable against OU and KU, and Ash said it was also the case against Baylor.

"Any time I am making mistakes it is usually mental," he said. "It's usually not going to the right guys."

In the aforementioned three games, Ash was 4-of-17 with three interceptions on throws of 15 yards or more. That represented a dramatic change from the first five games, when Ash was completing the same throws at a 55.6 percent clip with five touchdowns.

He was back on track against Tech as he hit passes of 17, 17, 24, 25, 36, 54 and 75 yards. In all, seven of his 11 completions went for 15 or more yards, with three going for touchdowns -- two to Davis.

"We've been working on the deep ball over and over in practice to get that timing down," Davis said.

No shock there. Not with Ash.

"The one thing I really do appreciate about him is that when we step on the practice field it's business," Harsin said. "He gets that and he is very focused and he is very into it."

"Habitually, he is going to be a guy that is going to work hard no matter what," guard Mason Walter said.

Consider Ash a grinder on the gridiron then.

"But he is capable of the flashy play," Walters said.

It's just that Ash leans toward substance over style almost every time. That's what steadied him during the three-game slump.

"Success or failure, he is doing those same things because those things have proven to work," Walters said.

And Texas is doing the same thing at quarterback against Iowa State as it did against Texas Tech because Ash refuses to quit working.

Carter Strickland | email

Reporter, HornsNation