- Carter Strickland, Reporter, HornsNation
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AUSTIN, Texas -- For two practices last week, freshman quarterback Connor Brewer took just as many snaps, if not more, in 11 vs. 11 scenarios than senior Case McCoy and looked more effective on those snaps.
But, "Case [McCoy] would be the second-team quarterback today, obviously," Texas coach Mack Brown said after the second of those two open practices.
Well, maybe it is not so obvious.
What is obvious is that Texas continues to invest time and snaps in McCoy at a time when it would be better served investing in the future.
Sure, McCoy has attributes that could help Texas in 2013. But it is difficult not to look at Brewer and see that he too has attributes that would help Texas not only in 2013 but in the years to follow.
Because of the three years that preceded this spring, years in which the crystal ball was either cracked or not consulted, the Texas program needs to be vigilant about closely examining which direction it wants to take with the quarterback in both the immediate and the distant future. Holding off the growth of a young player for one whose return on investment is short-term could stunt the growth of a team that appears as though it could finally be in a position to recover from the staggering uppercuts it leaned into from 2010 to 2012.
Sure, McCoy won coming off the bench at Kansas. But his first pass hit KU defensive back Greg Brown in the numbers and, inexplicably, he dropped it. If Brown makes that simple catch, the story today might be about a new coach in his first spring at Texas.
But a win is a win, and McCoy showed off his family's patented moxie against a 1-7 team.
A month later, in his only start of the season, McCoy hit 17 straight passes. Those came after he showed his inability to zip the ball across the wide side of the field to a receiver. Kansas State's Nigel Malone returned it 29 yards to the Texas 1-yard line.
In short, McCoy has proved he can make some of the throws. He has not proved, in three years, that he can make all of the throws.
While Brewer hasn't proved anything against a defense, he has proved in practice to have a significantly stronger arm than McCoy.
"Connor Brewer didn't miss a pass for about six plays there today," Mack Brown said Saturday of one of Brewer's practice series.
With the speed of the defensive back increasing, more and more of college football is about putting the ball into a window where only the offensive player can make the play. That window remains open for Brewer. It's sealed shut for McCoy.
With new playcaller Major Applewhite wanting to spread the field and move the ball around, it seems having a quarterback who can make all the throws would be more beneficial than one who limits the playbook.
Understandably, Brewer trails McCoy in game experience and this could be construed as a hindrance. But with Texas remodeling its offense this spring, now would be the perfect time to transition away from what it didn't like about a quarterback who has lost the starting job four times in the past two seasons to a quarterback who, by Brown's admission, has the ability to effectively run the spread.
Of course, Brewer is not without flaws. He's a freshman. He winds up more than he lets fly. While that delivery motion produces more velocity, it also takes a moment more to produce the aforementioned velocity. But that is really more of a next-level worry than a college problem.
The main problem now is that this is college and only so many hours and snaps can be watched and picked over by the coaches. With five quarterbacks on campus this spring, those snaps are at a premium and cannot be equally divided. Ash needs the majority of snaps. The backup needs the bulk of the rest. Brown knows that, and through the next nine practices he will start to shift snaps accordingly.
Whether he shifts more away from McCoy and to Brewer will continue to be a topic in spring football.
"We've got to figure out where the younger quarterbacks fit with Case and all this at the end, but we can't do that until we figure out which of the quarterbacks fits what we are doing," Brown said.
As of Saturday, all Brown had figured out is that McCoy is still the backup.
With so much change to its offense, it seems Texas should move on to a backup QB who best represents the future: Connor Brewer. But Mack Brown isn't convinced Texas or Brewer is ready, so Case McCoy's role will continue to muddy the waters.