Commentary

Back to work figuring out QB situation

Both QBs struggled against OU, now Texas will have to fix the position

Updated: October 11, 2011, 8:42 AM ET
By Carter Strickland | HornsNation

AUSTIN, Texas -- Bryan Harsin didn't have many answers for Oklahoma's defense.

Texas' co-offensive coordinator had even fewer when asked who his starting quarterback would be in the wake of the humbling 55-17 loss to the Sooners

"Each week, like at every position, we're trying to get guys to separate," Harsin said when asked specifically about who would start at QB. "We're trying to get guys to continue to compete throughout practice. When you get in the games that is another opportunity to evaluate them on that stage. And the quarterback position is no different."

What is different is that last week at this time, the first-year coordinator was trumpeting the two-quarterback system. He and Texas coach Mack Brown repeatedly said the two-quarterback system was working and was what Texas needed at that juncture.

[+] EnlargeCase McCoy
AP Photo/Mike FuentesTexas' QBs couldn't do much against Oklahoma, and now it's time to figure out what can be done to fix the issues.
The interchangeable quarterbacks clearly didn't work against Oklahoma. Case McCoy fumbled twice, with one returned for a touchdown. David Ash threw two picks. One was somewhat excused because the receiver fell down. The other interception was thrown into double coverage and returned for a touchdown.

For the season McCoy is 35-of-53 for 451 yards and two touchdowns. Ash is 24-of-39 for 320 yards with three touchdowns and the aforementioned interceptions.

McCoy has been the starter since Garrett Gilbert was benched. But in three weeks' time, Ash's time on the field has expanded from just a few plays to half of the snaps.

Brown declined to talk at all about the quarterbacks and referred all questions to Harsin.

While Brown declined to talk about his quarterbacks, Harsin avoided specifics as it pertained to Ash and McCoy. Instead, he focused on the need for the players to separate themselves in preparation for Oklahoma State.

"When you look back on it, here are the several things that Case needs to do and David needs to do," Harsin said. "Those need to happen in practice this week and those are opportunities to separate themselves when they do that."

As far as knowing the offense, the two are on equal footing. Despite McCoy being a sophomore, Harsin said Ash has just as much of the playbook open to him and can run all the plays that McCoy can.

"We are always looking each week for the 11 best guys to play out there,'' Harsin said. "And what are our best packages and schemes with those guys in there? That is what we're doing at [the quarterback position] as well.''

The bottom line, though, shows that little worked against Oklahoma. Correcting those issues, and being more successful this week against Oklahoma State, will start with finding a quarterback who can move the offense.

Harsin said his evaluation of who will play at quarterback will come down to four principles.

"It comes down to, always at that position, toughness. I talk about the preparation. I talk about the decision-making. And I talk about their accuracy," he said. "And those four things, they don't change.

"As I go back and look at those four things and evaluate, that is really what I'm looking for. That is what tells me who is doing those things and who should be the quarterback."

Carter Strickland covers University of Texas football and recruiting for HornsNation

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