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Monday, December 17, 2012
David Ash to start Alamo Bowl

By Carter Strickland
HornsNation

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Longhorns on Monday named former No. 1 signal-caller David Ash as the starter for the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29, marking the seventh time in the past two years the Longhorns have changed quarterbacks.

Ash will take over for Case McCoy, who played in the season finale against Kansas State.

"The offensive staff talked about it and David did a really good job until he got hurt, so I think that is where we are headed," said Texas coach Mack Brown.

Ash was injured against TCU, but the sophomore had been pulled twice prior to that injury. He was ultimately benched for the season-ender against the Wildcats, then co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said that while Ash's injury might have been a part of why McCoy was named the starter for the game against Kansas State, it was not the only reason. Ash had been medically cleared to play prior to the KSU game but did not take a snap.

McCoy hit 17 straight passes in the game but also had two costly interceptions. He finished 25 of 35 for 314 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions.

For the season Ash showed statistical improvement in every category from his freshman year. He hit on 68 percent of his passes for 2,458 yards and 17 touchdowns. But he also threw seven interceptions inside the red zone. Four of those picks -- two at Kansas and two against TCU -- led to Ash being benched and McCoy coming in.

McCoy led a furious fourth-quarter rally at Kansas to pull out a 21-17 win. He was unable to rally Texas against TCU, as the Longhorns lost at home to the Horned Frogs for the first time since 1967.

It is McCoy's own inability to protect the ball and execute a vertical passing game that has led to Texas once again going with Ash. In McCoy's last two starts he has been responsible for eight turnovers.

"David is 8-3, and at Texas we want to be 13-0 and I think that answers it the best," said Brown when asked what Ash had to do to keep the job. "We need to have that position to get its swagger back and step up.

"The standards are higher than eight (wins). The kids need to understand it."

For Texas to get a clear understanding of who might be under center in 2013, Ash will have to not only perform well against Oregon State but also in the spring. Last season, after Ash was named the MVP of the Holiday Bowl, the Texas coaches did not name him as the starter until two weeks before the 2012 opener.

And next year, Texas will have four quarterbacks to choose from as freshmen Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet will be part of the mix in spring.

True freshman Tyrone Swoopes (Whitewright, Texas) is also planning on enrolling early, but is seen as a long-term project. Last season, the offseason quarterback race was down to just Ash and McCoy, as Brewer was on campus but relegated to a backup position early in spring.