NCAA Football

Possible Explanations for the Texas Longhorns QB Quandary

There is a very simple truth on the Forty Acres these days:

The Texas Longhorns do not have a starting quarterback.

Nine of the ten teams in the Big 12 to this point– including Iowa State– have named their starting quarterbacks and have formalized depth charts leading into next week’s kickoff of the 2012 season. The Texas Longhorns are that 10th team, and the reasons why they have yet to name a starter– instead choosing to put incumbents David Ash and Case McCoy on the same plane–are plenty.

It’s all a matter of perspective, really, but there are several possible explanations.

Talent Evaluation Failure

One possible explanation for Texas’ inability to name a starting quarterback is that which Texas fans are least willing to accept: a failure of talent evaluation.

If at this point there is no discernible separation between David Ash and Case McCoy, could it be that Major Applewhite and Bryan Harsin (god forbid) made huge mistakes in talent evaluation, and neither guy is actually able to be a first-tier signal-caller at the Division I level?

Is this why they are, and for all intents and purposes, will be, Nos. 1 and 1a on the depth chart in the foreseeable future? For that matter, if talent evaluation is an issue, what’s to make any Texas fan believe that Connor Brewer, Jalen Overstreet, 2013 commit Tyrone Swoopes or even 2014 verbal commit Jerrod Heard will bring any relief in coming years?

Is the Texas slump in quarterback play really about the players’ inability to do the work necessary to create separation, or, are they being grossly over-valued?

Ash Hasn’t Improved, and McCoy Has

Another plausible explanation for the lack of separation between Ash and McCoy is that one has stayed static– or even maybe, regressed–while the other has improved to close the gap.

Could it be McCoy’s improved strength, footwork, and accuracy have actually made the race closer than we are able to see with our naked eyes due to the early fall’s closed practices? Has Ash failed to develop over the summer and fine-tune a skill set which would turn a guy with a golden arm into a legitimate multi-purpose threat under center?

Because of the closed practices, only bits and pieces have leaked into social media and we can only parse together what may actually be happening on the practice field and in scrimmages.

Has the regression of Ash and the improvement of McCoy made this a two-horse race?


Uncertainty Has Become the Mother of Indecision

While the seat under Mack Brown‘s butt may not yet be hot, it’s certainly a little toasty.

Individuals facing increased scrutiny can go one of two ways– all out and full steam, or wishy-washy.  It’s as true in the boardroom as it is in the locker room.

Could Mack Brown’s uncertainty about what committing to a quarterback means be the antecedent to his indecision? After all, if he pins the success of the 2012 Longhorns on the shoulders of one guy, and one guy alone, and failure (which in Austin is less than 10 wins) results, doesn’t his seat get even crispier?

By not making a firm decision, there’s a built in escape clause, and another option available to help re-focus the team’s course should the first option fail. A Plan B, as it were.

Are we all overlooking the fact that Brown, Harsin, and Applewhite are being indecisive because they are uncertain about their own futures? Maybe that’s a little bit of a stretch, but business is business.

Regardless of how you cut it, having two quarterbacks is as good as having none.

Another season of waffling about the most important player on the Texas roster will have nothing but a negative impact.

Mack Brown should name a starter yesterday, but that’s his fish to fry, not mine.

Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.

Kris is also the host of Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.