This season, the Texas Longhorns offense showed some signs of becoming great, but at times, it had a tendency to disappear. The two halves of their recent Alamo Bowl victory summed up the story of their season perfectly. During the first half, the Longhorns struggled to move the ball. Yet, after some halftime adjustments, they opened it up in the third and fourth quarters, and it made all the difference.
During the second half, the Longhorns began to rely upon the legs of quarterback David Ash, and it was then that the offense finally started clicking, playing arguably the best they’ve played all season. If they hope to reach their offensive potential next year, Ash’s ability to make plays with his legs needs to be a major part of the game plan.
Over the last decade, the Horns have been most successful when using a mobile quarterback. Relying on the legs of Vince Young and Colt McCoy, Texas boasted some of the best offenses in the nation during that time. Yet, for whatever reason, in the last couple of seasons, they’ve gotten away from that; as a result, their offenses have suffered at times.
As evidenced in the second half of the Alamo Bowl, Ash is a more than capable runner. Not only that, it appears that he is at his best when he is able to make plays with his legs. When Major Applewhite started calling plays that showcased Ash’s running ability, the sophomore quarterback’s entire demeanor changed. He became more comfortable and assertive. Gone was the timidity that we’ve often see from him. For the first time all season, we saw from him the passion and confidence that a team needs from their starting quarterback.
Going forward, as the Longhorns try to reestablish a new offensive identity heading into next season, they need to rely much more on David Ash’s ability to run the football. It would be silly to squander his ability to make plays with his legs, especially when it’s clear that he is much more confident when he is free to use his legs. When he’s allowed to do that, he transforms into the quarterback the team needs him to be in order to reestablish their place as one of the top programs in the nation.