It’s become trendy to criticize Texas quarterback David Ash. In two seasons of play for the Longhorns, Ash has been both spectacular and erratic, but some Texas fans tend to focus on the latter. They’ll point at his 23-16 TD-INT ratio and 12-6 record as a starter and claim that’s not good enough for Texas standards. They’re right, but that’s an overly simplistic view of the story. Ash hasn’t been surrounded by the same skill players that former Longhorn greats Colt McCoy and Vince Young had. The rising junior hasn’t played behind an offensive line that has afforded him ample time in the pocket to scan down field. And finally, Texas hasn’t had a running back that he could hand it to 20-25 times a game to alleviate some of the pressure from opposing defenses.
Not that Ash can’t shoulder some of the blame as at times he’s looked completely lost in the pocket (his backhand flip interception in the spring game had to give even the most optimistic Texas fan pause for concern). Perhaps the biggest knock against him is that he hasn’t beaten Oklahoma in two tries. In fact, he’s yet to throw for a touchdown in the Red River Shootout, and he’s thrown four interceptions. At this point, that’s his legacy, and it’s not one he wants to follow him.
There is hope, however, including an up-tempo offense that Texas debuted in the spring game. Ash will have more simple decisions to make in the run game, allowing Texas to play faster and looser. He’s got two veteran receivers back who both have the capability to be game-changers in Mike Davis and Jaxson Shipley. Perhaps more importantly, Johnathan Gray appears to be a feature back that can carry the load and force teams to gear up to stop him.
All of those factors could lead to a huge season for the oft-maligned Ash. So while many will focus on his shortcomings, but they are ignoring the talent and potential he has to be great. Remember, he’s only going to be a junior and he carries a wealth of experience with him. The Big 12’s best quarterback will once again be play in Austin which is just like it used to be.