Texas Longhorns senior quarterback Case McCoy has the ability to play his best in the biggest games possible. Play his best when it matters the most. This attribute has endeared McCoy to a Texas fan base both in love with how he plays in big games, but also weary of whether this niche ability can translate into him becoming the every-down, starting quarterback for Texas when another option is available.
That other option is Texas’ nominal starting quarterback, junior David Ash, who continues to struggle with lingering symptoms of a concussion he suffered against the BYU Cougars in Week 2. Ash has played well when 100 percent, but a minority is starting to question whether his return in 2014 really makes sense given a variety of circumstances. I’m not going to suggest openly that a new quarterback controversy is starting on the Forty Acres, but the elements of one are no longer dormant after McCoy’s performance in the Red River Rivlary.
Anytime these types of situations arise it’s a worthy exercise to weigh the pros and cons of staying with McCoy as the starter for the remainder of 2013, or turning back to Ash when the time comes he is healthy enough for Texas to play with comfort and certainty.
If there’s one thing Case McCoy has it is confidence. His confidence, some would argue, is even a little misplaced given his level of production over four seasons in Austin. His production has been single-game based. In instances he looks like the type of quarterback his brother always was, able to make plays with his feet he shouldn’t be able to and occasionally throw a beautiful ball like those in the touchdown passes to Marcus Johnson and Mike Davis against the Oklahoma Sooners.
McCoy earned a modicum of respect from his teammates after the huge, series-ending win over the Texas A&M Aggies a few years ago, a level of respect which has now expanded greatly as McCoy helped his 2010 recruiting class from becoming the first in Texas history to lose to the Sooners four straight times. He’s a leader when his leadership attributes are needed most. The question remains, however, will he be a leader in the games where the lights aren’t as bright, but that mean just as much as those under the spotlight?
It’s reasonable to argue that Case McCoy has finally earned the opportunity to be the Texas starting quarterback in spite of David Ash’s injury situation and the hand-wringing over the short-term future of talented true freshman Tyrone Swoopes. Many will argue that playing McCoy through the remainder of 2013, and exploring a medical redshirt for David Ash would provide Texas a plus scenario at the position going forward, and in many ways, that notion is dead on.
There’s few who would be willing to argue that David Ash is the more talented of the two quarterbacks we are discussing. When one his game Ash is impressive in the pocket and has plus-athleticism which allows him to escape and make plays out of nothing. Bringing Ash back into the fold when he is healthy and ready to play again in 2013 could be just the edge Texas needs to push towards a Big 12 Conference title that now seems to be less pipe dream and more of a reachable reality following the Red River Shootout.
David Ash was the starter early in the 2013 season for a reason, and little of that decision has changed. On the flipside, as it stands right now, David Ash is theoretically eligible for a medical redshirt which would provide him with two years of eligibility for Texas in the 2013-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons, giving the Longhorns all the time in the world to develop not only Tyrone Swoopes, but also 2014 incoming quarterback Jerrod Heard and possibly even a 2015 quarterback once one has committed to the program.
Will the decision on whether to bring David Ash back into the fold once he is healthy this long-term and far-sighted, or will it be about 2013, and 2013 alone? That’s something only the Texas coaching staff knows for sure, and Longhorns fans will find out as things transpire in the coming off week prior to the Longhorns’ next contest on October 26th against the TCU Horned Frogs.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer and Business Analyst for Rant Sports.