With the transfers of quarterbacks Connor Brewer and Connor Wood over the course of the past few seasons, and now the lingering health concerns for junior quarterback David Ash, a worst-case scenario for the Texas Longhorns suggests they would have to do something they haven’t had to in years:
Actively pursue a junior college quarterback to fill a massive experience gap in 2014.
Now, obviously, this only becomes a necessity if Ash is forced to hang up the cleats permanently and doesn’t return after this season. But with recent news surfacing that he has lost 10 pounds due to lack of appetite and is still experiencing symptoms from a concussion he suffered in mid-September are rather concerning. After all, Ash’s decision will be as much about his long-term health as an individual as it will be about a return to the Longhorns.
These decisions are never taken lightly.
Assuming the worst-case scenario — Case McCoy‘s graduation and David Ash walking away — Texas is left with a massive experience issues. Sophomore QB Tyrone Swoopes (whose redshirt was burned against the TCU Horned Frogs) would be the de facto “starter” on the roster, with true freshman Jerrod Heard from Denton Guyer most likely being the front-runner for the backup slot with no other pure QBs left on the roster.
By force of demand, this scenario would require Texas pursue a junior college quarterback to back-up Swoopes at a minimum, and in the best case, compete for him for the starting job. If you want a prime example of how poorly this can go, look no further than the problems the Kansas State Wildcats have faced so far this season with Jake Waters, a guy who was nominally one of the best JUCO prospects in the country during 2012.
There’s never a promise that even the best junior college quarterback will make a natural transition to Division I ball. On occasion, the transition is smooth, and JUCO QBs can be productive, but rarely is one asked to step into a situation with the expectation levels like that incumbent at Texas. It’s more reasonable that JUCO guy would be brought in purely as depth and a safety blanket for whoever is the head coach on the Forty Acres next season whether that be Mack Brown, or somebody else.
Even if it turns out that David Ash is healthy, and ready to fight to re-gain the starting role in 2014 it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Texas pursues a JUCO QB who can at least fill a roster spot, fill a gap between Swoopes, Heard and Ash. That scenario is a little less desperate and would allow for Texas to be somewhat less “choosy” in who that guy could be.
Regardless, for a program like Texas to be faced with the necessity of filling in an experience gap at the most important position on the football team is never something to be envied. In this case, it’s due to attrition which was largely out of the coaching staff’s control, but is proof nevertheless the damage attrition can cause.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer, Business Analyst and College Content Coordinator for Rant Sports.