The Texas Longhorns announced today that junior quarterback David Ash will sit out the remainder of the 2013 season as lingering systems persist due to a concussion he suffered in the second game of the season against the BYU Cougars. Presumably, Texas will file for a medical redshirt for Ash to ensure he will have two years of eligibility remaining when he does return to the team either in the spring or fall of 2014.
For a medical redshirt to be granted by the NCAA, the player in question must not have played in more than 1/3 of the team’s games for the season and also must have medical corroboration that playing would not be a medically sound decision from a licensed medical doctor. Given this, it’s reasonable to assume Texas will secure the medical redshirt for Ash over the course of the next few months.
Ash’s questionable health is directly tied to the future another Texas quarterback, Tyrone Swoopes. Texas made the decision to burn Swoopes’ redshirt against the TCU Horned Frogs, but in spite of the decision, which would have suggested more playing time was imminent for him, has played sparingly. The decision itself was the source of derision for many who follow the Texas program closely, especially due to its timing, but the oddity of Swoopes standing on the sideline with a burned redshirt to only play in garbage time in Texas’ recent losses has been even more confounding.
The simple fact is this:
Texas now has even greater uncertainty at the quarterback position with the pending graduation of Case McCoy and the uncertainty surrounding David Ash. This situation demands that Tyrone Swoopes see more playing time. It’s difficult to see how this is complicated.
Yes, Texas has a nominal chance at winning the Big 12 Conference title. Should the Longhorns win out and get a little help from their hated rival, Oklahoma, in the traditional Bedlam game with Oklahoma State on December 7th, the Longhorns could slide in sideways to a Big 12 title grab. Case McCoy will see the lionshare of the snaps in the upcoming contests on Thanksgiving with the Texas Tech Red Raiders and then the Baylor Bears on December 7th, but anyone would be hard-pressed to suggest Swoopes shouldn’t see some action during this same stretch, even if its in designed packages tailored specifically to his talents.
If Swoopes doesn’t take a snap in Texas’ final two games, and Texas doesn’t take the opportunity to evaluate him in high-pressure situations, then every snap he takes in 2014 — which could be all of them depending on David Ash’s health — will be an adventure of the first degree.
In this scenario, choosing their own adventure would be the silliest decision Mack Brown and his staff could make.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer, Business Analyst and College Content Coordinator for Rant Sports.