Health of David Ash Key to 2014 Success for Texas Longhorns

By Tyler Brett
david ash
Jim Cowsert – USA TODAY Sports

Charlie Strong is taking over the Texas Longhorns in 2014 with the goal or returning one of college football’s premier programs to national relevance. There’s no denying that there is talent on the roster as the Horns are deep across the board at almost every position. But the one spot where there are serious questions is quarterback where the status of David Ash could make or break Texas this fall.

Since Colt McCoy graduated from Austin, Texas has struggled to find a competent leader under center. Not coincidentally, the program has struggled over the last five seasons as they failed to answer the quarterback questions that plagued them during the offseason. As Strong takes over, Ash looks like the best option to finally get some positive production from the quarterback position and help the Horns make a run at the Big 12 title.

At times, Ash has shown the ability to be an excellent quarterback and could definitely lead Texas into the Big 12 title race. Over his three seasons at Texas, however, he’s failed to show the week-to-week consistency that the Longhorns need from him to make them a legitimate contender for the conference title. Now, Ash also has to prove he’s put his concussion symptoms behind him that sidelined him for most of the 2013 season.

Behind him, Texas is very green at quarterback which makes his health an even bigger concern this fall. Tyrone Swoopes has a ton of potential with his athleticism and strong arm but doesn’t appear ready just yet to take control of a Big 12 offense. He struggled during spring practice and needs another year in the system before he has a strong enough handle on the offense to be a leader in the huddle.

The only other quarterback on the roster for 2014 figures to be incoming freshman Jerrod Heard. While Heard is highly regarded as the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback recruit in the 2014 cycle, asking him to step in and play immediately might be a tall order. If Texas is forced to play a true freshman at quarterback, it will underscore the desperate situation under center in Austin.

Texas has the talent to be a factor in the Big 12 title race this season. But to get over the top and bring the conference championship back to Austin, the team will need David Ash to stay healthy and display some consistency at quarterback.

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