Forced into decision, Longhorns make the right choice at quarterback with Case McCoy


Andrew Torrey

David Ash threw three interceptions in the first half of last Thursday’s 20-13 loss to TCU. He exited the game early in the fourth quarter with a rib injury. Now, he has lost his starting job to backup Case McCoy, who will start this weekend against Kansas State.

Christian Corona

Mack Brown, however reluctantly, did the right thing. He made Case McCoy his starting quarterback.

The Longhorns’ longtime head football coach would not make it clear if David Ash was Texas’ quarterback of the future, despite consistently making it clear Case McCoy isn’t.

When Ash fractured his left, non-throwing wrist against Oklahoma, he maintained his spot atop the Longhorns depth chart. After marching Texas into the end zone twice in a comeback win over Kansas, McCoy had still not done enough to earn the starting quarterback job.

But with Ash listed as questionable with a rib injury he suffered during Texas’ 20-13 loss to TCU on Thursday, McCoy is finally the man under center for the Longhorns’ regular season finale against Kansas State.

“Case comes in with a little spark,” junior guard Mason Walters said. “He’s always good at getting the guys riled up, saying, ‘I know they’re not naming me the starter, but I can come in here and play with y’all.’ That gets us all fired up and ready to go. He is a bit more fiery [than Ash].”

McCoy is a more vocal leader than Ash. That much is obvious. But it takes more than a spark to win a starting quarterback job — and McCoy’s actions on the field have spoken louder than any words he could say in a huddle.

He’s been a more efficient passer than Ash this season and Texas’ offense is more productive when he’s under center. Over their last six games, the Longhorns have scored 38 points in 10 drives that McCoy has led while scoring 138 points in 65 drives that Ash has been the quarterback for.

“He always brings confidence to us and we’re looking forward to him starting this week,” freshman running back Johnathan Gray said. “He brings motivation. He’s an outgoing guy who’s always fired up and ready to do what the coaches ask of him.”

Ash has committed seven turnovers, two of them in the game against TCU, during that stretch, while McCoy has committed only one, although it was costly — a game-sealing interception at the end of that loss to the Horned Frogs.

Yet Brown would not say who would be his starting quarterback this week if Ash had been healthy.

“We don’t get into if’s and what’s,” Brown said. “It wasn’t a decision [based on performance] so we didn’t have to think about it. We’re trying to figure out what to do with what we’ve got.”

Since he’s unwilling to take the redshirt off either of his two freshman quarterbacks, Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet, what he’s got is a punter for a backup. Senior Alex King, who’s averaging better than 45 yards per punt this year, will serve as Texas’ second-string signal-caller Saturday if Ash can’t play.

“What we’ve decided is to go with Case, have Alex be our backup and hope David can play in a backup role if we need him,” Brown said. “Alex is more like Case. He’s going to have to run all of our second-team reps for the week. Do you have him more in shotgun? Do you have him more under center? We’ve got a lot of things to look at.”

When Texas takes the field this weekend, we’ll all be looking at an offense that finally has the right man at quarterback.

Printed on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 as: Injured or not, Ash had to cede job to McCoy