Up-tempo offense the catalyst for new, improved David Ash-led Longhorns offense

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Elisabeth Dillon

David Ash showed flashes of brilliance as a sophomore last season, none brighter than when he led a fourth-quarter comeback in Texas' Alamo Bowl triumph over Oregon State last December, tossing two touchdowns in the final nine minutes. No more looking over his shoulder—this is Ash's team. The Longhorns will go as far as he'll take them.

Brittany Lamas

This fall, the Longhorn football team will look to junior quarterback David Ash for his experience, maturity and to lead Texas back to national championship contention in 2013 after two average seasons.

“The Texas standard is a championship, it’s winning all those games and to put a number on that is 13,” Ash said at Big 12 Media Days.

Ash will return for his third season, second as the starter, with a 12-6 record as a starter. He played in all 13 games as a true freshman in 2011, eventually beating out Case McCoy for the starting gig after Garrett Gilbert transferred. In 2012, he started in all but one game after suffering a broken rib in the loss to TCU.

This season, he will be one of two returning Big 12 quarterbacks with considerable experience, with Casey Pachall of TCU being the only other with as many starts.

“When I came in there were a bunch of good quarterbacks that were older than me, and now I’m the older one,” Ash said. “Football kind of goes in cycles and now Texas’ cycle has come around.”

Texas is moving to an up-tempo offense to incorporate more plays, from 60-70 plays per game to 80-90, and be more competitive against fast-paced Big 12 teams.

“We think that David is ready to go up-tempo now with the offense. He’s in command. He’s very confident. He knows what we want,” Brown said. “We’re a faster team. We’re an older team. We should be a mature offense.”

Ash said he enjoys the no-huddle, faster offense. It’s familiar to him since he ran a similar system at Belton High school and he is excited to run it for the Longhorns this season.

“It’s a lot of fun because as a quarterback and an offense guy you like throwing a lot and putting up lots of points so for me it’s just fun to be around,” Ash said. “That’s what the Big 12 has become, high-powered offenses that spread out and chunk the ball around and it’s pretty hard on defenses. I wouldn’t want to play defense in the Big 12.”

Other benefits include stopping the opposing defense from dialing up exotic blitzes while the offensive line gets simpler reads and the wide receivers can find a rhythm. Texas’ defense will get to practice against what they will see during games.

“It benefits the defense seeing an up-tempo  [offense] every week,” Ash said. “It’s pretty hard to be a defense in the Big 12 right now. It wasn’t fair to our defense last season… this will prepare them better.”

Ash said he thinks with more experience on the team altogether, they will be able to get back to where Texas football is expected to be.

“I think you think back to a couple years ago and you had 10 freshmen playing on offense and a bunch of those guys are playing this year, that can only be a positive thing,” Ash said. “The guys I was playing with as a freshman, I’m still playing with, for the majority. We’re that much more together. We’ve shared the same experiences together and it makes us more hungry.”