AUSTIN, Texas -- A dozen practices into the preseason and Texas coach Mack Brown is no closer to knowing who his quarterback will be against Wyoming.
“I’ve got the same questions you do,” Brown said.
None of which were even answered in the scrimmage Monday night. Brown had thought perhaps either David Ash or Case McCoy would pull away in the competition. But, if anything, the margin between them has narrowed.
“We’re having more of a consensus that both could play right now and win the game for us,” Brown said.
By “we” Brown means the whole coaching staff. Brown has everyone involved in this decision. And if they can’t seem to make a decision, Texas does not appear averse to going into Wyoming (Sept. 1) with a game plan that utilizes two quarterbacks. In fact, right now Texas doesn’t seem too averse to going into the Kansas State game (Dec. 1) with a game plan that features two quarterbacks.
“Both give us the chance to win if they protect the ball,” Brown said.
They did just that in Monday’s scrimmage. There was one turnover but it came on a ball that hit the tight end’s hands and bounced to a defensive back.
“Both [quarterbacks] have improved so much from the spring,” Brown said.
Ash and McCoy have improved in their respective game-management styles as well as their decision-making. Co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin has also applauded their increased accuracy.
“You can see it in one-on-ones,” Harsin said. “The decision-making is there. What I look for is -- there’s still mistakes and everything, but they can come back now and explain it, or coach themselves up right away. We’ll come back right away and repeat the play and correct it.”
Aside from the play of the quarterbacks all eyes were on the running backs. Freshman Johnathan Gray had most of the carries. The staff wanted to see how he reacted against the defense.
His reviews were not overwhelming but the ones for running back Malcolm Brown were. Brown said he was clearly the best runner on the field. His vision and toughness have both improved, the coach said.
Both Gray and Brown were featured in the “wild” package. Neither had success on the two snaps allotted. Brown was dropped for a two-yard loss. Gray’s play was halted before it started do to mistakes.
Along the line, Texas is moving Luke Poehlmann up to more of a prominent role at tackle. The senior is a couple of years removed from a knee injury now and Brown feels as if he is ready to be the first sub in along the line.
Poehlmann was in for Josh Cochran on Monday. The starting right tackle was rolled up on and suffered a leg injury. It’s nothing that would prohibit him from playing against Wyoming, Brown said.
Texas was also missing linebacker Demarco Cobbs, tight end Miles Onyegbule, defensive tackle Ashton Dorsey, defensive end Alex Norman, defensive end Hassan Ridgeway, kicker Anthony Fera and held out wide receiver Marquise Goodwin.
Norman and Ridgeway, both freshmen, have lingering muscle pull injuries. They could be very serious redshirt candidates because the injuries have limited their practice time.
Cobbs, Cochran and Dorsey are not expected to be out long. Goodwin and Onyegbule were only held out for precautionary reasons.
Quarterback Connor Brewer has a mild ankle issue but has remained in practice.