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Season Review: Quarterbacks

12/5/2011

AUSTIN, Texas -- Because the Texas future holds in it two quarterbacks with a combined 12 interceptions and four fumbles almost makes one wonder what was so bad about the past.

Ah yes … 17 interceptions.

With all the guys Texas had throw the ball in 2011 -- Garrett Gilbert, Case McCoy, David Ash, Miles Onyegbule, Foswhitt Whittaker, John Harris and Jaxon Shipley -- and there were 15 interceptions on 334 passing attempts. That’s an interception every 22 attempts.

In 2010, there were 17 interceptions on 445 attempts or a pick thrown every 26 attempts.

Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin’s mantra has been one of protecting the football.

Clearly no one is listening.

Both Ash and McCoy are young players, so there is a chance for similar results next season.

But coming out of Saturday’s six-turnover shellacking at the hands of Baylor, Harsin emphatically declared there were quarterbacks on the roster with which they could win in 2012.

What further highlights the issues is that the Big 12 is a league dominated by quarterbacks.

“Over the next two years, there will be at least five or six guys drafted. It’s just an amazing year. Two or three of the guys are up for the Heisman this year. This has become the league of the quarterbacks.”

Enough already. The faithful get it. The rest of the league is Modern Warfare 3. Texas is Pong.

The three-card Monte game played by Harsin with his quarterbacks in the offseason and preseason only exacerbated development problems that began in 2009.

Garrett Gilbert sat and watched Colt McCoy rip through lesser opponents like Central Florida, Louisiana Monroe, Wyoming and UTEP by an average of 40 points. Gilbert had 66 pass attempts in 2009. Forty of them came in the national championship game.

Texas believed Gilbert was their guy and didn’t make recruiting other quarterbacks a high priority. As a result, the Longhorns believed they could take a chance on a legacy, Case McCoy, and David Ash, who was seen as a raw talent who needed to mature in the system.

To compound the problems, McCoy had just one pass attempt while Gilbert struggled through 2010. So once again there was a failure to develop depth at the quarterback position.

The open competition in 2011 had none of the quarterbacks truly being asked to lead.

Instead they were to take turns until a leader emerged.

Coaches are paid to make these decisions. When they ultimately did settle on a quarterback, they picked the wrong one. At least that was the thought after Gilbert threw two picks against BYU.

They picked the wrong one again after McCoy was benched in favor of Ash following the Oklahoma game.

And finally, the coaches again felt as if they picked the wrong one after the Kansas State game. So they benched Ash in favor of McCoy.

That’s four different starters in 12 games.

Harsin preaches consistency, but none of the quarterbacks was put in a position to develop any.

Granted, Texas was not blessed with the most talent at the position, but of four players who were with Texas and Harsin in the spring, there should have been one who could have steered this ship on a better course, or at least, to an eighth win.

The iceberg in all this is that Texas will be in the same ship when spring football arrives.

That means, unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the bowl practice or offseason conditioning, the quarterback competition will be wide open when the highly-touted Connor Brewer arrives for the spring semester and dual-threat Jalen Overstreet arrives in the summer.

More freshmen. More inexperience.