David Ash didn’t know what was coming last year.
As a result at times he didn’t know what hit him. Or, for that matter, who to hit with the ball.
In 2011, when faced with a blitz Ash completed just 52 percent of his passes and threw three picks against no touchdowns. Ash has faced 17 blitzes to date and is hitting 69 percent of his passes, has two touchdowns and is averaging 9.4 yards per throw.
Against Ole Miss, Ash was blitzed six times and connected on all six passes with a touchdown.
Co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said the difference now is that Ash understands and reacts more quickly because of that understanding. Harsin can tell Ash "gets it" by the phone conversations that take place between the two after each series. Last year, Ash would ask Harsin to slow down or repeat himself. Now Ash is giving Harsin the info before the coach can spit it out.
"David is throwing it to the right guys," coach Mack Brown said. "Now we're getting more explosive plays like we needed. So that's the biggest thing. Don't change who you are. Let's keep getting better, keep growing as an offense. But let's don't go out there and act like we have to get 685 yards each week to win. Let's just get enough yards to win."
The yards may come slightly easier than anticipated against Oklahoma State, especially if the Cowboys decide to blitz. Arizona completed 56.6 percent of it passes when OSU sent five or more. That number dipped only slightly -- 47 percent-- when OSU blitzed on third down.