Film review: Understanding Ash's game 

November, 25, 2012
11/25/12
2:04
PM ET
When rewatching David Ash’s performance against TCU, you can’t help but be reminded of a quote he dropped in his first preseason chat with reporters in August.

“People say leadership is a lot of different things, but when it comes down to it, it is a really abstract term that has a different meaning to everyone,” he said then. “I think guys want to follow a guy who’s going to put them in the end zone. So that’s my goal.”

Ash was pulled from Texas’ 20-13 loss to TCU twice last Thursday, and with good reason. He couldn’t get his team in the end zone.

For this week’s film review, we offer a look at what can be learned from Ash’s failures against the Horned Frogs.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
Brett Davis/US PresswireTexas QB David Ash had three turnovers before being benched in the loss to TCU.
1. Just a little off

When Ash is off, he’s usually just a little off. That’s been the case in each of his poor starts, and once again small mistakes plagued his first-half play.

His interception on Texas’ opening drive could’ve be a touchdown if he’d led Mike Davis a bit. Instead, Ash put it up too high and Jason Verrett caught up.

On the next drive, a red-zone pass to Ryan Roberson on third down could’ve picked up a first had he put the ball right in the fullback’s numbers. Instead, Roberson has to reach out and dropped it.

A few more passes were slightly underthrown. For the most part, though, that’s not the product of TCU pressure. A little fine-tuning and Ash might’ve been off to a strong start.

2. The second interception

Ash was solid for the game’s first 24 minutes. But it was his second interception that started getting him in trouble.

Ash had second down and 10 at the TCU 18. He faked a handoff to Joe Bergeron, turned and made a quick read.

The play is supposed to force TCU safety Elisha Olabode to make a decision. Jaxon Shipley runs a post route that breaks right in front of the safety. At the same time, Marquise Goodwin runs a flag route and breaks toward the sideline. Olabode can only help with one, right?

Wrong. Olabode turned to his left to indicate he’s taking Goodwin. Ash made the throw to a should-be-open Shipley. Then Olabode broke right and jumped the route for the easy pick.

It’s an understandable mistake by Ash. He got tricked by the safety and made a hasty decision. But that can’t happen in the red zone.

3. Benchings weren’t unfair

Texas coaches pulled Ash for the final drive of the first half after his third turnover of the day. The move made sense considering the circumstances.

TCU scooped up Ash’s fumble and scored three plays later to go up 14-3. That drive took only 65 seconds of game time. Throwing Ash back on the field when it was clear he needed the halftime to calm down and make adjustments didn't make sense.

So the Longhorns went with Case McCoy for one drive, seeking a spark. Didn’t work.

Ash came back in the second half and got three drives to make amends. He led Texas to a field goal, a punt and a turnover on downs. On the final two drives, Texas called only one run play.

It’s not as if Ash didn’t get a more than fair chance to win the game. But again, he didn’t get his team in the end zone.

4. Rhythm

Ash led drives of 45, 49, 62 and 42 yards against TCU. Texas averaged 4.8 yards per play on those four drives. Getting into a rhythm was not the issue.


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