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Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Four downs: Ash needs to become leader

By Sean Adams

Each week Sean Adams takes a look at some topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

First down: Applewhite and Ash need to become best friends

David Ash
Sophomore quarterback David Ash had an up-and-down season in 2012, but he enters the spring as the starter.
Major Applewhite needs to pour himself and his experience of being a Texas quarterback into David Ash. I still don’t think Ash has grasped the position and, more importantly, the role of the quarterback at Texas.

The Texas quarterback position is not one that can be taken in a passive way. Anyone from a team, a church, a family or any other group will listen to anyone talking in the absence of genuine leadership.

Ash needs to go back and look at the Longhorn Network’s “The Season” for the 2005 and 2009 seasons. He doesn’t have to be Vince Young or Colt McCoy, but he will clearly get the message that his voice needs to be the most important voice in that locker room.

If he can’t figure out how to be the most important and leading voice on the Texas team and especially the offense, Texas will not reach the desired prize.

Applewhite talked about this Texas team needing to be uncomfortable and Ash will have to make himself uncomfortable to grow himself as a leader. There is no other way to get there.

Second down: Leadership creates accountability

Coach Mack Brown told me a couple of years ago that Texas better stop looking for leadership and start developing it.

If it needs to bring in outside consultants, let the players compete, administer the Myers-Briggs to everyone or some other device, Texas had better figure out who has the pulse of this team and who the team listens to.

The spring and summer need to be so hard that the players see getting to the season as a reward. The players have to know and believe in the results and trust in the direction and preparation.

It all starts at the top and Brown needs to continue the apparent hard, boot camp-style bowl practices that were taking place before the Alamo Bowl.

Third down: Expectations in the spring for offense

By the end of spring practice there will be some questions about the Texas offense, but quarterback had better not be one of them. Lock down that position this spring, allow Ash to own the summer and make sure there are no questions going into the 2013 seasom.

Figure out who you are on offense and what you have on offense and perfect the theory and execution around that. Make sure everyone is going in the same direction and that the whole staff and the whole team knows exactly what the Longhorns do well. Give them something to have ultimate faith in.

Develop, fix or replace the issues in the middle of the offensive line. There are five starters returning on the offensive line and I only feel good about the tackles and one of the guards. Texas will not be a power running team but, as Applewhite said, it needs to be able to win in all ways.

Fourth down: Expectations in the spring for defense

As much as people will say that linebacker comes first, Texas needs to figure out a scheme and a general philosophy for the way that it will play defense and get the defensive backfield and the front seven on the same page.

Even though Texas brings back what should be one of the best cornerback tandems in the country, the defensive backfield needs a lot of work. Moving Quandre Diggs to safety could be a great move, but developing another safety and instilling confidence back into Carrington Byndom is a must.

Replace Alex Okafor. Good luck with that. Texas has plenty of talent there but they need to continue to work the youth into the rotation.