Monday, February 11, 2013
Position breakdown: Quarterback
By Carter Strickland
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas might have changed quarterback coaches but don’t expect the Longhorns to be changing the quarterback any time soon.
David Ash, despite not yet being declared the No. 1 quarterback, will be the No. 1 quarterback this spring. Now all the aforementioned new quarterbacks coach Major Applewhite has to do is figure out who will fill the roles of two through five. At least there are some choices. This time last year, Texas had but two options.
Texas quarterback David Ash enters 2013 as the starter but there is more competition than last spring.
That Ash showed significant improvement as a sophomore, or at least enough improvement for Texas to be able to hand him the offense, lends a modicum of stability to that position.
True, Texas will be shifting its offense away from what Ash has known the last two years. Applewhite is returning Texas to its winning roots and has opted to go with the spread.
Ash still appears the best option for that offense. He has always been a runner first, sturdy and fast with a solid eye for the hole. He throws better on the move because it does not afford him the opportunity to think. He was always at his most poisonous for the offense -- Oklahoma, Kansas And TCU -- when given time to debate the merits of the pass he was about to heave. With the spread there should be no double clutch. As for clutch, Ash already proved that in the fourth quarter against Oregon State.
So now that Ash is settled -- maybe -- it’s time to figure out who settles in where among the four remaining quarterbacks.
Case McCoy: The smart move would be to slide McCoy down the list. The senior does add some value in that he has been there and done that. But he lost credibility with his off-the-field antics in San Antonio, has not proved to have the consistent talent necessary to back up his consistent fire-and-brimstone locker room speeches and only has one year left.
Texas does have to win this year. And that means 10 or more games, not eight or nine. So McCoy could remain a viable option. The likely scenario is McCoy remaining as the No. 2 quarterback quite possibly in name only while Texas furiously works to get another option up to speed in the spread attack.
Jalen Overstreet: The freshman is the most intriguing prospect of the four quarterbacks behind Ash. He showed his selflessness when, after McCoy had been sent home from the Alamo Bowl, Overstreet stepped up and said he would burn his redshirt for that one game if the coaches and team needed him to do so. It didn’t come to that.
But the move bought him many allies in the quarterback battle and showed the coaches his dedication to team.
Overstreet has also put his arm on display. He has the quickest release and best arm of the quarterbacks who are holdovers from the 2012 roster. What he has lacked are the fundamentals to make him a consistent passer.
He worked throughout the fall to understand how to structure his feet and build a base from which to operate. Moving to the spread will allow Overstreet to showcase more of his natural talents. But he still has to have the proper fundamentals to make all the necessary throws. At this point of his career, if Overstreet were thrown into a game he might very well revert back to his old habits.
Still, because of his talents and actions, he is a threat to be the No. 2 quarterback when Texas exits the spring.
Connor Brewer: Brewer was recruited by former offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin for Harsin’s blue-turf offense. That doesn’t mean he can’t operate out of the spread or throw on the run. It’s just that he might not be as good at it as the other options available to Texas. But don’t underestimate Brewer’s athleticism or drive. He is a tireless worker who throws a very good ball when his feet are planted. His arm is significantly weaker when on the run.
Brewer is also at a disadvantage in that while this is his second spring -- one more than Overstreet -- the offense and the play-caller have changed, therefore leveling the playing field somewhat.
Had Texas won 10 games in 2012 with Ash, Brewer would undoubtedly be fighting with Overstreet for playing time right behind Ash.
Tyrone Swoopes: He is going to redshirt. And he didn’t exactly get a ringing endorsement fro head coach Mack Brown the other day. Brown was asked: "Can you talk about why you elected to go with Tyrone Swoopes?"
"We think he's good," Brown answered. "Bryan Harsin is at Arkansas State. You can call him and ask him. He is the one that had the lead vote in that group, and he's gone."
Swoopes is talented but remains a project that could be several years in the making. With four other quarterbacks needing immediate snaps, it is doubtful Applewhite will be able to get Swoopes any meaningful time under center this spring.