Texas Football: Which Longhorns Position Needs Most Improvement This Offseason?
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The hottest topic of debate surrounding the 2012 version of the Texas Longhorns has been the quarterback position, and rightly so since this is the position that needs the most improvement this offseason.
Horns fans have been spoiled by the consistency and sheer greatness of quarterbacks Vince Young and Colt McCoy. Ever since McCoy left after 2009, the position has offered nothing but headaches and anguish to those that hold this team so dear.
With so much optimism heading into this season, courtesy of the defense and the much-heralded running back group, it would be a crime for the quarterback position to dash our expectations yet again. So, for Pete's sake, can David Ash give us some much-needed mojo at quarterback this season?
Here's a look at what Ash needs to do to make quarterback a position of strength once again.
Commit Fewer Turnovers
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Of the aspects of his game that David Ash needs to improve, the highest priority should be placed on him limiting his turnovers.
The most significant downfall at the quarterback position of late has to be the amount of turnovers committed, as Young and McCoy alike simply did not throw the ball to the other team.
Last season, Ash threw eight interceptions against only four touchdowns, and that ratio simply has to improve this season.
The presence of three very talented running backs and do-it-all wide receiver Jaxon Shipley should keep Ash's attempts under 30 per game, especially if someone can master the Wild formation that was so effective last year. The less he throws the less he will turn it over, and the effectiveness of the running game will open things up for him when he is asked to make a throw.
Since he will not be the focal point of the offense, it would be nice to see Ash throw 10 or less interceptions this season. That might be too lofty an expectation, but reasonable since his job is not much more than making sure he does not give it to the other team.
Don't Try to Do Too Much
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It may sound trite, but it's true. For David Ash to be successful this season, he only need be a game manager from the quarterback position.
Ash comes into this season with luxuries for which many quarterbacks in the country would murder and plunder.
First of all, he has what could be the country's best defense on the other side of the ball to clean up after his mistakes.
Second, he has the most complete backfield in the conference at his disposal, and they will be more than happy to grind out whatever they can for him.
With that said, Ash does not have to do too much because nobody expects him to do so. The defense will give this team a chance every Saturday and the running backs will handle most of the heavy lifting, especially with the Wildhorn formation in the playbook.
Ash still has to make plays, but not as many as most of his counterparts will have to.
Use His Legs
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One of the most underrated aspects of Ash's game is his ability to take off and run, and we all know how much we love running quarterbacks here at Texas.
His aggregate statistics aren't astounding or even impressive (69 attempts, 88 yards), but Ash definitely has some wheels on him. He had a 23-yarder against Okie State and gashed the Texas Tech defense with a 47-yard run in that blowout.
I would like to see Ash use his legs even more this season because that is one more threat for which the defense will have to account. He is a big guy at 6'3" and over 220 lbs, so he can handle the extra abuse. And the added threat of him taking off will buy him some extra time, as well as open the field up for his receivers.
If Ash establishes himself as a serious running threat, he will begin to see things open up for him downfield.
Why Ash Will Be Better in 2012
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No doubt David Ash knows, or at least has been told, what he needs to do be a better quarterback for this team. Expect him to answer the bell this season.
Though he may not have been stellar last season, it is too easy for fans to forget that David Ash started for this team as a true freshman. To put that in perspective, both Vince Young and Colt McCoy redshirted their freshman year. Heck, even Michael Vick was given an extra year before going out and nearly capturing the Heisman in his debut season.
Two points here.
One, starting as a true freshman is not an easy thing to do, especially if you play quarterback.
Two, there is a lot of opportunity for improvement to be had in a full offseason. And judging by his performance in the Spring Game, he seems to be taking advantage of that.
That said, I do not expect Ash to be an All-Big 12 quarterback or anything. But he will surprise people this season.