Mack Brown Officially Names David Ash Texas' Starting QB

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2012

COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 12:  Quarterback David Ash #14 of the Texas Longhorns passes during the game against the Missouri Tigers on November 12, 2011 at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Texas Longhorns were No. 79 in total passing yards last season, and that must change this season if they hope to improve on their eight victories from last year.

According to reporter Chip Brown, the Longhorns have decided who will lead their charge this season:

Mack Brown makes it official: David Ash to start at QB. Surprise: Former RB Chris Whaley to start at DT.FR Daje Johnson suspended 1 game.

— Chip Brown (@ChipBrownOB) August 22, 2012

This isn't terribly surprising. The only other realistic option would have been junior signal-caller Case McCoy, but Ash was given the nod as a sophomore instead.

Last season, the 6'3'' right-hander threw four touchdowns and eight interceptions and appeared in all 13 games. He threw for 1,079 yards and even showcased his mobility with four 20-plus-yard rushing performances.

Longhorns fans may view this as a "lesser-of-two-evils" scenario. They don't have a marquee name to speak of on their quarterback depth chart. That's a foreign concept to a program with such a winning history.

Ash will have a talented group of skill players to work with. Top receivers Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley return, as does Marquise Goodwin. He will have options, plus an offensive line that will give him time to throw the football.

Also aiding this process will be the duo of Malcolm Brown and freshman Jonathan Gray in the backfield. Brown ran for over 700 yards as a freshman, and the arrival of Gray will give Texas one of the nation's most exciting running-back tandems.

The cupboard isn't bare for Ash, but he holds the key. If he plays well, the Longhorns could ride a stellar defense all the way to an upper-echelon bowl game.

If he can't, look for Texas to struggle to get over the hump again this season.