Will David Ash and Texas Have Enough Against the Big 12?

Brian SpaenContributor IISeptember 11, 2012

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 8: David Ash #14 of the Texas Longhorns calls a play at the line of scrimmage against the University of New Mexico Lobos on September 8, 2012 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Texas has opened up the season with two dominating victories, defeating both Wyoming and New Mexico by a combined score of 82-17. So why should this team be concerned about their offensive production before heading into conference play?

Seven Big 12 teams already find themselves at the top in both scoring offense and total offense. In scoring offense, West Virginia, Baylor, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and Oklahoma all check in at the top 11 nationally, with Texas coming in at 21st.

That's not a big separation, but there's more in total offense. Oklahoma State and West Virginia rank as the first and second nationally, while five of the previously mentioned teams in scoring offense are all in the top 30. Coming in at 52nd is the Longhorns—which is around the same spot they finished last season (55th).

David Ash broke out in the Big 12 opener last season against Iowa State, completing 7-12 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He split time with the sophomore quarterback, Case McCoy, but played more in the upcoming games. Interceptions became a key issue for the freshman, throwing four against the Sooners and Cowboys total.

He threw another pick in the game against Kansas, but Ash finally peaked with efficient passing in the game, completing 14-18 for 145 yards. After the team dominated running the ball against Texas Tech’s poor rush defense, the wheels started coming off the freshman quarterback.

Ash became largely inefficient, completing around 44 percent of his passes, and the offense sputtered with 18 total points against Missouri and Kansas State. McCoy would garner most of the work for the remainder of the conference slate. After that, Ash only saw more time in the bowl game against California.

This season looks promising so far. Ash beat out McCoy for the starting role and has already thrown for 377 yards, completed 73.5 percent of his passes, and connected on three touchdowns. That isn’t who the Longhorns will be facing all season.

Competition ramps up with Mississippi this Saturday. Everyone knows that Texas has a defense with multiple NFL prospects, but can Ash find any sort of consistency this year that he failed to find just a season ago? The Rebels come in ranked 10th on total offense, which is on par with the majority of the competition Ash will face in the Big 12.

If more inefficient passing or interceptions start to happen, how will Ash react? How long would Mack Brown wait until throwing in McCoy, causing another season of turmoil behind center? Ash will have to prove that he’s learned from his mistakes a year ago for Texas to have success.