Not since the glory days under Vince Young and Colt McCoy have the Texas Longhorns featured a dynamic quarterback associated with stardom and success.
With David Ash entering his junior season, a return to those days may be imminent for Texas.
Spring football is now in full gear, and with it comes the discussion of what the next season could hold for a Longhorns team that experienced marginal progress in 2012. In moving from 8-5 in 2011 to 9-4 a season ago, Texas improved in the wins column, but the results on the field were blemished with inconsistencies.
Ash had an up-and-down season before putting in quite a performance in the second half against Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl, proving that he can turn the page mentally in what will be his next steps as the quarterback for the 'Horns.
Heading into the spring, many new questions will have to be answered, in addition to the old uncertainties that need to be ironed out.
Here is the entire scoop at quarterback.
There is no question that it is Ash's show to run and his job to lose, should it come to that.
The 'Horns have gone this far under Ash, and they will go at least another season with the Belton, Texas product during his junior year, a year that will be critical for Texas' future. Keep in mind that Vince Young won a national championship his junior year, and Colt McCoy capped off a monstrous junior campaign with a come-from-behind win against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.
Ash, who threw for 2,699 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2012, will be expected to take a leap as a vocal leader. He has proven himself more than capable on the physical side, but if he can dial things in on the mental side and become an efficient executor of a new offense, Ash's stock could soar.
With Texas transitioning to an up-tempo offense that figures to be more quarterback friendly, Ash has a chance to excel, considering the weapons surrounding him.
At the end of the day, it is Ash's year, and it is his team to control. If the junior signal-caller can take the right steps, the sky is the limit for the Texas offense.
Case McCoy has his brother's history ahead of him, but his own career has hardly become a similar success story.
Instead, the younger McCoy has been a career backup at Texas, first sitting behind Garrett Gilbert and then backing up Ash when he arrived on campus in 2011.
Fortunately, McCoy has been more than serviceable as a backup, most notably against Texas A&M, when he sparked a game-winning drive on Thanksgiving night two seasons ago.
Unfortunately, the senior is in a much worse position than he was last year. With Ash having two more seasons before graduating, and Texas grooming three younger quarterbacks, McCoy is in no-man's-land with regards to future plans.
On the one hand, Texas could hope for a young quarterback to emerge from the rest and solidify himself as the backup, and therefore become the go-to option should Ash face injury. But on the other hand, the 'Horns could easily welcome McCoy as their backup if no one else appears to be a viable option.
It is a dilemma, to say the least, but it is out of McCoy's control.
Jalen Overstreet and Connor Brewer arrived at Texas with little hullabaloo about them. Brewer was regarded as a strong passer and Overstreet as a true dual threat with great athleticism.
After a year to acclimate, Overstreet has seemingly taken the necessary steps to gain more of the coaching staff's trust, but he will have to become more precise in his passing if he is to take the biggest step of them all.
Brewer may be behind the 8-ball after having some off-the-field issues earlier this winter, but a spread offense caters to his strengths.
With a strong spring, Overstreet may make some noise that could shuffle things at quarterback, but that would require some incredible progress by the redshirt freshmen. But if there is a young quarterback to watch for, it will be Overstreet.
The True Frosh
The humble Tyrone Swoopes enrolled early at Texas as part of the 2013 class, and he enters the fold as another dual-threat option under center.
In the Vince Young mold, the 6'4", 220-pound Swoopes is already a threat as a ball-carrier in the open field, but he will have to develop, tweak and polish his passing mechanics before he is ready to take on more responsibilities.
Some project Swoopes as a starting candidate in the 2015 season, which would mean two years of development. That is high praise for a quarterback who only finished high school some two months ago, but it is truly hard to ignore the skill set that Swoopes can bring to the table.
The Bottom Line
The quarterback position this spring is all about furthering Ash's development in a new offense and determining who will assume the backup role. Will a young guy step up, or will Texas be looking at even more projects down the line?
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