Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
Ash's rushing talents will take his game up a notch in 2013.
The single-biggest reason why Ash is due for a big season is that the coaches are going to call on him to run the ball more often. Given his athleticism and the inherent difficulty with stopping running quarterbacks, he will have the defense in the palm of his hand.
The evidence supporting running your quarterback is extensive. Five of the last seven Heisman Trophy winners have been dual-threats under center, the four quarterbacks that burst onto the pro scene last year (Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, RG3) all were threats with their legs and Texas' last two great quarterbacks were both threats to tuck and run.
The reasoning is simple.
On designed runs, the play shifts from 10-on-11 to 11-on-11 when the quarterback is running rather than being a passive bystander. And on scrambles, defenses can get so wrapped up in covering that they lay out the red carpet for the quarterback to gash them for a big gain.
At 6'3" and almost 225 pounds with 4.5 speed, Ash has everything you want from a running quarterback. In fact, that was his original role on the team when he averaged 5.6 carries per game as a freshman.
But when Ash became a starter last season, he saw his carries decrease. That is until the Alamo Bowl, when Ash carried the ball five times, his most of the season, for 30 yards in the second half to lead his team back from 10 down.
That was Major Applewhite's first game as the primary play-caller, and he will stick to that winning formula. Ash's running changed the complexion of that night, and it will make him much harder to contain throughout 2013.