Here’s the deal. The quarterback situation at Texas is a touchy subject. It was at this time last year and it continues to be even as I write this post. Last year the Longhorns were reeling from a less-than-acceptable 5-7 2010 season in which freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw 10 touchdowns and 17 interceptions (he also rushed for 5 td’s). This year we reflect on the progress made by a team that finished 8-5 while using a 2 quarterback rotation most of the season, wondering if one player has established himself as the frontrunner to begin the 2012 season. The answer is yes, but the Texas coaching staff has been reluctant to publicly name a starter. Is there an elephant in the room?
Mack Brown has consistently maintained the notion that Texas needs to have 2 quarterbacks ready to play come September and that nobody cares (from a team perspective) who is ahead in terms of performance at this point. The Spring Game took place last weekend and while both quarterbacks have work to do, it was apparent that David Ash looks more polished than Case McCoy. His mechanics and command of the offense are clearly better and his passes were crisp and “zippy” compared to McCoy’s which were a bit more erratic, mostly due to inconsistent mechanics. The Horns won’t release an official depth chart until the fall but it is expected that David Ash will be the #1 quarterback when Texas makes the depth chart public. So what’s the wait?
This Longhorn football team has the potential to be good this season. A 10-win season is very attainable, especially given the relatively friendly schedule. How the quarterback situation is handled will ultimately play a role in the success or shortcomings of this team. Economists sometimes use a term called “opportunity cost.” Opportunity cost is the sacrifice related to the second best choice available to someone who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices. Essentially, the opportunity cost of playing Case McCoy instead of David Ash could manifest itself in the form of lost football games and the hindering of practical on-field playing time in the development of David Ash. We understand Coach Brown’s diplomacy and protection of his players but the rest of the offensive players (and defensive players for that matter) need to know who the leader of this offense will be. The opportunity cost of playing two quarterbacks, in my opinion, is just too high.
Mack Brown’s comments from the Spring Game still indicate a paradigm of “two is better than one” when it comes to quarterbacks, which means it might be a long spring and summer for Texas fans – at least those waiting for a starting quarterback to be named. Throw in the fact that Texas has what seems to be a capable quarterback in freshman Connor Brewer (who will likely redshirt) and touted dual-threat quarterback and incoming freshman Jalen Overstreet, and things could get even hairier. While it is not likely, it is conceivable that it could be several years before Texas has a clear-cut consistent starting quarterback. With that being said Mack should name David Ash the starter and continue to develop all of the quarterbacks.