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Before the Bowl game I was actually thinking the likely hood of a QB competition was higher than there not being one. I guess this thinking came from seeing an abysmal last two weeks of football from the Texas QB positon in the regular season, and also thinking back to the OU and Kansas game. I'll be honest, this answer of what will happen during the off-season at the position may have been clear to some, but for me it's been a ping pong ball getting hit back and forth in my head. And there are a few reason's why I have been so wishy washy with this thinking. But right now, if you were to ask me what happens in the off-season at the QB position then I would respond with "how could Mack Brown not roll with David Ash as his starter?" I'm trying to answer that question with what Mack will do. And he's going to roll with David Ash as his starting QB next season, as he has multiple reasons to. The only thing that confuses me now is his offering of the Juco QB Nick Marshall. But let's break this down and I'll show you what I'm getting at. Will there be a true QB competition? No. In Mack's eyes there's no reason to. Ash has shown he can have success in this offense. He had multiple games this season where he performed well. And this was Ash's first year as the full-time starter. He did this as a sophomore. Did he have some bad games? Of course he did. The OU game and Kansas game were both terrible performances by him. But in Mack's eyes, he is a sophomore who is still growing and learning. Where he showed his strength was coming back the next week after the OU game and performing well against Baylor. Mack likes that. Ash showed he can shake off a bad game and bounce back with a good one. But before the bowl game Ash had never really shown he could pick himself during a game. That all changed at the Alamo Bowl when he came out in the second half and fought to the end of the game to win it. Now, was Oregon State's QB really doing anything to help the Beavers' cause in the second half. No. But that's a combination of Vaz playing poorly AND the UT defense attacking him all night. Regardless, Ash still had a hole to lead his team out of and he did. I say all of this because Mack will look at Ash's body of work and will roll with him as the starter. He has a great argument for why he should. Don't get me wrong, Ash's inconsistent play will not get it done next season. But right now that will be attributed to his youth, the fact that he had Case McCoy looking over his shoulder waiting for him to slip up, and that Ash and Harsin didn't really click. Now with Major running the show I really think he will connect with Ash in a way Harsin never would have. Does Ash still mess with my brain and scare me with inconsistency? Yes. What makes him hard for me to read is his personality and up and down confidence. But the guy was a sophomore, showed he can make the throws and have success in this offense, and led a come from behind victory in a bowl game. I can't see any way Mack doesn't roll with him as the starter, especially in a season where Mack thinks this is "the year". Can you really see coach Brown handing over the keys to a red-shirt freshman, true freshman (possibly Swoopes, though I think he red-shirts), or a juco-transfer (if Marshall commits) in his first year at Texas? I can't. And Ash has done enough for coach Brown to stick with him and continue letting him develop as the starting QB. Let's look at the options behind Ash... Case McCoy - one way or another I think Case's time at QB at Texas are done. He may still be on the roster but I doubt we see much of him even if he is. I guess he possibly could still be a back-up. But before any thoughts can really be given we must see how his legal situation plays out. Connor Brewer - out of all the QB's that will be on the roster in the spring I think Brewer is the most likely candidate to transfer. Brewer was recruited by Harsin. He was originally recruited to Boise State. But when Harsin came to Texas he brought Brewer along. Well now Harsin is gone. And if you're Brewer you could be looking at your own position in the program like this: The one coordinator who recruited you strongly is gone. Though you have 4 years of eligibility left, you are staring at a QB (Ash) who potentially could play 2 more seasons. So you wouldn't have a shot to play until you were a red-shirt junior. But even then you look to your side and standing next to you is Jalen Overstreet, who also has the same years of eligibility left that you do. Add that to Swoopes coming to town. And the potential commitment of Nick Marshall, who will could be at Texas for 3 years (if he is red-shirted he has 3 years). If I'm Brewer and I'm looking around and I really want some serious playing time, then I'm thinking about transferring. Unless I know I have the clear advantage over the competition and am willing to sit possibily two more seasons to have my shot at playing after that. But I don't see Brewer doing that unless he really loves UT. (Love for him to stay, but this is the scenario he could face). In the end, I think Brewer is currently the most likely to transfer. Jalen Overstreet - This player is still very much an unknown. I know many fans are clamoring for him to get action hoping he is the next RGIII. But all anyone really knows is he's a great athlete. But I've yet to see him get on the field and throw the ball. I have no idea how he handles the offense, how he reads defenses, and how his passes look. So at this point I don't really know what Texas has in Overstreet. Could he transfer? Sure. But right now I think he stays in the program and continues to develop. Tyrone Swoopes - Thought by some to be the next coming of Vince Young, Swoopes is a different player than Vince was coming out of high school. Swoopes comes from a much smaller school than where VY came from and didn't have as much of the success that VY had (though Swoopes has done well). Unless he comes into the spring and blows the coaches away, I think Swoopes red-shirts, like VY did. *Nick Marshall - Marshall has yet to commit to Texas and he has other offers he is also considering. But the Marshall offer got my attention because I wasn't expecting it after Harsin had quit recruiting the Juco QB's, and left the program. Nick Marshall is a very interesting prospect. Once a defensive back at Georgia, Marshall was dismissed by the school and has since been playing QB at Garden City Junior College. (More of his story here: Nick Marshall: Dismissed UGA player revitalizes football career … at QB | AJC College Sports Recruiting) Though he still needs some work, Marshall has the potential to be great, and that's the main reason why Texas is still after him. He will be recruited as a QB and will practice as a QB if he chooses Texas. I could see him getting a red-shirt if he comes, unless he arrives on campus and also blows away the coaches with what he can do. Currently Texas has the potential to have 6 QB's on roster David Ash Case McCoy Connor Brewer Jalen Overstreet Tyrone Swoopes *Nick Marshall But when you start to try to figure out how it all may shake out you see that not all of the QB's will likely be eligible to play during games in the fall. Active on Roster Ash - (likely starter) Overstreet - (have yet to see what Texas has in him, I think he stays with the program) Transfer Brewer - (IMO, most likely to transfer) Red-Shirt/Inactive on Roster Swoopes - (red-shirts FR year) Question Marks McCoy - (possibly a reserve, likely not in the picture one way or another either by transfer, kicked off team, demotion) *Marshall - has yet to commit. If he does commit, I could see him being active on the roster or taking a red-shirt. That depends on how he looks if/when he gets to campus and starts practicing. All of this is just one scenario that could possibly happen. None of this is currently fact, rather an attempt to understand what Mack may be thinking about the QB position for 2013. Either way, I think right now David Ash is the Longhorns' starting QB in 2013. It's silly not to think that, unless one of the other QB's dominates in the spring. I do not see a QB competition, unless Ash begins to struggle in the off-season. I know some of you may be cool with this, and some may be weary about it, but right now I believe the job is David Ash's to lose.
Texas won the Alamo Bowl in dramatic fashion last night behind David Ash and (what appears to be) an improved defensive unit. We lose some guys but looking forward to next season, where does the team stand in terms of expectations/capacity? Can the 2013 Longhorns compete for a conference championship or even more? We improved from last year to this year. 9 wins ain't all that bad - but it ain't glorious either. We know Mack is back and I think it is safe to assume Manny is too.