With Texas still unsure at quarterback, Kansas is a nice foe to face
Special contributor to SportsDayDFW.com
Two weeks after going primarily with freshman David Ash, Texas Longhorns coach Mack Brown hinted that the Longhorns might rotate Ash with sophomore Case McCoy against Kansas (2-5), a system they used with mixed results early on in the season.
“We’ve got to decide where we’ll play them,” Brown said. “Honestly, we don’t know yet.”
The Texas depth chart listed Ash and McCoy as co-starters, with Ash’s name on top after the 6-foot-3 Belton, Texas, product threw for 139 yards and two interceptions in a loss against Kansas. It’s likely that Ash will begin the game against the Jayhawks as the starter, but Brown and co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin probably won’t decide anything until Thursday or Friday after a full week of practice.
“We still have three practices left,” Harsin said Monday. “These guys continue to get better and there’s a lot of things in there that we have to coach up, but I like how they are competing.
“I really like both Case and David’s mentality right now.”
McCoy started against UCLA, Iowa State and Oklahoma and looked like the possible future at the position. But his arm strength — or lack thereof — presented limitations on the sort of offense the Longhorns could run and, as the season wore on, Ash became the player of preference for both the coaching staff and the fan base. He got the start against Oklahoma State, while McCoy stood on the sidelines without a helmet.
“I think [Case] was disappointed,” Brown said last week. “But he has really worked hard. He has not given up. He’s competed and wants to play.”
Whoever sees the majority of snaps against the Jayhawks figures to have a reasonable amount of success. Kansas has the second-worst pass defense in the nation and is last in the country in total defense, allowing more than 550 yards a game.
“You can see teams loading the box on us,” Harsin said. “When they do, we’ve got to be able to take advantage of the throws outside and hit some of the plays and try to get the ball downfield.”
Big 12 Q
Q: Which freshman has impressed you the most this season?
Trey Scott: It’s between Malcolm Brown and Jaxon Shipley and right now I’d go with Brown. He had his conference breakout game a couple of weeks ago against Oklahoma State, rushing for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Shipley has been really good and is one of two consistent threats in Texas’ passing game, but Brown has provided the Longhorns a boost in the ground game that they haven’t had in four years.
Q: Which was a bigger win for Texas Tech: The ’08 win over Texas or last week’s win over Oklahoma?
Mike Graham: Texas Tech’s 2008 win against Texas appeared to usher in a new era for the Red Raiders.
The game seemingly proved former head coach Mike Leach’s worth and the notion a unique system with less talented players could beat more athletic teams. It also took Texas Tech to the top tier of college football interest for about the next year and a half until Leach was fired.
The 2008 Texas win is still the highest point in Texas Tech football history.
However, the 2011 win against Oklahoma could prove to be bigger. The Red Raiders have the opportunity to learn about their full potential but now have to learn how to carry the momentum into the future.
The fun run of 2008 died just two games after the Texas game. Texas Tech got hammered by Oklahoma, and the team that defeated Texas never reemerged. The Red Raiders looked awful through their remaining two games.
If this young Texas Tech squad learns to give that effort every week, it sets them up well for the 2012 season, and last week’s Oklahoma game can be viewed as the true first step of a championship-caliber team.
So there is not yet an answer to the question. The jury is still out.
One game took Texas Tech to national prominence through 2008 and into 2009 while last week’s game has the potential to help make a sustained run at national prominence.
Q: Does Oklahoma’s loss to Texas Tech make the Sooners more or less dangerous for their big matchup with Texas A&M in two weeks?
David Harris: Any time a team loses a game like that on its home field, you know it wants to prove something the next time it gets the chance. However, I think it makes OU less dangerous because there’s a sense of vulnerability now that wasn’t there before when the Sooners had reeled off 39 consecutive wins in Norman. A&M is a good team and, because of the Tech result, shouldn’t be scared of going to Norman.