QB tal­ent in Texas by­pass­ing UT, Brown

Golden

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - Con­tin­ued from C states­man.com/ game­week. Con­tact Cedric Golden at 912-5944. Twit­ter: @ced­golden

gled un­der Brown, it has been due in large part to medi­ocre quar­ter­back­ing. Gar­rett Gil­bert was thought to be Texas’ next great one af­ter Vince and Colt left, but he crum­bled along with a por­ous of­fen­sive line, a be­lowa­v­er­age run­ning game, and the huge ex­pec­ta­tions that come with the po­si­tion. In the post VY-Colt era, Texas quar­ter­backs are 21-16 with 45 touch­downs and 41 in­ter­cep­tions, hardly num­bers of a team hop­ing to re­gain its na­tional swag­ger.

David Ash, who was named the Alamo Bowl starter on Mon­day, has taken a few good steps for­ward as a sopho­more, but there have been enough men­tal lapses (Ok­la­homa and Kansas, any­one?) to cause the fan base to cringe. Ash is good, but far from great.

Case McCoy made a case for him­self to start against Ore­gon State with his 17 straight com­ple­tions in Man­hat­tan, but he also threw two ill-ad­vised in­ter­cep­tions on throws that were de­signed for some­one with a much big­ger arm to make. It’s no sur­prise that Ash was named the starter. He’s the safer choice.

Texas’ quar­ter­back sit­u­a­tion is a sober­ing piece of foot­ball re­al­ity. The Longhorns are a team that’s caught in the mid­dle — to the north, Bay­lor pro­duced a Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner in Robert Grif­fin III last year, and to the east, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel won it this year.

The Longhorns looked at both play­ers coming out of high school, but nei­ther of them as a quar­ter­back.

Here’s the ques­tion: Can Brown re­turn this pro­gram to its pre­vi­ous heights with Ash or McCoy run­ning things? Or is this what we will con­tinue to get for the rest of his ten­ure — seven- and eight-win sea­sons that don’t reg­is­ter much of a rip­ple on a na­tional level?

There is tal­ent avail­able, but the Longhorns haven’t hit on a pro­gram changer since Young and McCoy played for na­tional cham­pi­onships. This state has pro­duced some good, young quar­ter­backs in the last three or four years, but only one (Colt McCoy) be­came a Longhorn.

Of the 32 NFL starters on open­ing day, nine played high school foot­ball in Texas — Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, Indianapolis’ An­drew Luck, New Or­leans’ Drew Brees, Cincin­nati’s Andy Dal­ton, Jack­sonville’s Blaine Gabbert, Washington’s Grif­fin III, Min­nesota’s Chris­tian Pon­der, Ari­zona’s John Skelton and Mi­ami’s Ryan Tan­nehill. And West­lake’s Nick Foles ap­pears to be Philadel­phia’s quar­ter­back of the fu­ture.

See­ing so many qual­ity quar­ter­backs from the state that weren’t signed by Texas has to dis­ap­point many Bevo fol­low­ers, es­pe­cially in the cases of Heis­man win­ners Grif­fin III and Manziel, who ac­tu­ally wanted to be Longhorns.

SGet com­plete Longhorns cov­er­age lead­ing up to the Alamo Bowl, in­clud­ing pregame news con­fer­ence video, pho­tos and stats, at

The Alamo Bowl’s big­gest sto­ry­line will be whether Ash — who was the of­fen­sive player of the game in last year’s Hol­i­day Bowl vic­tory — can show he has the abil­ity to lead this pro­gram to more mean­ing­ful post­sea­son games in the fu­ture. McCoy may play, but he has to over­come the grow­ing per­cep­tion that he’s an over­con­fi­dent swash­buck­ler whose lack of arm strength will al­ways keep him No. 2 on Texas’ depth chart.

Hon­estly, Ash and McCoy are hard-work­ing, scrappy quar­ter­backs will­ing to lay it on the line for their team. That much we know.

But I don’t see great­ness in them.

I see the Alamo Bowl.

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