Is David Ash REALLY the man at Texas?
Texas QB David Ash
Texas QB David Ash
Posted Apr 19, 2012

From the Scout publishers, here's the inside info on the key questions this spring.

Spring 2012 - Key Questions


What's happening this spring season? Several FSN publishers provide their insider info on the key questions that matter to the real world of college football. Scroll down for the links to all the spring questions.

Q: Can the coaching staff get away with just playing one quarterback – David Ash – through thick and thin, or will there be a push to play another option if there are struggles?

From Kevin Flaherty, … It seems like David Ash is the main guy, but Mack Brown has said that the Longhorns would like to play a second quarterback for a few series a game, largely to get that player experience in case of an injury or a bad game. More than anything, Brown was spooked about the loss of Colt McCoy in the BCS National Championship Game against Alabama, and he felt like that injury cost the Longhorns a national title. Now the goal is to become legitimately two-deep at every position, and that includes quarterback.

Ash has looked much-improved in the spring, displaying a confidence on the field that he didn't have last year. With the running backs returning, and 63 starts among the projected starting offensive line, whoever wins the job won't necessarily have to have the game on his shoulders. If he can be an average Big 12 quarterback, the Longhorns are looking at the potential for double-digit wins.

Looking around the league, if Texas can fight for a 7-2 conference record (likely the needed mark to reach ten regular season victories), it should be in the hunt for a league title with the annual Red River Shootout looming huge yet again.

What was the main focus this spring to try to turn things around?

First off, Texas has placed an emphasis on getting deeper. It wasn't any secret that part of the reason the team started its year 6-2 and then went 1-3 in its final four regular season games is because the team suffered injuries to four of its top offensive players.

Secondly, Texas has forced no turnovers. The Longhorn offense was required to turn the ball over no more than one time per practice, and the defense was required to force at least three. Fail to meet the goal, and Brown said there were "reminders" for the offending side. Texas was 8-1 when winning or tying the turnover battle last year and was 0-4 when it lost.

What's the biggest insider storyline from this spring that the average fan should know about?

The biggest storyline appears to be whether the defense can balance an increase in athleticism with a decrease in on-field acumen. Texas loses Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson from the linebacking corps and Blake Gideon at safety.

A bevy of experience and talent returns at every other position, and Adrian Phillips might transition full time to safety to take some of the heat off there. Another possible replacement is Mykkele Thompson, a speedy sophomore who rushed for almost 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns as a zone-read quarterback in high school. He returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the Orange-White game.

But the replacements at linebacker - Steve Edmond and Demarco Cobbs - were two of the stars of the spring. Edmond is just a sophomore, but at 260 pounds, he's a load. And safety Kenny Vaccaro called him potentially the best pound-for-pound athlete on the team. A junior, Cobbs might not need a pound-for-pound designation. Last year, Robinson called Cobbs "the fastest linebacker in the country."

While each of those positions will likely see an upgrade in terms of speed and athleticism, it will be difficult to replace the leadership and football smarts that the departing players left.

- Is David Ash REALLY the man at Texas?
- How close is Washington from contending?
- Is it win or else for Georgia's Mark Richt?

- Is Florida's offense going to be any better?
- Will Utah's O roll with Jordan Wynn back?
- Is Washington State ready to roll under Mike Leach?
- Will Texas Tech be looking for a new coach?

- Is Texas A&M's O going to go Houston?
- Coaching aside, what's missing at Arkansas?
- Does North Carolina have any talent left?
- Is Oregon a true national title contender?
- Is the Marshall O going to be better?

- Really, who is Notre Dame's best QB option?
- What does Michigan have to do to beat Bama?
- How have things changed at Arizona State?
- Is BYU motivated as an independent?
- Does the Oklahoma D have a new attitude?
- Is Southern Miss starting from scratch?
- Is anything improving at Duke?
- Is Cal's Jeff Tedford on any real hot seat?
- Does Wisconsin have a receiving corps?
- Is SMU RB Zach Line back and healthy?
- What's Changing At ASU Under Gus Malzahn?

- Is The Nevin Shapiro Case Affecting Miami?
- How Is UCLA Different So Far Under Jim Mora?
- Will Florida State Finally Turn The Corner?
- Will Rutgers Be Better Without Greg Schiano?
- Will The Alabama Defense Be As Good As 2011?
- Can Boise State Go On Without Kellen Moore?
- Who Are Northwestern's New Offensive Weapons?
- Is Clemson Over The Orange Bowl Disaster?
- Who's The Next Great Illinois D Lineman?
- What's Changing At ASU Under Gus Malzahn?