Win over Tech could be signature for Ash

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You don’t know how much I’ve wanted to write the following in a postgame column:

“Have the Longhorns found their quarterback of the future? ...
You bet your Ash they have.”

Ba-dum-ch.

Wanted to do it against Oklahoma because there were whispers David Ash could get more playing time. Wanted to do it against Oklahoma State when it looked for a while he could lead Texas to an upset.

But right now, it’s much too early to call Ash anything other than a quarterback-in-progress, one that’s still looking for a signature win (Kansas doesn’t count). His stat line isn’t very good — 61-for-98, 615 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. He has been sacked 11 times and has only hit 62 percent of his passes. And yet, there seems to be something promising about the true freshman. He’s big — 6 foot 3 and 215 pounds — and he has a good arm. He’s mobile, too.

For all we know, he could be the next Colt McCoy. Similarly, he could very well be the next Garrett Gilbert — strong-armed but with an interception problem. We might know the answer by the end of the season.

He does seem to be gaining confidence though. Ash looked pretty good against Kansas, albeit he did throw a silly interception in the end zone.

“Each week, he’s continuing to get better,” said co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin. “I think it’s just about playing him more, getting more confident, understanding what we’re doing.”

As for that elusive signature win, he could get it Saturday against Texas Tech. Ash will have to out-duel Seth Doege, who’s helping the Red Raiders put up 39 points a game. He’ll have to take care of the football, which he hasn’t done a very good job of the last few games, with two picks against Oklahoma, two picks plus a fumble against Oklahoma State and an interception against Kansas.

It won’t be easy, and that’s why it could be a signature win. In 2006, Colt McCoy got his against Oklahoma. Then, he beat Nebraska in the snow and Texas Tech on the road, throwing for four touchdowns. By the end of that night in Lubbock, McCoy was — I kid you not — the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy as a freshman.

Ash isn’t getting any hardware this season, just trying to get the Longhorns their sixth win so that they can get back to a bowl game.

If he can do that, then maybe, just maybe, we can start talking about the future.

Printed on Thursday, November 3, 2011 as: Ash remains a work in progress, but young signal-caller shows knacks for making plays