Texas QB Ash feels like leader of ‘Horns offense

Sophomore quarterback David Ash says he feels like the leader of

the Texas offense.

Coach Mack Brown, however, still refuses to publicly declare a

starter and says he’s confident that either Ash or junior Case

McCoy could lead the Longhorns next season.

If Sunday’s spring scrimmage showed anything, it’s that Ash has

earned the right to call himself the starter, but McCoy still could

challenge for the job if he can eliminate costly turnovers.

Ash threw only six passes – one for a touchdown – and directed

three early scoring drives. He was 5 of 6 for 31 yards. McCoy was 9

of 15 for 139 yards with a touchdown, but also threw two

interceptions in the end zone as Texas wrapped up spring

drills.

”I thought I made pretty good decisions,” Ash said. ”I’ve

been trying to understand defenses better. … I’ve been trying to

improve the mental side of my game a lot.”

When asked if he thought the offense was his to run, Ash

replied, ”Yes sir.”

The quarterback battle – or struggle, depending on the week –

has been a yearlong theme for a Texas team trying to rebuild into a

Big 12 title contender. Both Ash and McCoy struggled last season

when Texas went 8-5 and finished with a losing record in the Big 12

for the second year in a row.

McCoy, the younger brother of former Texas quarterback Colt

McCoy, went 3-2 as a starter last season and rallied Texas to a

last-second win over rival Texas A&M in the final game in that

century-old rivalry. But the week after that game, he committed

five turnovers in a loss at Baylor.

Ash was 3-3 as a starter and appeared to have taken over the

role when he played the entire game in the Holiday Bowl win over

California. Ash was the most valuable player of the game after

passing for one touchdown, catching another and not committing any

turnovers.

But Brown has yet to declare Ash the guy and insists he wants

Texas to have two quarterbacks capable of starting.

”Case and David did some good things today,” Brown said. ”I

think either one of those quarterbacks can run the offense we’re

running.”

Both quarterbacks saw action with the first- and second-team

offenses, but Ash got the first two drives with the starters and

both ended in touchdowns. He capped the second with a perfect end

zone fade route to Jaxon Shipley.

But that was also the lone highlight for him as a passer.

Otherwise, Ash’s job was mainly handing off. He also showed some

zip in his legs on a 1-yard touchdown run when he beat two

defenders to the edge.

”The play isn’t always the big throw. Sometimes you have to

take what the defense gives you,” Ash said.

McCoy is clearly willing to take more risks throwing the ball

downfield and had a couple of nice touch passes on a 56-yard

completion down the middle and a 36-yard touchdown pass to DeSean

Hales. His interceptions came on a deep route with no receiver

within 10 yards of the ball and an underthrown fade route in the

end zone.

”I think we all know that to be on the field and run that

position, you can’t turn the ball over,” McCoy said. ”You can

paint all the pictures you want, if you turn the ball over, you’re

not going to play. That was part of the problem last year, each one

of us would turn the ball at some point. We’re both maturing, we’re

both getting better.”

Other highlights of the game included Shipley throwing a 54-yard

touchdown pass to tight end D.J. Grant, and a 99-yard kickoff

return by Mykkele Thompson.

Texas opens the 2012 season Sept. 1 at home against Wyoming.