AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas is making a change at quarterback, turning from banged-up starter David Ash to Case McCoy to lead the No. 23 Longhorns in their season finale at No. 7 Kansas State.
McCoy, who hasn’t started since the last game of the 2011 regular season, relieved Ash in a 20-13 loss to TCU on Thanksgiving.
While coach Mack Brown called the passing game “inept” against TCU, the reason for the quarterback change was a bit murky on Monday: Is it solely because Ash, who has 17 career starts and had been among the top-rated passers in the country early this season, has an unspecified rib injury, or is it because he had a bad game?
Ash is listed as “questionable” for Saturday. Brown wouldn’t say whether Ash would start if he wasn’t injured.
“He’s not (healthy). We don’t get into `ifs’ and `whats,'” Brown said. We’re trying to figure out what to do with what we’ve got.”
And Brown hedged when pressed whether he considered Ash, a sophomore, his quarterback of the future.
“I see David being a good player in the future,” Brown said.
Offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said it was “both” the injury and poor play that factored into the decision to start McCoy.
`Where David’s at right now, it was the right thing to do,” Harsin said.
Ash had three first-half turnovers against TCU and was twice pulled from the game. By Sunday, Texas (8-3, 5-3 Big 12) was listing Ash as “questionable” for Kansas State (10-1, 7-1).
Brown said he wasn’t sure when in the game Ash got hurt. On Texas’ first drive, TCU defensive end Devonte Fields was penalized for spearing Ash in the back. His first throw after the penalty was an underthrown deep route that was intercepted.
Ash was intercepted again in the second quarter when he tried to throw into coverage at the TCU goal line. A fumble, when the ball slipped out of Ash’s hand, set up TCU’s second touchdown.
Brown said the injury affected Ash’s ability to throw, though Harsin said he didn’t see any signs during the game Ash was injured and called the turnovers “poor decisions.”
“We can’t put ourselves in position of turnovers in the red-zone operation like we did last game and expect to win,” Harsin said.
Ash has had an up-and-down season after beating out McCoy for the starting job in training camp. He ranked among the top passers in the nation in Texas’ 4-1 start, then had a bad game in a blowout loss to Oklahoma. Two weeks later, Ash was pulled in the fourth quarter against Kansas. McCoy rallied Texas with two scoring drives, throwing the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds.
Texas stayed with Ash as the starter and he played well in wins over Texas Tech and Iowa State.
McCoy led Texas to its only touchdown against TCU before throwing the game-clinching interception in the final two minutes. The loss crushed Texas’ hopes of grabbing a share of the Big 12 title and a possible BCS bowl bid.
A Texas spokesman said neither Ash or McCoy would be available to the media this week.
McCoy, a junior has had moments that dazzled and frustrated Texas fans.
His scramble against Texas A&M last season set up the game-winning field goal in the final meeting of that traditional rivalry. The next week at Baylor, McCoy had five turnovers in a Texas loss and he hasn’t started a game since.
With Ash hurt, Texas also is preparing punter Alex King as the Longhorns’ emergency quarterback. King, a senior who transferred this season from Duke, played quarterback in high school and played the position for the Blue Devils’ scout team.
Brown said he doesn’t want to pull the redshirt off freshmen Connor Brewer or Jalen Overstreet for the last game.