Texas likely to keep 2 QB attack for now
Texas' two-headed quarterback attack looks like it will survive for at least another week.
Even after a 55-17 loss to No. 3 Oklahoma in which sophomore Case McCoy and freshman David Ash made critical mistakes, offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said Monday he still thinks the rotation Texas has been using for several weeks can work.
The No. 22 Longhorns (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) host No. 6 Oklahoma State (5-0, 2-0) on Saturday.
Harsin said Texas' troubles on offense against Oklahoma went far beyond mistakes by the quarterbacks, from bad play by the offensive line and fumbles by receivers to his own play-calling.
''It's not all on the quarterbacks,'' Harsin said. ''That game was so extreme from the adversity standpoint ... Neither one gave of them gave up, neither one of them hung their head. I can live with that.''
But McCoy and Ash were at the center of Texas' problems against the swarming Sooners defense that produced five turnovers, eight sacks and held the No. 22 Longhorns to 36 yards rushing.
McCoy had two fumbles and Ash threw a pair of interceptions, with the Sooners returning one of each for touchdowns. Ash was 11 for 20 for 110 yards and McCoy was 9 of 16 for 116 yards. Ash threw a TD pass to Jaxon Shipley late in the fourth quarter for Texas' only offensive touchdown.
Ash took the bulk of the snaps in the fourth quarter leading some to believe that Texas may be ready to lean on the freshman to take over more of the offense. Harsin wouldn't go that far but said both players have a chance to separate themselves into the clear No. 1 every week.
It just hasn't happened yet.
''Their understanding of the offense is equal,'' Harsin said. ''It comes down to ... toughness, talk about preparation, talk about decision making, talk about accuracy.''
The Longhorns don't have any options beyond those two because they are the only scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Garrett Gilbert, the former starter who lost his job to the McCoy-Ash rotation after the second game, had shoulder surgery and announced last week that he will transfer.
Texas senior running back Fozzy Whittaker, who scored a touchdown on a 100-yard kickoff return against the Sooners, suggested the young quarterbacks got rattled by the super-charged atmosphere of the Cotton Bowl and speed of the game in Texas' fiercest annual rivalry.
''I told them this was a big learning curve for them,'' Whittaker said. ''Those guys felt bad. It was a totally different atmosphere than they were used to. I told them every year it's going to be like that coming into this game. Now they know what to expect.
''I felt like they were prepared enough, If just feel like sometimes it just seemed like the atmosphere might have got to them a little bit. Ultimately I feel they'll be fine. We get to play at home in front of our crowd and I feel like our crowd will have our back,'' Whittaker said.
Texas coach Mack Brown sought to keep his young QBs from losing their confidence after such a beating.
''Keep your head up and keep working,'' Brown said he told them on Sunday after the game.
But Brown also had a message for assistants on offense and defense.
''They've got to bring the quarterbacks along further,'' Brown said, adding Texas had problems on both sides of the ball. ''I think everybody understands where we are ... When you play a team that good, it exposes your weaknesses.''