Even the most blindly loyal Texas fans knew that the Longhorns wouldn't be capable of passing for 300 yards per game this season. We'd been spoiled for 7 years with Vince Young and Colt McCoy, last year with Gilbert was a dose of the reality most teams go through from time to time. There was hope that either Case or Ash would at least be serviceable, enough to win 8-9 games if the running game and defense played really well. The defense is playing great, the running backs who are still healthy are running well, but neither quarterback is the answer long term; if they are the future, the future will be filled with Insight Bowl trips.
After Gilbert proved once and for all that he wasn't capable in the 2nd game of the year this season, Mack finally came to the realization that a change had to be made. The Longhorns rallied to win vs. BYU, crushed UCLA, and went into the Oklahoma game ranked in the top 10. At that point we all knew that the two young quarterbacks would probably have a rough day in their first Red River Shootout, but we hoped to see signs of future greatness, hoped to see them at least compete...they combined for 4 turnovers and 1 touchdown. At that point the coaches turned away from McCoy to the freshman David Ash. We were told that Ash was the better athlete, had the stronger arm, and had prototypical QB size; all things we heard about Garrett Gilbert. We quickly found out that the label of Ash as more of a runner than passer was true; Ash had 0 touchdowns and 6 interceptions in his 5 starts.
Is Case McCoy the long-term answer? Is he a great quarterback? Obviously no to both questions, but in the short term I believe he gives the Longhorns the best chance to win. Right now OC Bryan Harsin isn't asking much of his young quarterbacks, throw some screens, connect on a 5 yard slant route, and pick up an occasional 3rd down to help out the running game. While McCoy lacks the athleticism and arm strength of Ash, he no doubt has much better accuracy and a much better chance of completing the short throws needed to move the chains. Perfect example, in the 2nd quarter the Longhorns ran a pass play that had Goodwin wide open on a short slant route, Ash throws the pass a good 3 yards behind his target, it gets picked, and Kansas State gets a free field goal off a Texas mistake. Doesn't that perfectly sum up the Texas season? The offense puts the defense in an awful spot, but the defense finds a way to hold the opponent to 3 points. Unfortunately, the offense hasn't been able to answer. The Longhorns held the Wildcats to 121 total yards and quarterback Collin Klein to 97 rushing yards under his season average.It's a frustrating shame to waste these kind of defensive efforts.
For now, I'd play McCoy. Their depth chart right now shows them as co-starters, maybe they go back to switching out every other play as a part of different packages. At this point they have no where else to turn; freshman Connor Wood from Houston transferred to Colorado after losing out in the quarterback battle during camp. Is there any reason for hope? If so they need incoming freshman Connor Brewer out of Scottsdale, Arizona to be the real deal. Brewer is 6-2, 195 lb, 4 star, pro-style prospect according to Rivals. Bryan Harsin recruited him, hopefully that means something since the previous recruiters have missed on their last 3 swings. Whoever their QB is, he'll have plenty of talent around him with freshmen Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron, and Jordan Shipley returning, plus 5 star recruit Jonathan Gray at RB and 5 star recruit Cayleb Jones at WR coming in. The offense has plenty of bullets, they just need a trigger man.