Big 12 football: Texas QB David Ash has come a long way since last season

The sophomore was named Davey O'Brien National Quarterback of the Week after stellar game against Ole Miss
by Michael Baldwin Published: September 17, 2012
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photo - Texas quarterback David Ash (14) fights through an attempted tackle by Mississippi defensive end Channing Ward (11) in the second quarter of their NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. Texas won 66-31. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) ORG XMIT: MSRS124
Texas quarterback David Ash (14) fights through an attempted tackle by Mississippi defensive end Channing Ward (11) in the second quarter of their NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. Texas won 66-31. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) ORG XMIT: MSRS124

Texas' biggest question mark entering the football season was whether the Longhorns had a quarterback capable of producing big plays.

David Ash was named the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback of the Week after the sophomore completed 19 of 23 passes for a career-high 326 yards and four touchdowns in Texas' 66-31 win over Ole Miss.

“We feel we took a major step forward in our passing game,” said Texas coach Mack Brown. “We have to continue to throw it down field. We've been pleased with our running game. It was really physical Saturday night. But our ability to throw the ball down field has to pick up, and it started Saturday night.”

Brown said Ash has come a long way since he was the fourth-team quarterback entering last season. Case McCoy and Garrett Gilbert were listed 1-2 on the depth chart. Connor Wood redshirted. When Gilbert transferred, Ash suddenly was in the mix as a true freshman.

“At the start, we had a little option package for him,” Brown said. “It's probably more on us (as coaches) than David last year that we put him out there in front of 101,000 people and he had his little package. What limited thing we asked him to do he did well early.

“After Garrett transferred, (Ash) took it all on himself. It was very difficult when we put the whole package on him. That probably was too much. We saw him grow a lot (in the bowl game and offseason)... Our last scrimmage before our first game, he hit 14 of 15 passes. He's very accurate.”

SMITH COMPILES GAUDY STATS

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has thrown nine touchdown passes and only nine incomplete passes. Smith leads the Big 12 in total offense (408.5 yards a game) and passing yards (367.0).

What stands out is Smith has completed 86 percent of his passes.

“He's being doing it all camp,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “You have to look at what he did during the offseason from a physical standpoint. Something happens to guys when they're seniors. His body is different. He's bigger, he's stronger, he's faster, he's more confident.”

Smith has rushed for 83 yards in two games, but Holgorsen said Smith's role is to use his arm not his legs.

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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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