The starting quarterback situation with the Texas Longhorns remains fluid — as in constantly moving, not necessarily fluid in performance.
Uncertainty surrounds the Longhorns after finishing 5-7 last season, and the biggest question mark is quarterback.
Although mistake-prone junior Garrett Gilbert didn't perform nearly as well as anticipated last season with 17 interceptions and 10 touchdown passes, he began fall practice with the starting unit.
A shaky scrimmage from Gilbert on Aug. 13 (which media were not allowed to attend) immediately enhanced the chances of backups Case McCoy, a sophomore and younger brother of former UT great Colt McCoy, redshirt freshman Connor Wood and true freshman David Ash, who arrived on campus in January.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown said from the outset that equal practice time would be given to Ash, who has shown tremendous confidence and leadership since his arrival – two traits Brown has stressed at the position.
“He's a fiery guy,” senior free safety Blake Gideon has said of Ash. “It's serious for him, and we could tell that from the start.”
Tailback Fozzy Whittaker said Ash is “stepping into a leadership role and I feel like, as time goes on, he'll be a predominant leader for this team.”
Whoever starts at quarterback will need some serious help.
Last season, Texas ranked 116th of 120 FBS teams in turnover margin (minus-12), 103rd in passing efficiency (111.2), 88th in scoring offense (23.8), 58th in total offense (382.5) and 50th in passing offense (232.0).
The Longhorns have six new members on their coaching staff. They include tri-offensive coordinators Major Applewhite (running backs), a former UT standout quarterback, Bryan Harsin (quarterbacks), who was an assistant for 10 seasons at Boise State, and former Oklahoma and Oklahoma State assistant Darrell Wyatt (wide receivers).
“We have a new offense to figure out, a new defense to figure out. We have positions to figure out,” Brown said at Big 12 Media Days. “Obviously the quarterback position has to be figured out, and we've got to figure out who we feature in all the different schemes with a lot of new coaches.
“There's some anxiety with it, but there's some excitement with it at the same time, and we've got to do a good job coaching this year, and we're aware of that. We've got to make some good decisions, we've got to make some hard decisions, and we've got to make the decisions work.”