Who is David Ash?
“I don't know,” said Oklahoma nickelback Tony Jefferson.
“Who's that?” said veteran linebacker Travis Lewis.
“I don't know who he is,” said linebacker Corey Nelson.
Oklahoma's defensive players were stumped when asked about Ash after Saturday's 62-6 win over Ball State. But they will quickly become very familiar with the 6-foot-3, 215-pound strong-arm freshman from Belton, Texas.
Ash is alternating with Case McCoy, the two quarterbacks the Sooners will face Saturday afternoon in the Cotton Bowl.
The Ash pop quiz at least verifies players weren't looking ahead to Texas.
“I thought (Garrett) Gilbert was the quarterback,” Jefferson said when told Ash is a co-starter.
Uh, Gilbert was benched to third team, then was declared out for the season following shoulder surgery.
So you know nothing about Ash?
“I will (Sunday),” Jefferson said.
“I'll have to start watching film,” said linebacker Tom Wort. “I haven't paid much attention to Texas.”
OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables said he's well aware of Ash.
“David Ash is very talented,” Venables said. “We know about him and our players are going to know what we know.”
Venables said it's similar to when the Sooners faced other first-time Texas starters in the Cotton Bowl.
“I go back to Major Applewhite and his first game (against us), Vince Young in his first game and Colt McCoy in his first game,” Venables said.
McCoy and Ash have combined to complete nearly 70 percent of their passes for four TD passes with zero interceptions.
Much of Texas' unexpected 5-7 meltdown last season was attributed to Gilbert, who threw 17 interceptions and only 10 touchdowns.
The Longhorns' biggest problem was turnovers. Texas finished 116th nationally among 120 teams in turnover margin (minus 12).
This season, Texas is among the top 10 nationally in turnover margin (plus-six).
Bolstered by talented freshman running back Malcolm Brown, a solid defense and minimizing turnovers, the Longhorns are much improved.
In a lopsided win Saturday over Iowa State, a game Texas led 34-0 at halftime, Ash and McCoy combined to go 14-of-24 for 255 passing yards and two scores, both Ash TD passes. And zero interceptions.
“David Ash has a huge arm,” Venables said. “He's very athletic. He's tough. He's competitive. He had a great fall camp. When he's gotten into the game they've been very productive. They're undefeated. He's been an integral part in the success they've had this year.”
Lewis said the more critical variable is Texas' new offensive coordinator, Bryan Harsin, who arrived from Boise State.
A film junkie, Lewis watched some Boise State film over the summer just to get a head start on the Longhorns.
“It's not the quarterback, it's mainly the system they're in,” Lewis said. “I'm sure they'll have packages for their new quarterbacks. I don't know if (Ash) is a runner or thrower. It's not as much the quarterback as the new system we have to prepare for.”
Wort was anxious to get in the film room to study Texas' new-look quarterbacks.
“Anytime you're playing as a freshman you know he's talented,” Wort said. “Just like any quarterback we'll have to try to rattle him a little bit, get him unsettled.”