Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin doesn't sound like he plans on officially naming a starting quarterback this spring. In fact, it could be just days before Texas' season opener against Rice on Sept. 3.
"I’ve been through this situation before,” Harsin told reporters after Tuesday's practice. "We’ve always got to have that point before the first game [when the decision is made]. That can be a week, that can be 10 days, that can be two weeks."
Garrett Gilbert started all 12 games last season, but coach Mack Brown said in January that the job was open, along with every other spot on the depth chart for the Longhorns. Connor Wood, Case McCoy and David Ash will spend the spring, summer and fall trying to oust Gilbert.
Brown told ESPN.com last week that the team's first seven practices are reserved for learning -- at every position -- the new system, and the final eight spring practices would be for establishing separation. But Harsin says he plans to put his quarterbacks in game situations next fall and "base our decision off that."
What does Harsin, who is also the team's quarterbacks coach, want to see?
"There are four things that we talked about, and this is just quarterback play in general. One is toughness. Two is preparation. Number three is decision-making, and four is accuracy," Harsin told reporters. "We’ve been talking about the decision-making process while we are out there on the field, and then we have been working on the fundamentals to try to get better with our accuracy. The toughness part will come when you get into the scrimmages, when you get into those game situations where those guys will stay in the pocket and move around, or they will throw the ball away when they are supposed to and that is the only play."
Ash, an early-enrolling freshman, has impressed coaches and is being included as part of the race, which has featured all four quarterbacks working with the first and second units.
"He has done a nice job. David is a senior in high school right now. He has come in with a great attitude. He comes into meetings prepared, and he has done a nice job out there on the field," Harsin said. "He is trying really hard with some of the new things we’re putting out there -- some of the mechanics we’ve talked about he has really caught on [to]. He is a quick learner."
Harsin says he hopes his system is quarterback-friendly, but how much the offense can do depends on the passer.
"When they get a handle and get comfortable with a system, when they start seeing things before you tell them to see it, then you’re getting to the next step and you can add more to what their package is going to be," he said.