Why Ash is better than Jones

AUSTIN, Texas -- Landry Jones' slide has been significant.

Long thought to be a next-level shoo-in, the former Heisman candidate was once a standard-bearer at quarterback not just in the Big 12 but across the country.

Now the Oklahoma senior is second fiddle to Texas' David Ash. That's right, Ash is better. Now, before the Ruf/Neks take aim with their shotguns, check out the many reasons for this claim.

In the past six starts, Ash has bettered Jones in nearly every important statistical category. Jones has five interceptions to Ash's one. Ash has 12 touchdowns to Jones' eight. Ash has completed 77.5 percent of his passes. Jones has completed 61.3. Just this season Ash ranks third nationally in pass efficiency. Jones is 56th.

Of course, wasn't it Texas that said stats don't matter?

"Stats are for losers, though," Ash said earlier this year.

Well, too bad, then, because going by these stats Ash is far and away the better quarterback. And quite frankly, Ash's argument that stats are for losers really doesn't hold all that much water. After all, the quarterback with the better stats -- Ash -- also has the better record through the past six games, 5-1 as opposed to 4-2.

"Last year he had all the tools he needed to shred a defense, this year has given him the confidence to have the starting role," Oklahoma defensive end R.J. Washington said of Ash. "Letting him start and play his game has given him confidence; when you have more confidence and know your coaches are behind you, you're going to play better."

No doubt, Ash has played better, and he has the stats to back that up. After the first two games, when the offense was conservative because of the competition, the coaches opened the playbook for Ash. He has responded by completing 79.7 percent of his passes, averaging 300 passing yards per game and throwing seven touchdowns against one pick.

"He looks a lot more comfortable," said OU cornerback Aaron Colvin. "He looks like he's been there for a while; he looks somewhat like a vet. Hopefully we can make him a little uncomfortable this week and see where that leads us."

Other teams have tried it. But Ash hits better than 75 percent of his passes when an opponent rushes five or more. Plus he has been sacked only four times.

"I like where David is at," said Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin. "He's playing well. He's making good decisions. He's playing with confidence. And he's preparing himself well."

It was this game against OU a year ago that provided much of the fuel for that preparation. By his own admission, Ash was overwhelmed. Not a shocking revelation. And not one the sophomore wants to admit to again.

To make sure that didn't happen, Ash and Harsin have gone through situation after situation from the 55-17 loss to help build toward what has been a dramatic turnaround in not just Ash's game but in the offense, as well.

"There's a lot of things probably from this game last year that we were able to use in spring ball, fall camp, summer -- and look at how we played in that game," Harsin said. "And I think as you draw on those experiences, which David did, that's something that's made him a better player.

"It's made him where he is right now."

Where Ash is right now, as a sophomore, is ahead of the pace set by Colt McCoy as a sophomore -- 73.3 percent passing, 7.7 yards per pass, 10 TDs and six interceptions. And on pace to have a better season than Oklahoma's Landry Jones.