QB controversy might be back

AUSTIN, Texas -- Bryan Harsin wants to look at the film before he makes a decision regarding who will be the starting quarterback against Texas A&M.

That begs the question, just what, exactly, was the Texas co-offensive coordinator watching during the game?

David Ash, the starter for the last five games, had two interceptions against Kansas State. The freshman now has nine total turnovers on the season.

Ash didn't lead a touchdown drive for the second straight game. He hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since late in the fourth quarter of the Oklahoma game.

The offense Ash directed accounted for 111 yards on 41 plays. Only 35 of those yards came through the air. Those two picks led to points for Kansas State.

And ultimately Ash lost as the starter. He is now 2-3 in starts. Case McCoy is 2-1. That one loss was a horrendous affair against Oklahoma, but the wins were convincing, and they came on the road. McCoy threw two touchdowns against UCLA, which is one win away form the Pac-12 South title. He also beat Iowa State, which just upset Oklahoma State at home.

Still, Harsin wants to evaluate and keep all options open, when what's needed is consistency and a confident quarterback heading into the most important game of the season.

"Like I've said all along, we're developing two quarterbacks for these types of situations right here to be able to come in and play and win a game," Harsin said following the Kansas State loss.

The situation is now dire for Texas. The Longhorns have lost two straight games and four of their last six.

Then there sits Texas A&M on the horizon, just four short days away. The Aggies appear poised to unleash 117 years of pent-up anger on the program that is perceived to have kept them in their proper place for all those years. You can forget about the Aggies heading to La Grange after this one, they are going to the SEC. And they want to do it with a long-lasting memory.

Texas, if it continues to flounder at the quarterback spot, will more than oblige. No one is suggesting that a change at quarterback will bring about a radical turn of events. But with what has occurred in recent weeks, that change might be necessary.

Ash has been unable to generate any offense. As a starter, Ash is 60-of-110 with six picks and no touchdowns. So Ash throws a pick every 18 attempts.

One of the main reasons Ash was installed as the starter, according to the coaches, was that he could run. He does have 109 yards rushing as a starter. That's 22 yards per game. Not a bad number, but most of it was garnered on his 47-yard run against Texas Tech.

But the main tenet of this offense, as Harsin has said over and over again, is not turning the ball over.

"For us, we have to eliminate those in the pass game," Harsin said. "We have to go back and look at why they happened and try to eliminate those mistakes and move forward and help ourselves out and not put ourselves in a bad situation with turnovers. That's number one for us on offense."

McCoy hasn't thrown any interceptions. He was careless with the ball while scrambling against OU, and his two fumbles in that game cost the Longhorns two scores.

The sophomore clearly doesn't have the arm to get the ball downfield. But neither does Ash. He has three passes of more than 45 yards. On two of those passes, the receiver had to readjust and come back to the ball.

What McCoy does have is a better completion percentage. Granted he has fewer attempts, but on the season McCoy is 48-of-79 with four touchdowns.

The Aggies are a top 15 rush defense, allowing just 108 yards per game. But they are 118 out of 120 teams in pass defense, allowing 292 passing yards per game.

This will be a game where accuracy and efficiency matter. And while McCoy might not bring that much explosive athletic ability, he might just give the Texas passing game the consistency it needs.

Carter Strickland covers University of Texas football and recruiting for HornsNation

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