Texas football has undergone a massive transformation within the last few months in order to revitalize a program that has fallen away from its winning tradition. Texas’ main downfalls within the last few years have been a poor defense as well as unreliable quarterback play. The Texas defense should be exceptional due to experience and Charlie Strong’s ability to fashion sound defenses, but what about the quarterback dilemma?
The days of Vince Young and Colt McCoy have been painfully missed by the Longhorn nation. Possessing two of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game of college football within the last decade has created high standards for the program, but for the last few years they have had to settle for mediocrity at the quarterback position.
If Texas football wants to return to a championship caliber team then the quarterback play must vastly improve. There is not necessarily a need for another Vince Young or Colt McCoy, but there is a need for someone to take the reigns of managing a team in a winning fashion.
Strong has taken essential steps towards developing improved quarterback play as he quickly hired Shawn Watson, his quarterback coach from Louisville. Coach Strong and Coach Watson have had the luxury of coaching Terry Bridgewater for the last few years and have obviously been doing something right, as Bridgewater will leave Louisville this year and head into the NFL draft as a top prospect.
Strong also did an excellent job of securing the top dual-threat quarterback recruit from the state of Texas, Jerrod Heard. However, Heard will most likely be like any other freshman in that it will take some time to develop and transition from high school to college.
So what’s the deal with the quarterback situation at Texas? Let’s just say that Coach Strong and Coach Watson have not been spoiled with another Bridgewater.
David Ash, the junior from Texas, is the clear frontrunner for the job considering his experience. Ash missed nearly the complete 2013 season as he suffered from a concussion and was replaced by the senior, Case McCoy. Ash has found some success, having a 14-7 record as a starter and throwing 30 touchdowns.
After Ash, the quarterback position gets real interesting due to lack of experience. Tyrone Swoopes is a young man with a lot of potential but saw hardly any playing
time behind McCoy last season. As discussed earlier, Jerrod Heard will be a true freshman that has high potential but just needs time to develop.
Finally, there is the possibility of obtaining Max Wittek, the former USC quarterback looking to transfer. Wittek has said to be very interested in coming to Texas but he also lacks experience, only attempting 95 passes and throwing for one touchdown and six interceptions in two years.
Uncertainty fills the air of Austin when it comes to the quarterback play in 2014. David Ash appears to be the man that will take the snaps come time on opening day. He is experienced and talented, but then again, who knows how he will look after missing valuable playing and practice time. He may very well be returning to practice looking over his shoulder at a couple young and talented men seeking to snatch away the starting position.
Maybe this is what Texas needs to see improvements in their quarterback play, daily competition between men that look to lead the program. Coach Strong has made it clear that he came to Texas to win and that changes will be made to do so. He will encourage competition in practice for the quarterback job, as well as every other position, so that maybe Texas will show some fight and a will to win in the 2014 season.