If a good quarterback is the key to winning in the Big 12, then the Texas Longhorns should feel good about their chances in 2013.
Junior QB David Ash was one of only two QBs to attend Big 12 media days this year (joining Kansas’ Jake Heaps), and the fact that he was the unquestioned starter at media days gave UT a situation unlike that of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU.
“It feels different being ‘the guy’ and knowing you have the support,” Ash said, “and you don’t have to worry so much about keeping your job as much as you have to worry about winning games.”
A dual threat, Ash was sixth in the conference a year ago with 236.7 combined yards per contest.
“He’s leading the team much better, and they believe in him right now,” UT coach Mack Brown said. “Sitting here the last two years, I haven’t been able to say that.”
Ash isn’t the only reason the Longhorns are optimistic about 2013.
Brown returns nine offensive starters on what he believes will be a “mature” group.
“I think the thing that’s going to help us is that we’re going to be very good at what we do,” Ash said. “There’s not going to be a lot of having to learn new things all the time.”
Texas is switching to an up-tempo offense this year, and after averaging 69 plays per game a year ago, Brown hopes to get that number above 80 this season.
Defensively, the coach is relying most on preseason All-Big 12 picks Jackson Jeffcoat (defensive line) and Jordan Hicks (linebacker).
“Both of them have been hurt over the last two years, and they have been a focal point of our leadership,” Brown said. “They’ve had great summers. They’re both in great shape.”
Because of recent disappointing seasons, the outlook on Texas seems to be mixed. The Longhorns were picked fourth in the conference by media members while also ranking fourth in the nation in analyst Phil Steele’s preseason poll.
“When you look at us being voted fourth (in the conference), I thought what we saw is the numbers are all really, really close, and people are confused on who they think may win this conference championship,” Brown said. “That’s a compliment to our league.”