Texas Spring Preview: QBs

Spring has always done me in, for reasons even Twain himself couldn’t explain. The weather makes me want to head to the water. The water makes me want to look at bathing suits. Then I drink and drink some more. That Samuel Clemens guy was on to something. 
“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” – Mark TwainBut, why you sit there for hours and wonder why he changed a perfectly good nom de plume, I’m going to talk some football.Spring is about rejuvenation, and, for the Texas program, re-definition. For David Ash, it’s about carpe diem. I was out with a couple subscribers last night and stated, “I’ve never seen a guy that deserves success more than David Ash.” William Munny told us, “deserves got nothing to do with it.”Ash has a chance to prove that wrong this season, but first, spring.And thus began a series.QUARTERBACKPersonnel:David Ash, 6-3, 220 lbs, Senior (with possibility of 5th year medical): Hasn’t played nearly as much football as his time on campus indicates, but he’s proven to have physical promise. He must stay healthy.Tyrone Swoopes, 6-4, 250 lbs, Soph: Thrust into action a year too early, at the very least, but has shown to have the physical traits necessary to stay at the position. As we know, quarterbacking relies on processing information and reacting to it. Those traits are often acquired with reps, something Swoopes hasn’t had enough of…yet.Miles Onyegbule, 6-4 235 lbs, Senior: With limited bodies at the position Charlie Strong and Shawn Watson identified Onyegbule as a guy who could take reps. How serious this positional flirtation remains to be seen.Questions heading into spring practice:What does Watson specifically expect from his quarterbacks? How fast can David Ash not only pick up the new offense, but also remove the rust from not playing since September? Can he find a go to deep threat after Mike Davis’ departure? Will he make reads quick and accurate enough for Watson’s liking? Does Swoopes’ skill set strike Watson as fitting what he needs or will Strong want to look at Swoopes elsewhere (doubtful, but Strong has a successful track record of moving players to positions that fit them better)? Will they look to utilize him in the quarterback run game? – ENTiming, reads, eye control, and footwork; these QB 101 fundamentals are going to be the focus this spring for Texas’ players under Watson’s jurisdiction. Has Ash grown enough that he uses the spring to begin to fine tune his eyes and arm to become a quick game master? Does he have the overall command of the schemes and reading defenses to fully unleash the potential of this system? – IBConversely, does the system unleash his potential? – ENWith Onyegbule and Swoopes this spring is going to go a long way towards telling Watson whether these guys have the natural skillsets of college QBs and whether either can be viable back-ups in 2014. Will these two force Watson to scuttle half the playbook in the event of an Ash injury? – IBWittek looms. That’s not a question. Wittek looms?- ENExpectations exiting spring practice: I think Ash will struggle a bit early in the spring with accuracy, but as practices wear on he’ll sight in his rifle and start locating targets. Swoopes is a long term quarterback in my view and I expect him to pick up the basics of Watson’s playbook rather quickly. As spring draws to an end I think Watson will be quietly confident in David Ash as a quarterback that can lead the team to 10 wins – provided he stays healthy. – ENHopefully Ash will fully graduate from the simplified offenses he ran as a freshman and sophomore and be able to spend the summer nailing down timing and reads with the Texas receiving corp to the extent Texas’ quick passing game at least approaches the precision of the 2008 unit. I think his accuracy, ability to move outside of the pocket, and hard-earned touch on deep throws will meld perfectly with Watson’s passing game. – IBI expect Onyegbule will leave spring with the needed footwork to handle handing the ball off and making a few throws if forced into duty. He’s been unable to contribute elsewhere (he needs a home) on the roster so I expect him to stick here and provide an emergency plan. Swoopes is the big question mark and I don’t have a great read on whether he’s ready to start putting it all together or not. If he doesn’t have any lights come on and Wittek joins in over the summer expect to see a position change in the fall. Watson has worked with raw materials before so he should be able to get a good read on Swoopes’ QB potential this spring. –IBBest/Worst case scenario: Best case, Ash shows he’s ready to be a premier B12 QB, Swoopes has a light come one and starts to grow into the QB of the future, and Onyegbule can handle a decent package and make some plays with his feet. Worst case, Ash is rusty and mentally hesitant after his traumatic injury, Swoopes shows no feel for the position and Onyegbule doesn’t either. –IBBest case: I know what I see in Ash and my confidence in unwavering; he’s a first round physical talent therefore Watson will extract a decent amount of value out him at the very least, but how much? Worst case: he only demonstrates physical value. Best case for Swoopes is he supplants himself as a quarterback long term. If he doesn’t, it likely stems from the worst case…his lack of confidence clouds his play. – EN