Football

Will The QB Shuffle Work

Maybe Bryan Harsin is a true genius, a football innovator of historic proportion, an offensive savant. Or, maybe he’s just crazy as a loon.
On Monday, Texas coaches announced that they have decided that the Longhorns will proceed into the remainder of the 2011 season with not one, but TWO quarterbacks who will split time, beginning with Saturday’s game against the UCLA Bruins. The move was not surprising, because the original starting quarterback, Garrett Gilbert, struggled mightily against the BYU Cougars last Saturday.

Clearly, naming Case McCoy as the starting quarterback for Texas was the only move Mack Brown and Bryan Harsin could make, especially after an off-season of talking about accountability. Brown was forced to back up those words after Gilbert tossed his second interception against the Cougars on Saturday evening. Had Gilbert remained the starting quarterback this week, Brown/Harsin would’ve risked losing the locker room completely.The surprising part of this news was certainly not that McCoy is now the starter, but rather how convinced Brown/Harsin is that the platoon system of McCoy and David Ash will work. God or Darrell Royal – not necessarily in that order – once said that if you have two quarterbacks, that means you don’t have any. Other than Leak-Tebow at Florida, or maybe Muecke-Carlson at Baylor back in the day, revolving door quarterbacks is a disaster waiting to happen.After all, when McCoy is in the game, the Longhorns will likely pass; when Ash is in the game, the Longhorns will likely run. If you and I know that already, don’t you think Oklahoma knows it, too? And heck, Harsin even said he could envision a scenario by which Gilbert could return as the starter. Huh?But Brown has complete faith in Harsin, who clearly believes he can keep the element of surprise in his game plan while rotating McCoy and Ash. At least a part of Brown’s legacy at Texas will be defined by how well this experience plays out over the next couple of months. Win, and Brown/Harsin will be lauded; lose, and they will be grilled like link sausage on Labor Day.Then again, isn’t that always the case anyway?Whether the experiment will work is anybody’s guess. Neither McCoy nor Ash was made available to the media, so we’re not sure how they feel about this turn of events. All that is known for sure is that both will see snaps this weekend.Is Harsin a mad scientist discovering the polio vaccine, or was God (or Darrell Royal) right about having too many quarterbacks? We will know the answer by Thanksgiving; or, maybe, by Saturday night.