Rising from the Ashes.
I'm back from a great vacation in Denmark. The current fashion trend in Europe is best described as faggy bike messenger, shants aren't merely restricted to wiggers and Kevin Smith as they are in the States, and there are more good looking women per square meter in downtown Copenhagen than a coke queue in a Las Vegas suite at Bellagio. I'm also pleased to report that the United States, once the world's clear leader in morbid obesity, is now facing stiff competition from our once healthier European cousins, particularly ZEE GERMANS, who choose to showcase their corpulence in lime green pants instead of America's preferred Husker Nation tee and crocs.
Additionally, Danish food is shockingly good, Danes all speak four languages and better English than I do, I wish Vikings were still sacking European coastal towns in longships, and my girlfriend won a half marathon in rural Jutland and received half of a lamb as first prize.
Some Longhorn stuff went down, too. Let's talk Ash, preseason rankings, precocious freshmen...
David Ash is our starting QB. Well, no shit. Although Harsin intimated that we could see both QBs against Wyoming and this has led to wild speculation and rampant internet seated peeing that we're faced with some sort of rotation or that there's even a McCoy package - a fairly hilarious concept - it's pretty clear to me that our staff has decided that David Ash's make-up is such that he needs to be challenged and threatened with his job in order to spark his competitiveness. And it's technically true to say that both QBs will play when Ash leaves the game in the early 4th quarter with the Horns up 35-7. My lazy, uninformed read was that Ash is a player who needs support and confidence and carrots over spurs, but this suggests - in combination with some practice reports I've heard - that our coaches believe that the best way to snap him out his nice-guy, easy-going ways and spark some fire and edge in him is to give him a good slap from time-to-time and create focus. I'm guessing they have a better read on it than we do.
Although Case McCoy has improved and worked hard to overcome his physical limitations, he still can't threaten a defense outside the hashes and his self-sacking tendencies and Soviet mechanics will reappear in game situations. It's a triumph that he turned himself into a serviceable back-up and he should be appreciated on that basis.
The coaches don't completely believe in Ash - nor should they - and if he implodes or is injured, it makes sense to have Case McCoy mentally bought in to bring him in to win games for us in hopes of salvaging a season. Remember the Ash Package last year? It wasn't because David was a special runner. The coaches knew that there was a reasonable likelihood that Gilbert would go up in flames, McCoy wasn't ready, and they wanted to obviate risk. Same situation here.
If that makes you uneasy, well, tough shit. Blind faith in Ash won't help him play better.
Count me among the rare few that doesn't really care about the timing or reassurance of naming a starting QB. David Ash is the guy until he's not. Wanting a starting QB named back in the Spring is an illusion of certainty that has no bearing on the actual play on the field and it's mostly about what makes us feel good, or a chance to hold forth on Mack Brown's imagined bungling. Why manufacture bungling when there's been so much real bungling?
If David Ash can turn into former UGA QB David Greene, it's all quickly forgotten anyway.
Texas ranks #15 in the preseason AP Poll. We're edging up from the 20s as national pundits catch up to the fundamental analysis some of us were doing back in February. We can absolutely win 10 games and media infatuations with TCU, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State are likely to be peeled back soon enough. Right now, this league reads fundamentally like a two team race, likely decided in Dallas in October. That feels cocky to write after two seasons of 13-12, but whether it's OSU winning the league last year, Texas tanking in 2010, or Baylor winning 10, those who make predictions assuming the future will always resemble the past will be surprised at how many black swans are out there.
Texas Fan & His Magical Freshman infatuation. Almost more irritating than an old Mack Brown staff's tendency not to play freshmen soon enough is a fan base that has been trained by a historical lack of program development to find saviors in every true freshman at every position. What was required last year because of half a decade of staff sloth won't be needed in 2012, and, if it is, is a terrible sign of what the season holds.
- Everyone is excited about Jalen Overstreet, but his flashes are best projected to 2014 than September of this year. And maybe at LB
- Any freshman OL who helps us this year is probably bad news in the larger scheme of things, particularly if the great buzz around Luke Poehlmann is true. A true #3 OT gives us so much breathing room as we have a half dozen different combinations in the interior OL that we can make work. I'm for redshirting as many young OL as we can possibly get away with
- Malcom Brown and Johnathan Gray are both legitimately that good, but it will take a little time to integrate both as the depth charts ahead of each aren't exactly sparse. That's why an opening three of Wyoming, New Mexico, Ole Miss is so welcome - they can get garbage snaps and take some learnings lumps without consequence in time to set them up for the big games. Gray may be a surprisingly tricky integration, particularly if he doesn't show reliable ball-handling and feel in the Wildcat before @ OSU, WVU, OU and Brown and Bergeron are running shit at halfback
- Young help at wide receiver, like OL, is needed, but a negative indicator of overall program health. It's probably good news, not bad news, if John Harris or Bryant Jackson secures a #4 or #5 WR job as it probably means they're showing something rather than Texas exhibiting staff risk avoidance
- Help on defense from youngsters is mostly about an embarrassment of riches. If Duke Thomas or Hassan Ridgeway fight their way on to the field, it's more about their talent level than deficiencies above them
- We now have a staff that played every freshman that could possibly help us last year. They took the lumps and the criticism. At one point, we started true freshmen at CB, LT, QB, RB, and WR. Erase your historical lazy staff memes. If one of our favorite precocious freshmen isn't playing, it's probably because there's a junior or senior playing better. Occam's Razor is now back in fashion on the 40 Acres. Use it