Most offenses don't have to deal with rotating two quarterbacks, especially not in an "ideal" situation. But that's precisely what the Longhorns are doing with signal callers Case McCoy and David Ash.
"They're doing a great job. Both quarterbacks have been phenomenal in terms of their preparation and leadership," Applewhite said. "That's really where the position starts. How you prepare is so important, not just for your own performance, but for the other guys so they can see how you're preparing so they can tune their own habits up like yours as a quarterback. Then your leadership. It's easy to be a leader on good days, but there have been some times at practice where they've had to pick people up, pick themselves up. They've done a great job with it."
At the same time, those two quarterbacks — both of whom use their legs extensively — are the only scholarship ones on the roster, forcing the offense to turn to a pair of former high school quarterbacks in Miles Onyegbule and Mykkele Thompson as emergency players.
"We've worked a bunch of guys because there are some roles that those guys have — both Miles and Mykkele have their own roles to fill at their primary positions — but we work both of those guys," Applewhite said. "Obviously, we are in a situation that we didn't anticipate, but we have a plan for it. So you have to work both of them because it could happen to the other one too.
"They can both throw the ball," Applewhite said. "It would surprise you if you saw it. They can both throw the ball really well. They both played the position for a while at their respective high schools."
Whoever lines up at quarterback will have the benefit of a newly developed weapon on the Longhorn offense: the tight end.
"As an offense, the first thing you want to do is attack the middle of the field," Applewhite said. "You want to attack the middle of the defense. It's the same way in all sports. The same way in basketball, you want to get the ball inside, and that's what you want to do in football. So when you have a tight end that can get over the middle and can play games with the MIKE linebacker and safeties and make them cover the middle of the field, you're in good shape."
As the team's running backs coach, as well as co-special teams coach, Applewhite will get to mix specialties this week, with Fozzy Whittaker looking to return more kicks.
We want to put some guys back there that are explosive and have done some things with the ball in their hands," Applewhite said. "It doesn't mean that D.J. [Monroe] or Marquise [Goodwin] won't have an opportunity. They're still in the batting order, but we're going to give some guys some opportunities that have some size to them. You watch some of the great returners in the NFL, guys like Darren Sproles, guys that have great quickness but they also have power and can break some tackles.