Applewhite Can Relate to Young QBs

If anybody knows what it's like to get stuck in a quarterback controversy, it's Texas offensive coordinator Major Applewhite.

But Applewhite said most of the advice he gave quarterbacks Case McCoy and David Ash dealt with how to handle things on the field, not off of it.

"I think it's emphasizing the big points," Applewhite said. "In terms of huddle management, making sure you've got 11 guys in there and the right formation. Taking care of the football. Celebrating and getting excited for the quarterback when he makes a big quarterback play. Which might be just throwing the ball away. It might be checking the ball down. Emphasizing the key things that you hear [co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach] Bryan [Harsin] talking about.

"The one thing you never want is two different messages," Applewhite said. "So I'm always very careful about that in terms of reemphasizing what Bryan's saying. We talk to them about management, talk to them about ball security, and talk to them about letting the other ten guys play for them. We say, 'Let the other ten guys play for you. You don't have to go out there and do it yourself. Those guys have got to help you along the way, too.'"

While Applewhite said he was careful to avoid giving two different messages, it does appear that the Longhorns will be going with two different quarterbacks for the time being.

"We're going to continue to develop both quarterbacks," Applewhite said. "We're going to need both of them during the six-game stretch with no off-weeks. They both need to get better, as well as the offense needs to get better. So we're going to work them both hard and get them to the top of their game. We may need to play both of them during the six-game stretch. So we're not going to sit here and make a clear-cut, clean decision and put one guy on the shelf. They both need to be there. They both need to be ready. We're going to make this more about our offense than about our quarterback situation. We're going to spend as much time deciding who starts at left tackle as we do at quarterback. So that's what it is. It's a process of getting better. Not necessarily worrying about the taglines, or the lead article, and all that kind of hoopla that you get caught up in. Let's worry about getting better. That's what our whole motto has been – brick-by-brick. We're not going to get caught up in all the other talk.

"We're going to practice them here on out every week," Applewhite said. "Both of them. See how they practice and go from there. It's not going to change. That's the process. That's how we're doing things."

Applewhite said he could relate to the process of getting better as a young quarterback.

"There are certain situations," Applewhite said. "First down, you're taking a shot down the field. You understand coach is trying to make an aggressive throw right here. If it's not there you have to throw it away and play second-and-ten. Or drop it down to the back and play second-and-five. Understanding shot-downs. You get this in your mind as a young quarterback, 'Oh, he wants this shot. I have to throw it deep.' No. If it's not there, save it. We'll come back to it later. Drop it down to the back and throw it away. Those types of things.

"I was fortunate, I was in a different situation than David and Case," Applewhite said. "There were four seniors on my offensive line. There was a senior receiver. There was a senior at tailback. There was a senior at tight end. So there was a lot of experience around me that could soothe me a little bit, especially in terms of being surrounded by other true freshman."

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