Think about it: how many teams have a quarterback who looks like he'll be the second team guy (in Case McCoy), who won three road games in the previous year? Only five Big 12 quarterbacks won three road starts in the 2011 season: Brandon Weeden, Landry Jones, Collin Klein, Seth Doege and McCoy. Doege is a bit of a paper tiger there, in that two of his wins came against Kansas and New Mexico, teams that combined to go 3-21 last year and win a total of one conference game between them (though he did beat Oklahoma as well). Weeden was a Heisman candidate, and both Jones and Klein are expected to be there this year.
That leaves McCoy, who won three road games against bowl teams in Iowa State and UCLA, and Texas A&M. True, all three teams finished the regular season at 6-6, but those aren't necessarily easy places to win at. Just ask Oklahoma State (fell at Iowa State), California (lost at UCLA) and Baylor (lost at Texas A&M).
So it appears that, no matter what happens, Texas will be in a better place with regard to a two-deep than just about anybody in the conference (Oklahoma is the main exception).
But nobody gets excited talking about the No. 2 quarterback at this time of year. Instead, the focus is on who's No. 1, and I think that will be David Ash. The coaches can slow-play it all they want — offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said the two quarterbacks were pretty split in terms of performances — we were able to see three practices, two open practices and the spring game, and Ash outperformed McCoy at each of those three practices.
Of course, it might just be that those were the practices that Ash won, and that McCoy was better through most of the closed practices. It's just not very likely. And McCoy turned the ball over more times at the spring game (twice) than Ash did in all three open practices (zero).
Please, don't think that I'm down on McCoy. As I said earlier, he led the Longhorns to three road victories over bowl teams. And his statistics weren't actually that bad … certainly better than Ash's. But Ash was fresh out of high school, and didn't get the needed repetitions in the spring because the coaches were largely checking out the three older quarterbacks. That means that he had plenty of room to grow.
And grow he did. Ash looked so much more confident this spring, making better decisions, and ultimately, better throws. He looked ready to take command of the job, and also didn't have the look of a quarterback competing in a position battle. Some springs, you can head to practice and tell that a school is trying to choose between two signal-callers. And others, you go out and it appears that one quarterback has a hold on the job, ahead of the others. Just judging from the open practices, it appeared to be the latter situation.
Yet McCoy still has plenty of value. Not only does he have experience, both as a starter and as a backup coming in to clean up messes, but his spot on the roster ensures that promising freshman Connor Brewer can be redshirted. Brewer had a nice spring game as well, hitting on four of his seven passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. And two of those incompletions were dropped. He was sacked twice, and he'll need to get rid of the ball a bit more quickly. But he didn't appear to be a shell-shocked freshman in his first spring game.
All of which is positive for the fall. If you listed your own goals for the quarterback position coming out of the spring, it would be 1) to find your starting quarterback (check, despite what the coaches say), 2) to build a reliable backup option (definite check here) and 3) get your freshman some positive repetitions while still allowing him time to develop (and another check). So Texas had an excellent spring at this position, one that will only continue to get stronger with the enrollment of Jalen Overstreet, a mobile dual-threat option, before the fall.