"Case McCoy will start at quarterback," said Texas coach Mack Brown. "David Ash is questionable for the game. We hope he's available, but we're not sure at this point how much he'll practice or whether he'll play."
"Obviously, where David's at, it's the right thing to do," added Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin.
But if Ash were healthy, would he still be the starter? Ash struggled mightily against TCU, costing Texas two scoring chances with costly interceptions and setting up a TCU touchdown with a fumble.
"I think this week would be a week that both those guys would have opportunities to compete as the week went on," Harsin said.
That's a conflict that Texas will be able to avoid, for now. With Ash's injury, McCoy heads into the Kansas State game as the guy, listed as the starter with Ash as the No. 2.
In limited reps, McCoy actually has a higher passer efficiency rating than Ash does. McCoy has hit on 28-of-42 passes (66.7 percent) for four touchdowns and one interception. Last season, as Texas's primary starter for much of the year, McCoy started in three road wins over bowl teams (UCLA, Iowa State and Texas A&M).
McCoy's last start came at Baylor a year ago, when he set a career high with 356 yards passing and three touchdowns. But he also threw four interceptions, which helped swing the tide to the Bears in a 48-24 defeat. Ash started in the Holiday Bowl, then beat out McCoy in the spring and fall, starting every game since.
But that doesn't mean McCoy, who led a comeback over Kansas and nearly brought Texas back against TCU, doesn't have his own positives.
Case provides another dimension too," Harsin said. "He's a guy that can get out of things. He's showed he can scramble. Case does a nice job of moving in the pocket or moving around and getting out in space. So there's some things there that we can do to try to get him moving a bit more."
But don't expect any huge shifts to Texas's offensive philosophy. When asked about how much the offense would alter, Harsin responded "very small changes."
"Nothing's going to be drastic," Harsin said. "There's nothing that we're going to change gameplan-wise for either one of the guys that's just so different because of their styles. Because they've been practicing the same gameplans together all year."
While McCoy's promotion won't cause any major changes to the offense, that might not be the case if McCoy is forced to leave. If Ash isn't able to go, the third-string quarterback is listed as senior punter Alex King. King's promotion comes because Texas would like to keep the redshirts on true freshmen Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet.
One of the Big 12's top punters with a 45.5-yards-per-punt average, the 6-2, 205-pound King was an All-New England Class A first-team selection as a quarterback and a punter, throwing for 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns in his final two years of high school. He passed for 14 touchdowns and rushed for four more in a post-graduate season at Phillips Exeter Academy before walking on at Duke.
In part because of that experience, and just in case, Harsin actually had given King three running plays to memorize earlier in the season, in case both Ash and McCoy were "dinged" and King needed to close out a game. King worked at quarterback on Sunday, and Harsin conceded that his package needed to grow with his contingency plan moved up.
"He's played quarterback," Harsin said. "He's been in that position at Duke as well. Alex really, from a mindset standpoint, he's got the mindset you want at quarterback as well. He's very good about just understanding and grasping things quickly.
"But right now, he's not the final answer if we got into that situation," Harsin said. "We have other guys on the offensive side that can do things back there with our Wildcat formations, and we've had Shipley back in the backfield there. So there are other answers if we get into that position. But Alex also provides to where you can go in there and have a small package for him to operate and do some things and really to not be completely overwhelmed doing that."
As for who would be the final answer as Texas's quarterback in the future, Harsin said he wasn't ready to make any determinations.
"I'm not going to make any decisions on that right now," Harsin said. "To be honest with you, the whole focus is getting Case prepared to go play against K-State. And then the future … there's no future beyond K-State right now."