Ash Looking for Strong Close

Texas quarterback David Ash is looking to end his sophomore season on a high note.

When David Ash was replaced in the TCU game, and missed the Kansas State game with a rib injury, it was easy to wonder whether the Longhorns had another quarterback controversy on their hands.

But after new offensive coordinator Major Applewhite took over the job, one of the first things the offensive staff did was come to a decision: if Ash is healthy, he's the guy for the Alamo Bowl.

And so a healthy Ash sat across from media members Tuesday, looking forward to the Longhorns' next challenge.

"I am really excited," Ash said. "I have been through a lot, obviously, in the couple years I have been here. I guess the coaches and God keep giving my opportunities to do something I love with people I love. I will always be thankful for that.

"[Playing the Alamo Bowl] will be fun because friends and family will be able to drive down, and we will get to play in front of some of the people who have supported you throughout the season, too," Ash said.

Last year, Ash's performance in the Holiday Bowl spring-boarded him into the front-runner's spot for the quarterback job. And for the most part, he didn't disappoint, finishing in the top 20 nationally in Passing Efficiency, completing 67.7 percent of his throws for 2,458 yards and 17 touchdowns to seven interceptions.

The next step, according to Texas coach Mack Brown, is to improve his ability to overcome poor starts.

"When he started poorly, he had more trouble than when he started right, but he had some great games and we need to build on those," Brown said.

Helping with that effort will be Applewhite, who knows a thing or two about playing quarterback on the 40 Acres.

"I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Applewhite," Ash said. "It was cool whenever I found out he was going to be my coach. Things that he had told me—never a lot but every once in a while he would give me a piece of advice and all those things he had told me before had flashed in my head, and I realized that everything he has ever told me has been spot on. It has really helped me and working with him the past couple weeks has been awesome. I love the guy, and I am really looking forward to play for him.

"He has experienced all the things we are going through and he knows how to deal with [them] … that is really helpful," Ash said.

Applewhite has already shifted to the primary play-caller and game-planner for the Oregon State game.

"There are multiple," Ash said of the Beavers. "They do a lot of different things. They are well coached. They play hard. They have some special players on their defense, but we are just going to do what we do and compete for four quarters."

Ash said doing so was important.

"It means win number nine, which is an improvement from last year," Ash said. "It is also a jump start into off-season with a good taste in your mouth and a hunger to get better and win more than nine next year."

Texas junior offensive guard Mason Walters said Ash was built to overcome adversity.

"When you say he's stoic that's great for us when there's a storm coming and we're having to batten down the hatches and weather it," Walters said. When we get the momentum, he's starting in practice, and late in the season, to get the guys riled up and ride that momentum.

"David and Case [McCoy] have both worked extremely hard all season long," Walters said. "Whenever the opportunity comes for either one of them to get out there and play, they've earned it. It'll be exciting for David. At the same time, Case will be right there, and if anything happens he can jump in and play well."

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