Three Phases of QB Play

Texas has gone through three phases of quarterback play this season.

From Texas's start with returner and expected star David Ash to the middle stretch with Case McCoy and the last two games with McCoy, the Longhorns have seen three very different stretches of quarterback play this year. Let's take a look.

David Ash — 156.25 Passer Rating

Ash completed 53-of-87 passes for 760 yards and seven touchdowns to two interceptions, though his passer ratings got worse each game. His best game, by far, was when he torched New Mexico State for 343 yards on 20-of-28 passes and four touchdowns, though both of Ash's interceptions came in that contest. He continued that hot start in the beginning of the BYU game before faltering down the stretch (some estimates put his first concussion in the game's second quarter, and that quarter was when he made a dramatic switch from unstoppable threat to a flustered player. When he played the first half against Kansas State, the results were very un-Ash-like, with the junior quarterback hitting on just 14-of-25 passes (56 percent for a quarterback who was over 67 last year) for 166 yards. The result was Ash's worst quarterback rating of the season, though he was still on pace for more than 300 yards passing and close to 400 yards of total offense in the game.

Case McCoy, First Five Games —114.53

In the first five games, McCoy completed 62 of 102 passes for 574 yards and two touchdowns to no interceptions. But that's probably an imperfect rating, because it's hard to give McCoy blame (or credit) for situations when he was called into the game as a caretaker of sorts. McCoy threw two passes late against New Mexico State, and he was pressed into action against both BYU and Kansas State, games that David Ash started and carried for at least a half. A better look here would be to narrow our focus to the two games that McCoy started: Ole Miss and Iowa State. In those two games, McCoy completed 50 of 81 passes for 440 yards and two touchdowns to no interceptions. That's a passer rating of … 115.51. Even by taking out those three games that McCoy played parts of, it didn't really increase his rating very much.

Case McCoy, Last Two Games — 152.53

As you saw in a story earlier this week, Texas has taken several steps to make the offense more Case-friendly the past two games. That has involved a heavy reliance on the running game — Texas ran the ball on 73.2 percent of its plays against both Oklahoma and TCU. But it has also involved a steady shift in throwing philosophy, sacrificing accuracy for shot plays downfield.

The result is that McCoy's efficiency rating has skyrocketed despite a decent-sized drop in accuracy and in turnover rate. McCoy completed 61.7 percent of his passes in the Ole Miss and Iowa State starts to just 55.0 percent against Oklahoma and TCU. And McCoy finished the first five games with two touchdowns and no interceptions, but in the last two he has three touchdowns and three picks. Overall, he has hit on 22-of-40 throws for 418 yards. That's a huge increase in yards per attempt, jumping from a poor 5.43 yards per attempt against Ole Miss and Iowa State to an excellent 10.45 yards per attempt in his last two games.

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