"David Ash was out at practice [Tuesday] for the first time, he was dressed in shorts and a jersey, and he threw the ball and ran around some," Brown said. "Hopefully that's a great sign that he will be ready to return to practice next week."
According to Brown, that started Ash's one-week clock that he must go through to be eligible to play. Because Ash has twice suffered this season from concussion-like symptoms, he must go at least one week without displaying symptoms before he can be cleared to participate on a full-contact basis. If Ash can go through the rest of this week without showing symptoms, that would potentially enable him to take part in next week's first practice on Tuesday.
"He has to be cleared of symptoms, but they can't determine whether he will have symptoms or not until they let him get on a treadmill and run some and do some activity," Brown said. "So that's what they're doing with him this week to make sure. So the way I understand it, he should be ready to return to practice next Tuesday, if by doing these activities, nothing reoccurs. But he was happy to be out there and upbeat. You could tell he was excited to be back on the field, even though he did not practice. He is not going through drills. He is simply throwing the ball and doing some activities with our trainers."
Brown said it was the first time Ash had been out working out around the team since the injury.
"He was in a drill with Major to be very specific," Brown said. "He was standing and throwing with one of the other players while he was watching practice. But he stayed out there the whole time and he has been in meetings now for a week so he is making significant progress."
So how did Ash look?
"He looked the same," Brown said. "You know, again, he has to work himself back in shape. And then he and the doctors and trainers will determine whether he is available the last three games or not.
"He's doing better," Brown said. "He's still not back to where he needs to be. But I think that's a part of this process for this week. He can do all of that stuff and get his strength back as he is working back towards practice."
Ash won't make the trip to Morgantown this weekend, as the Longhorns are limited by the 70-man travel rule, and it doesn't make sense to take a player who cannot play. And Brown has mentioned in previous weeks that it will be difficult for Ash to unseat current starter Case McCoy, who appears to have the confidence of his teammates after helping the Longhorns to a 5-0 record in conference play.
But it's certainly clear that the Texas offense is more dynamic with Ash in the ball game, thanks both to his ability in the quarterback run game and his throwing ability. And should Ash get cleared to play again, it would be interesting to see how the Longhorns handle the next couple of weeks. Asking him to be ready to start next weekend's game against Oklahoma State is likely a stretch.
After that though, Texas has a bye week before taking on Texas Tech on Thanksgiving. With that extra week's preparation time, do the Longhorns prepare Ash to take the starting job? Or do they follow the Darrell Royalism and "Dance with who brung ya"? At the very least, getting Ash back would provide an experienced hand should the Longhorns need it down the stretch.