Colt McCoy might be to blame for all this.
He was just too good, too consistent and stuck around too long.
Four years is a long time in college football. Four years as a starting quarterback is an eternity.
But that’s what McCoy was for Texas, a prolific, successful, four-year quarterback who took Mack Brown to the cusp of another national championship.
Now the Longhorns are paying for it. Because while McCoy was winning, other quarterbacks, future starters, guys with potential, were either being left behind or stacking up on the Texas bench.
Think about it, after McCoy took off in 2006, Texas recruited G.J. Kinne in 2007 and didn’t sign a quarterback in 2008.
Kinne saw the writing on the wall and transferred to Tulsa. Texas didn’t get anyone good in 2008 because McCoy was so good. No one wanted to wait behind him.
“… no one wants to stay as a second-teamer,” Brown said. “I’m either starting or I am out of here.”
Brown had seen it happen with Jevan Sneed after one year against McCoy and even Ryan Perrilloux who was supposed to sign in the same class with McCoy but at the last minute bolted to LSU.
So here Texas is in 2009, knowing it is McCoy’s last year, knowing it has to get a quarterback. Garrett Gilbert was the No. 2 quarterback nationally. He was local. And he signed. It looked like the perfect fit.
Gilbert, maybe because Texas did a poor job of getting him game time as a freshman while McCoy blew out team after team, was an imperfect quarterback.
Had Texas recruited a quarterback in 2008, maybe it would have had an alternative to Gilbert in 2010. Had Kinne stayed he certainly could have been that player. But Texas didn’t have a backup. Gilbert became a shell of his former self, and the coaching staff -- reluctant to play true freshman Connor Wood or Case McCoy for more than one passing play -- sat back and allowed it to happen.
Before you light the torches and go after the staff, Texas is not the only school where such peril befalls the quarterback position after a long-time highly-successful, very-talented starter leaves.
After Tim Tebow left Florida following 2009, the Gators went 8-5 with John Brantley throwing 10 interceptions against nine touchdowns. Obviously Cam Newton being excused from the program after his freshman season contributed heavily to the QB issues. Still, this past season Florida was 7-6. Quarterback issues were again at the center of their problems.
So it happens.
The solution is to have some separation between quarterbacks. Because Texas failed in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 to recruit a quarterback who decided to stay at the school, it hasn’t had that luxury.
And now what it is stuck with is a sophomore as the penciled in starter, David Ash, a junior as the backup, Case McCoy, and a freshman, Connor Brewer, who is immediately the fan favorite but would be better off being redshirted.
“The way it works, is if you have an older one, a younger one may stay,” Brown said. “Most of ours have been two stars about the same age, and one of them is going to leave. That is where it has been difficult. So we need to get back to where we have some older ones and some younger ones and the younger one can redshirt.”
That is why Texas will be pushing Ash as the starter in 2012. The prevailing thought is that if Ash can simply manage the game, not turn the ball over and put it in the hands of the right people, Brewer will have time to develop and be ready for 2013.
That is the season Brown and all the coaches point toward as the possible reemergence of Texas football on a national scene.
“We will be a much better team two years from now, than we will be next year, because we will have a senior team for the first time in two or three years,” Brown said.
That is, if the Longhorns have a quarterback by then.