Backup quarterback plans

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas now only has two scholarship quarterbacks -- sophomore Case McCoy and freshman David Ash

Ash is an option runner as well as a thrower. He likes to lower his shoulder, get the extra yard and get right back in the huddle. And even though third-strong Garrett Gilbert is no longer an option nothing is going to change.

“We are going to do what David does best for us,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “David is tough. He's a big, strong, 225-pound guy, and even if he is not running the option, he is a guy who is going to pull the ball down. In watching him in practice, he is a guy who is going to run over people.

“He hasn't learned to slide yet.”

In fact, instead of protecting Ash for that just-in-case-moment, Texas is expanding his role.

“We are trying to progress with David's package so he can do all the things that Case can do as well as his option stuff,” Brown said. “[Co-ofensive coordinator] Bryan [Harsin] put in a play-action pass on that option and gave us two plays at UCLA that they weren’t ready for. Every week Bryan is progressing that package.”

Never mind that the package is becoming more and more valuable. If McCoy gets injured Ash will be the only scholarship quarterback. If Ash gets injured too …

“We’re holding tryouts,” Harsin said.

No need for that. Texas already has a few guys on campus and in uniform that could fill the bill.

Freshmen Miles Onyegbule and Mykkele Thompson were both high school quarterbacks. Thompson plays safety for Texas and Onyegbule is a wide receiver.

While Thompson has not been under center since high school, Onyegbule was a part of the offensive scheming in the fall.

“Miles has worked back there, not necessarily in that quarterback position, but another guy that is there like a [Jaxon] Shipley and the wild situations, he has taken some of that,” Harsin said. “If we need to, we can utilize him back there.”

Running back Fozzy Whittaker and Shipley have taken in-game snaps this season, so if Texas were to get into an emergency situation during a game it could go to either of those two guys.

“We do have a way to get out of the game,” Brown said.

It’s certainly not a satisfactory conclusion, and has coaches rethinking the game plan. Since Gilbert’s season-ending shoulder surgery, the coaches have begun scheming new ways to utilize more players and package plays to keep the defense honest and the offense moving.

“There is more than just one guy,” Harsin said. “We do not just put everything on one guy’s shoulders. We would start utilizing Shipley and start utilizing the wild package and things like that.”

They are also going to start prepping Onyegbule with a series of plays this week and continue to expand on those as the season progresses. Thompson too might take some time in practice, just in case he is needed. Neither switch would be permanent.

“If Mykkele comes over and plays quarterback,k he would be a safety who plays quarterback for 10 minutes a day,” Brown said. “It will be an emergency backup situation with a package [of plays.]”