AUSTIN, Texas -- Mack Brown is preaching patience when it comes to his quarterbacks.
And the Texas coach is trying to use the past as part of his lesson.
“We cussed Vince Young around here for two years and he looked pretty good last night,” Brown said, referring to Young’s start and win for Philadelphia on Sunday night.
“We cussed Colt McCoy, he’s too young, small school, he’s not going to be tough enough to stand up here, and he looked pretty good yesterday,” he said of Cleveland’s quarterback.
“We cussed Chris Simms,” he added. “And he was 25-7 and beat the Aggies three out of four.”
It’s true those quarterbacks may have suffered criticism at the hands of an expectant fan base. But there is a difference in what Young, McCoy and even Simms accomplished as compared to what has gone on this season with the quarterbacks.
In Young’s first year, it was more the coaches taking the brunt of the criticism for not playing Young from the start or subbing him in and out of games, as they did in a bowl game loss to Washington State.
In 2003, Young, a redshirt freshman, was 84-of-143 for 1,115 yards, seven interceptions and six touchdowns. He rushed for 998 yards and 11 touchdowns. Texas made it to the Holiday Bowl.
Simms, a highly touted prospect, didn’t play much his freshman year. As a sophomore he was 67-of-117 for 1,064 yards with seven interceptions and eight touchdowns.
McCoy, who also redshirted, was 217-of-318 for 2,570 yards with seven interceptions and 29 touchdowns in his first year. McCoy did suffer a sophomore slump in 2007 and threw 18 picks. But Texas went 10-3.
Now as for comparing David Ash to those quarterbacks, all had at least a year of seasoning before being thrown into the fire. Ash started the fifth game of his career and has played in every game of his true freshman season.
That fact cannot be underestimated. To start as a true freshman at quarterback is rare and, as is evidenced by its rarity, extremely difficult.
But comparing him to Mack Brown’s most successful quarterbacks is a stretch.
Simms, Young and McCoy had visible evidence that there was hope on the horizon. Those three were maligned only when they didn’t live up to the potential that even casual watchers of the game knew they had.
It’s hard to say that same hope is being held in the current case. And that might be more due to circumstance than Ash. Texas is coming off a losing season and has gone through a season-long quarterback controversy.
But, then there are the facts. Simms, Young and McCoy all had a better stats and records than Ash has at this point.
Again, Ash is a true freshman. But it is hard to overlook the fact that he has been under center for 53 drives over the past five games and not thrown a touchdown pass. In the past two games, Ash has not led any sort of touchdown drive.
Those stats are bound to generate criticism. That criticism is hard to deflect no matter how hard you try or how far you reach back in history.