Four Downs: Rethinking the QB debate

Each week Sean Adams hits on four topics around the Texas Longhorns and the world of college football.

1st Down: Who still doesn’t believe that two quarterbacks will play?

Mack Brown said, “We’re having more consensuses that both can play right now and still win a game for us. Most of the time around here, we haven’t had a backup quarterback that could go in and win.”

Maybe we all have been looking at this quarterback issue in the wrong framework. Most members of the media, and the fans for that matter, have been looking at the QB competition as a mock trial in law school. We looked at it as if we were going through the process but the concept was not real because we already knew the result.

I know now that I was assuming this was a cursory procedure but that has changed. Both quarterbacks are better than they were a year ago. Texas might have been making their quarterback choice in 2011 based on picking the lesser of two ill-prepared quarterbacks, now that choice is made in a much more positive posture.

Both quarterbacks are better and both seem to be more prepared to take the reins of the Longhorns in 2012. While I still believe David Ash will trot out for the first offensive play against Wyoming, I say so now understanding that he will be forced to earn it in every single way. That’s the way it should be.

Would every Longhorns fan rather have one quarterback? Yes. Maybe it is time that we took advice from my grandmother who always said, “We have to deal in what is, instead of what we hope.”

2nd Down: The key word was ‘Badly’

One of my favorite singing groups of the 1990’s had a song named, “Little Things Mean a Lot.” The Longhorns are thin at a few positions and the offensive line is one of them. When Brown met with the media on Tuesday, there was one thing, besides the QBs, that everyone wanted to inquire about.

When starting right tackle Josh Cochran limped off the field on Monday, the collective heart of the Longhorns nation dropped. Everyone was looking to Brown for an update to see if the already thin offensive line had suddenly gotten thinner.

When Brown said, “No one was hurt badly,” that was music to the ears of Longhorns fans. While Brown has been very open about the progress of Luke Poehlmann, one of the worst positions on the Texas team to sustain an injury would be at offensive tackle. The Longhorns need depth for playing sake, not for replacement.

3rd Down: From scraps to riches

When Texas was in spring football, one group that needed to step up was the wide receiver position. Jaxon Shipley got hurt in 2011, John Harris got hurt in 2011, Mike Davis had a sophomore slump and Darius White never showed up, then transferred.

This year, Shipley looks as good as ever and as good as anybody in the conference. Mike Davis is poised to have a break out year. John Harris could be the season’s biggest surprise. Marquise Goodwin is about as consistent a guy as you will find and freshmen like Kendall Sanders and Marcus Johnson have shown that they might be ready to contribute early.

Throw all of that in a pot for a team that will concentrate on the run, and the Texas staff felt good enough to move up-and-coming receiver Miles Onyegbule to tight end where his growing size could contribute to a group that needs to get better.

4th Down: Mack’s confidence means the world to Texas

A confident Brown means that he is feeling really good about the direction of the program. He is not poor-mouthing and he is not adjusting expectations. He is talking about his football team and while he has to be honest and point out opportunities to improve and build depth, he likes this team a lot.

Texas is a very talented team. There is confidence and continuity on the coaching staff. There is great momentum based on the trajectory of the program from 2010 to 2011 to winning the bowl game and having a successful spring in 2012.

Brown can be hyperbolic on the down side of his program or about the possibilities of another program, but never on the high side of his own program. If he is feeling good about his team, those feelings are real and history has told us to listen. He told us his Texas team was good in 2002 and they were. He told us in 2004 and 2005 that they were good and they were. He told us again in 2008 and 2009 and he was right.

Make sure you listen this time.