AUSTIN, Texas -- Well, that whole "RISE" slogan Texas tried to brand on everything since it was ingeniously conceived and trumpeted back in June is not working.
As if inspirational mantras ever do outside of a yoga studio.
But it has become clear that Texas cannot rise without subsequently falling -- to the same opponent, Oklahoma. Repeatedly. So it is with that in mind a meeting of the minds clearly needs to convene in order to conjure up another team slogan.
Therefore let it be noted the first suggestion put forward for a new Texas slogan is ... can we get some trumpets sounding? ... Beat Up, But Not Broken.
At least it fits for quarterback David Ash and his left wrist.
That’s right, the quarterback, who donned nothing more than what appeared to be a headless sock puppet on his wrist Monday while talking to the media, has evidently rubbed some dirt on what appeared to be a gruesome injury and is ready to play.
Looks worse than it is, he said.
Hey, wait a minute, "looks worse than it is," very well could be entry No. 2 in the new Texas slogan contest. But enough digressions. Back to the issue at hand, er, wrist.
And that issue is: Can those around Ash take note of the backbone -- not to mention an apparent lack of a central nervous system, as least the part governing pain -- exhibited by him and play for him?
"I really think that shows his leadership and how he stepped up as a person," said guard Trey Hopkins. "That is what we really need with so many guys being banged up. We need everyone to know that you can still play through it like David. He’s leading us."
It was Ash that led Texas to its standing as one of the top offenses in the country through five games. The sophomore was No. 2 nationally in passing efficiency, had averaged 300 yards passing against Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and West Virginia and was in charge of an offense that appeared to be balanced and clicking.
Obviously that was not the offense that was on display against Oklahoma. Ash threw for just 113 yards, had two picks and a fumble and did not lead a scoring drive.
But for Texas to become what it once was on offense it needs Ash. (Playing Baylor, statistically the worst defense in FBS, doesn’t hurt either.)
"He’s all about getting better [as a team]," said co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin. "He’s disappointed like anybody else. The emotions hurt. But he understands that that can only happen for so long especially at his position because he has got to be able to think and get himself get himself mentally ready to go. And he is. He’s great."
It is a week like this when Ash’s stoicism might be a benefit. Most assuredly Texas does need a few rah-rah guys around and some harsh words need to be said. Alex Okafor, Kenny Vaccaro and Quandre Diggs took care of that. But it also might help to have the steadying and unwavering hand of Ash. The calm in the storm, so to speak.
"We've just got to remain positive," Ash said. "We can't let the negative things that have happened, that surround us whatever is negative -- we can't let that creep into our team. We've got to remain positive and believe in each other and believe and trust each other that we can win."
The best opportunity to win rests with Ash. Baylor, given its offense and Texas’ defense, is going to score points. While Texas did prove it could score with Case McCoy that was against two drives in the waning moments of a blowout. Ash, save for a fourth-quarter drive against West Virginia and the OU game, has consistently proven he can direct the offense to the end zone through both the intermediate passing game and the deep ball.
"He’s the most crucial part of the offense that we have," Hopkins said. "We need him to be in the game."
In the game is right where Ash plans to be with a beat up, but not broken wrist and maybe even relentless intensity, swagger and emotion.