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Ash expected to lead Longhorns offense into 2013 Big 12 title hunt

By Tony Adams

 Sports Editor

 University of Texas Longhorns’ quarterback and former Belton High School standout David Ash is growing up before the eyes of not only Texas, but the eyes of the nation as well.

 The Texas junior is shedding the veil of slow starts that has plagued the offense in his first two years at UT.

 Gone is former offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin who assumed the head coaching duties at Arkansas State. In steps new quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite. A coach who is familiar with the burnt orange and white spotlight that the Longhorn nation is known for. Applewhite has thrown for the second-most yardage in Longhorns’ history (8,353) and has the lowest interception-to-attempts percentage ever at Texas (28 in 1,065 attempts).

At the Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, Ash appeared to be having fun. Whether or not the handcuffs of Harsin’s tight-reined play calling is what kept Ash from blossoming into the top-notch quarterback threat that he was in Belton, he is looking for the breakout a year.

During his freshman year in Austin, in which he shared snaps with Garreth Gilbert and Case McCoy, Ash was 99-of-174 passing for 1,079 yards. He threw four touchdowns and eight interceptions. Ash and McCoy took the snaps in 2012 and Ash improved his numbers vastly in becoming the number one quarterback in Mack Brown’s system. He was 214-of-318 for 2,699 yards. Ash scored threw for 19 touchdowns against eight interceptions. The numbers improved with the expanded opportunities he was given. He has also run for 244 yards and three touchdowns

 But make no mistake about it: Ash is the leader of the Longhorns. He is amongst the Longhorns that are tired of the mediocrity in Austin. In many programs, 9-4 is a successful year.

 The offensive success of Texas starts and ends with the quarterback position. Names like Colt McCoy, Vince Young, Chris Simms, and Applewhite have had major success for the Longhorns. It’s no stretch at all to believe Ash won’t do the same, starting with the 2013 campaign with 19 returning starts this season and what some believe to be the best offensive line in college football Because most sports writers start with last year in trying to evaluate the current season their view is usually off in terms of predictions. 

 “David is excited and he is having fun. I watched him this spring; you can see he is comfortable with the spread offense they are installing. He is learning to be a leader and he has earned their trust. There is a different pressure because he is the guy now. He is excited about that. Texas isn’t young anymore. I think they will do well this season and be a national contender next year. Go to the no huddle is what David ran in high school so he is used to it. Having the starting quarterback at a place like Texas from Belton is special. David has always been able to handle adversity. He has a great family and he is very humble,” said Belton offensive coordinator David Brewer.