We don’t know for sure if Texas is back to being a good team. We really don’t. Its 4-2 record is identical to the one it held last year after six games. But here’s one thing we do know: If the second half of the season comes close to being as intriguing as the first, then we’re in for a wild ride.
The five most notable storylines of the season, as of press time (who knows what the hell could happen between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning):
1. The emergence of David Ash as quarterback has been, by far, the biggest surprise. Ash was an early enrollee but with three quarterbacks ahead of him last spring, he seemed like a candidate to redshirt. Well, Connor Wood transferred, Garrett Gilbert got shoulder surgery and Case McCoy must have done something to scare the coaching staff off — McCoy won the BYU game, threw two touchdowns against UCLA and started against Iowa State, so I have no idea what went wrong — and now, suddenly, Ash finds himself as the quarterback of the future.
By the way, Greg Davis recruited Ash. So you can thank ’ole GD for that.
2. Speaking of quarterbacks, you just could not make up the latest chapter of the Garrett Gilbert saga. The former prep star, who came close to slaying mighty Alabama, entered this season as the starter, was benched after six quarters, got season-ending shoulder surgery a week later and then declared his intent to transfer. No word yet on where he intends to go, but Southern Methodist could be the likely destination.
3. Texas’ leading rusher last year was Cody Johnson, who finished the year with 592 yards. Malcolm Brown — who has started four games — is 76 yards away from eclipsing that mark, with six more games to go. An improved offensive line and a dedication to running the ball have helped, but Brown is living up to the hype he received as a five-star recruit.
4. Admit it: You thought Texas’ young combo of cornerbacks would get toasted this season. So far, that’s only happened in the Oklahoma game. Carrington Byndom has emerged as the next in a line of lockdown corners, Adrian Phillips has lined up at just about everywhere in the secondary and freshman Quandre Diggs has provided a share of big plays. This unit could be the best in the conference next season.
5. A week after getting crucified by allowing eight sacks to the Sooners, the offensive line stepped up with a big game Saturday against Oklahoma State. For the first time in a while, Texas has a group whose first step is forwards and not backwards. David Snow has flexed his versatility, going from center to guard, Mason Walters is one bad man and true freshman Josh Cochran looks like the left tackle you’ll finish your college career with.
Printed on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 as: Quarterback plot continues to thicken