The Texas Longhorns held practice No. 2 of the spring on Saturday.
It appears as if David Ash is already starting to separate himself at quarterback.
The workout was only in helmets, shirts and shorts, but there was still plenty to note.
David Ash took all of the first team reps during pass skeleton and team drills.
It appears as though what we heard from day one when there was a question of whether or not Ash is starting to separate himself, or if there was an issue with Case McCoy, is the former.
“It's Ash,” a source said of the quarterback battle. “I don't want to follow the trend and say he's improved leaps and bounds, but you're starting to see some separation. You're starting to see that ceiling that he has - he's pushing to it.”
One thing Ash needed to work on this spring, according to sources, was ball placement and accuracy. He's starting to make strides in that direction. He delivered a nice back shoulder throw to D.J. Grant today.
“Last year, he probably would have put it (the ball) on the front shoulder and it would have been incomplete or intercepted,” a source said. “I can't tell if he's throwing to a spot or to the man on every play, but that's a throw he doesn't make last year.”
Case McCoy reportedly threw the ball with accuracy on Saturday.
It also appears that Ash's athletic ability is allowing the coaches to open up the offense more. One source said Ash is better on the run/pass options than McCoy and it's not even close.
“Ash just looks more athletic and more natural,” the source said. “His footwork and his accuracy throwing on the move lends itself to the versatility of the offense better than Case's does.”
The same source said Ash is also getting better at reading defenses, which also a big reason why it looks like things are going to open up for him a little bit more.
“He's actually reading a defense,” the source said. “He can see it develop better than he did last year. There were a few times where he got flustered on rollouts and didn't know where to go with the ball, but when he goes through his progressions and goes to the right spot he looks good doing it.”
Case McCoy took some first team reps in 7-on-7 drills, but it’s not something to put too much stock into.
“They really mixed and matched during 7-on-7,” the source said. “Even Connor Brewer got some reps with the one's a little bit (during 7-on-7). It's clearly Ash, then Case.”
D.J. Grant is off to a strong start this spring.
The same source said McCoy didn't have a bad day, including a nice ball down the field to DeSean Hales for a big play, but Ash was just that much better on Saturday.
“Case threw the ball with some accuracy,” the source said. “I think though that not only is Ash more athletic with a stronger arm, but he's really starting to grasp the offense. It's nothing really that Case has done wrong, it's just that Ash is the guy.”
Connor Brewer's second Longhorn practice was a success. He didn't get much work in pass skeleton or team, but in 7-on-7s he threw a nice deep ball to D.J. Grant on a post-corner. He was late getting to his spot on a few rollout passes, but threw some good balls, and completed a nice slant route in front of Duke Thomas for a positive play.
The source made an interesting point on what Brewer's future could be this year.
“It looks they're not thinking about throwing him in there to compete this year,” the source said. “It's like the coaches feel the run game and the defense will be good enough with an improved Ash that we'll be pretty good. Our best quarterbacks (Major Applewhite, Vince Young and Colt McCoy) have been redshirt guys, so it's probably a good thing if Brewer doesn't play.”
For the second day in a row, our sources said DeSean Hales had a good practice. The senior wide receiver made several big plays, but our source cautioned to not get too caught up in it just yet.
“He could just be a spring superstar,” the source said. “He's had two good days, but he's done it before and there have been some guys here before who were like that.”
That said, the source said Hales did a good job getting deep on a skinny post route while also working down the seam.
Hales is working with the second team as the slot receiver.
The source said Onyegbule is playing wide receiver and H-back, and the coaching staff is finding different ways to use him early in spring ball.
“They'll run some two-tight ends with he and D.J. Grant and then motion (Onyebule) to wide receiver, and he's comfortable there so it works,” the source said. “I like what they're doing with him. It's going to add versatility to the offense.”
As for Jaxon Shipley, the source said, “(Jaxon’s) getting that man body. He looks better physically than he did last year.”
It also looks like Mike Davis is off to a solid start.
“He didn't make a ton of plays today, but he looks more comfortable in the offense and more confident in himself,” the source said. “His cuts are sharper and he looks a step quicker than last season.”
At tight end, D.J. Grant looks healthy, and while that might have been said last season, the source said Grant looks much improved this spring.
“He's not running with that hitch in his stride like he did last year, which means he's getting healthy,” the source said. “Bo Scaife used to have the same issue, and Grant looks like Bo did when Bo finally got healthy.”
While Shipley and Davis spent time working underneath on slants and short routes, the source said Grant was the receiver running deep working the post-corner route and down the seam.
“He looked like he did in the UCLA game,” the source said. “It seems like there's going to be bigger emphasis on getting explosive plays from the tight end working down the middle of the field.”
Coming in the second installment of our practice report from Saturday: things are coming into focus on the offensive line, the defensive line plays some games with the offense, and who was mysteriously missing from the linebacker rotation?