As many Longhorn fans waver between feelings of excitement and trepidation as the 2013 season nears, one thing is for certain: If quarterback David Ash’s performance in last year’s Alamo Bowl is any indication of things to come, the Horns will have the leader on the field fans have been hoping for since Colt McCoy’s departure in 2010.
It was inarguably a season of ups and downs for Ash. A string of bad games and a series of benchings certainly took its toll on the young quarterback.
It was December and Texas had a matchup looming against Oregon State at the Alamo Bowl. Ash was named the starting quarterback despite sitting the last game against Kansas State, and his confidence was at an all-time low. He needed a kick in the rear, something to launch his performance to a level Horns fans have come to expect from the man behind center.
According to ESPN.com’s Max Olson, that kick came from Mack Brown in the form of a conversation about Tom Brady.
“I remember it vividly,” Ash said. “The first thing he said is, who is your favorite pro quarterback?”
Ash chose New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Why? Because he’s good. Brown was quick to point out that not only is he good, but he knows he’s good, and he projects this confidence onto his teammates.
“He said, ‘You have to make your teammate buy into you just like everyone buys into Tom Brady,' " Ash recalled. “’You have to do something that makes them think something good is about to happen.’ ”
It was time for Ash to become a leader.
“I think I’ve seen everything at this point,” Ash said. “I’ve played good vs. good teams, bad vs. good teams. I’ve played bad vs. bad teams. I’ve seen the whole spectrum. Hopefully, through that, I can go into situations and prepare myself to play all those games well and help my teammates play well.”
The December chat certainly helped Ash’s performance in the Longhorns’ 31-27 come-from-behind victory at the Alamo Bowl. Let’s hope it carries over to the new season.