David Ash took a seat in the interview room at the Moncrief-Neuhaus Athletics Center on Monday and addressed the media for the first time since last September.
“Did ya’ll miss me?” the Texas quarterback said.
Ash addressed several lingering questions about his personal plight following the team’s first practice of the preseason.
- He said he is good to go after undergoing surgery on his foot in the spring. Ash practiced without restrictions on Monday and did not wear any special apparatus on his foot.
- He was somewhat concerned his career might come to an end amid recurring concussion symptoms last year. “Maybe that crept into the back of my mind.”
- He never considered walking away from the sport, even though some suggested he should.
- The concussion did not affect his whit. “I’m sharp as a tack.”
Oh, and his mom was worried about her son’s well being.
“Can you blame her?” he said.
Ash said he “thought I was off the struggle bus” after finally recovering from a concussion that cost him nine games in 2013. Then he broke a bone in his foot in the spring and missed the spring game and “I hopped back on for a little bit.”
Longhorns coach Charlie Strong has praised Ash at every turn and anointed him the starter last month at Big 12 media days in Dallas. Ash said it “feels great” to have the support of his new coach.
“To have the confidence of your head coach is awesome,” he said. “Playing in that situation frees you up, makes you feel confident, makes you wanna play and take that next step for him. Him supporting me like that, I really appreciate it. Makes me wanna go to work for him and make sure I make him right.”
Strong compiled a cut up of plays showing Ash running into contact last year. He asked the quarterback, “What are you trying to prove?” Ash vows to play it safe this year and slide or get out of bounds.
“You get pretty competitive out there and sometimes you’re trying to get that mojo going,” Ash said. “There’s other ways [to do that] than taking hits like that.”
Ash said his expectations for the team are high, as he believes the roster is filled with enough talented players to get the program over the hump. He was asked if he feels the need, given his injury past, to help groom younger quarterbacks Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard. “What are you trying to say?” he quipped. “Just say it.”
Sharp as a tack.
*Morning update with observations from practice*
Longhorns veterans practiced this morning, and the media got to watch a 30-minute window. A few observations:
- No sign of suspended players Daje Johnson, Desmond Harrison, or Josh Turner. Would not be surprised to see them at tonight’s freshman practice.
- Marcus Johnson, who is in line to start at receiver, was held out of practice with an apparent injury.
- Walk-on safety Dylan Haines worked with the first-team defense. Joining him were: Ends Shiro Davis and Cedric Reed, tackles Malcom Brown and Desmond Jackson, safety Mykkele Thompson, cornerbacks Duke Thomas and Quandre Diggs, linebackers Peter Jinkens, Steve Edmond and Jordan Hicks. Haines will make for a good story if he wins a spot and starts against North Texas.
- Was impressed with the physiques of David Ash, John Harris, and Johnathan Gray. Ash looked excellent.
- The starting offensive line, from left to right, were Kent Perkins, Sedrick Flowers, Dominic Espinosa, Taylor Doyle, and Jake Raulerson. The surprise here is Raulerson, a redshirt freshman who is listed at center on the roster. Kennedy Estelle rotated with Raulerson.
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