Our final triplets: Texas (we’ve done Oklahoma, TCU, Kansas State, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas).
(1) David Ash, QB: Ended up finishing only one game last year, suffering a concussion in Week 2, missing Week 3, starting Week 4 but unable to come back after halftime, then missing the rest of the season. Gave way to Case McCoy. Completed 53 passes in 87 attempts (61 percent) for 760 yards, 7 TDs and 2 interceptions. He also rushed for 152 yards, including a 55-yard TD in the opener.
(2) Malcolm Brown, RB: Became the focal point of the rushing game when Johnathan Gray was lost for the season with an Achilles injury. Rushed for 904 yards on 214 carries, with 9 TDs. Has 1,970 yards and 18 TDs for his career. Gray (308-1,481-7 in his career) returns this season.
(3) Jaxon Shipley, WR: Had 56 catches for 589 yards and a TD last year, and has been consistent his first three seasons (44-607-3, 59-737-6, 56-589-1). Has battled a hamstring issue during training camp, though.
About Texas’ triplets:
In a week, Texas fans will catch their first glimpse at what the Longhorns offense will resemble under coach Charlie Strong and chief play caller Shawn Watson.
Until then, there are so many questions:
Will Ash remain healthy? Will he even be any good? Will he have enough bodies to throw to at wide receiver? Will the running backs, if necessary, be strong enough to carry an offense.
It’s all about Ash this August.
“David is taking control,” Brown said. “That is the thing that stands out to me. He’s putting people in places. If somebody messes up, he’ll put them in their place and just roll with it. He is taking control … He showed it last year, but it’s just a little bit more now.”
Ash threw for 760 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions last fall before concussions sidelined him for the season.
A solid, if borderline spectacular, running game could take the pressure off of Ash. Despite starting only four games, Brown just missed the 1,000 yard rushing mark a year ago with 904 yards. Gray, who played in nine games before tearing his Achilles, ran for 780. Gray is healthy and depending on how Texas utilizes its backs, one probably will rush for 1,000. The Longhorns haven’t had a 1,000-yard back since Jamaal Charles in 2007.
Texas’ top receiver is Shipley. But Shipley strained a hamstring in preseason camp and it’s unclear whether he’ll play in the opener. Daje Johnson also has been suspended for North Texas.
So maybe the opener won’t be a true indicator of what Texas can do on offense. But it will start answering questions on Ash.
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