Originally posted on Blogging Bevo  |  Last updated 11/15/11

Case McCoy showcased his playmaking abilities against UCLA, completing 80 percent of his passes, throwing two touchdown passes and dodging many Bruins defenders. Then, he was replaced by freshman David Ash, who proved he could be a dynamic player against Texas Tech when he completed multiple deep throws and broke free for a 47-yard run on third down. Against Missouri, neither Ash or McCoy could get anything going. 

For most of the season, Texas proved to have playmakers at nearly every position except quarterback. Gilbert, Ash and McCoy showed flashes of brilliance this season but not a consistent ability to make plays. Meanwhile, Jaxon Shipley's receiving prowess has been on display since the season opener, Malcolm Brown quickly established himself as a dominant running back, and Joe Bergeron brought back memories of Ricky Williams with the way he played against Texas Tech. But none of them play Saturday against Missouri.

When Fozzy Whittaker suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of that contest, Texas was without its four most dynamic skill position players. But even before the season began, the Longhorns were at a disadvantage because the quarterback was not among their best offensive playmakers. Colt McCoy and Vince Young spoiled the Texas fanbase as quarterbacks since their departure have impressed in spurts but have generally disappointed. Gilbert was 7-7 as the Longhorns starting quarterback before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery and deciding to transfer to SMU and threw more interceptions than touchdown passes. The two-quarterback system co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin implemented after Gilbert left worked until Texas ran into Oklahoma, the last game McCoy has started because Ash has took over as the full-time starter. The freshman from Belton struggled against a mediocre but opportunistic Oklahoma State defense while improving over the next two weeks in blowout wins over Kansas and Texas Tech.

With Ash taking over as the full-time starter, the "or" between his and McCoy's names on the depth chart appeared symbolic or for decoration. But McCoy came in for three unproductive series against Missouri. Like every other drive after Texas' first possession that ended with a field goal, none of them produced points, although Justin Tucker did get a chance at a 53-yard field goal that he missed wide left on the drive after Texas blocked a punt that resulted in a safety. Suddenly, the quarterback position was not as stable as many thought it was.

Because of the nature of Brown's turf toe injury, Bergeron's ailing hamstring and the way Texas guards information regarding injuries like a mama bird protects its babies, it may be a while before we are assured that the two tailbacks will be healthy. It doesn't help that the team's leader, Fozzy Whittaker, tore his ACL and MCL this past weekend or that Shipley may not be fuly recovered from a knee injury of his own. Mike Davis and Marquise Goodwin are solid wideouts but the Longhorns can't expect much out of a run game that relies on Jeremy Hills, Cody Johnson, and D.J. Monroe.

With Texas being reduced to two scholarship quarterbacks this season after Connor Wood's transferring to Colorado and Gilbert leaving for the Mustangs, it decided to bring in two more in its next recruiting class - Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet. Brewer is a highly-touted pocket passer for Chaparral High in Arizona and checks in as ESPN's No. 3-rated quarterback from the Class of 2012 that committed this February. Much has changed since, including the Longhorns inking another 2012 quarterback, the dual-threat field general from Class 2A Tatum, Jalen Overstreet, on Halloween. 

Since Brewer and Overstreet will bring Texas to four quarterbacks, one of them will likely redshirt. But it's hard not to believe that the starting quarterback position will be wide open next offseason, especially if Ash and/or McCoy struggle down the stretch this year. And it won't be the joke of a competition that it was this offseason when everyone knew it was just annoying matter of time before Gilbert was named the starter. The player that will take the first snap in 2012 will truly be unclear. As for this season, someone behind center needs to step up. 

The Longhorns need to be able to rely on the guy taking the snaps. A team can only go so far when its quarterback is a liability, not including Georgia Tech, whose triple option offense has kept them relevant and who Davis said Texas Tech's defensive backs was comparing Texas to two weekends ago. Texas have a good enough backfield to not need a quarterback to put the team on their back and win games by themselves like Colt McCoy and Young used to. But when Texas wins, it can't be in spite of its quarterback. And when the Longhorns lose, it can't be because of him like it was against Missouri this past weekend.    

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