AUSTIN _ Texas’ starting quarterback job remains a four-man competition until further notice from coaches. But teammates showered praise today on freshman David Ash, a February signee who has caught their attention during the early stages of fall drills.
“I think he’s stepping into a leadership role and I feel like, as time goes on, he’ll be a predominant leader for this team,” said tailback Fozzy Whittaker, one of four veterans who took part in the Longhorns’ first interview session with players since practices began on Aug. 5.
Linebacker Emmanuel Acho said Ash “stepped up” in Saturday’s first fall scrimmage and has impressed him in daily drills. Texas has two more closed scrimmages during fall drills in which to separate Ash, incumbent Garrett Gilbert, Case McCoy and Connor Wood in the minds of coaches.
Safety Blake Gideon described Ash, a dual-threat quarterback from Belton, as “a fiery guy” who is “growing up quick.”
“He’s no longer that kid that enrolled early or just a freshman,” Gideon said. Asked if Ash has the “swagger” coach Mack Brown has identified as a necessary trait for his starter, Whittaker said: “I think he does.”
Malcom Brown ailment: Texas tailback Fozzy Whittaker said freshman tailback Malcolm Brown is “coming off” an injury, which has limited the five-star signee’s carries in camp. Texas has not disclosed the injury but internet sites have cited a minor hamstring ailment.
“Although he hasn’t been playing on the field much, he’s still been in meeting rooms being very attentive,” Whittaker said of Brown. “I get with him after every practice and watch films with him … so that when he goes out there, he doesn’t make the same mistakes that we make.”
Fresh looks: Texas’ revamped defense should feature several unique alignments, many of them borrowed from the New York Jets.
“That’s where we get a lot of our stuff,” said safety Blake Gideon, noting that first-year defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has visited with Jets’ coaches to find creative ways to pressure the quarterback. “It’s a little bit different. But I think we can make it work.”
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_ Jimmy Burch