Regarding Ash

Regarding Ash

I've seen a lot of people questioning just how big of a leap David Ash can make this year, so I thought I'd compile a list of a few high-profile quarterbacks who struggled more than Ash did as a true freshman, before rebounding as sophomores. See below for a few examples from recent years:

David Ash (FR) — QB Rating: 106.9. Completed 56.6 percent of his passes for four touchdowns and eight interceptions.


Josh Freeman (FR) — QB Rating: 103.5. Completed 51.9 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Freeman (SO) — QB Rating: 127.3. Completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.


Brady Quinn (FR) — QB Rating: 93.5. Completed 47.3 percent of his passes for nine touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Quinn (SO) — QB Rating: 125.9. Completed 54 percent of his passes for 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.


Jimmy Clausen (FR) — QB Rating: 103.9. Completed 56.3 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns and six interceptions.

Clausen (SO) — QB Rating: 132.5. Completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 25 touchdowns and 17 interceptions*.


* Clausen was the only one to throw more interceptions as a sophomore, and while some of that can be attributed to the fact that he threw almost 200 more passes, his interception rate did go up from 2.4 percent to 3.9 percent. His touchdown percentage went up from 2.9 percent to 5.7 percent, so it was still a significant jump in the right direction.


There are plenty of other examples as well, that I didn't list for one reason or another. For instance, Ryan Mallett had a 105.7 quarterback rating with seven touchdowns and five interceptions his freshman year at Michigan. He then transferred and sat out a year. The following year, he was tremendous, putting up a 152.5 quarterback rating and throwing 30 touchdowns to seven interceptions.

Speaking of which, the third year seems to be the year when many of these players make their biggest leaps in terms of touchdown-to-interception ratios. The first year, two of the three had negative ratios, while Clausen was about even. The next year, all had more touchdown passes than interceptions, though none had a two-to-one touchdown to interceptions ratio. But in year three, Clausen (28-4) and Quinn (32-7) jumped off the page, and Freeman (20-8) experienced his only year with a higher than two-to-one ratio. That's even more good news for Ash, should he hold the job heading into 2013.

But the point remains: all of the above quarterbacks were in pretty high-profile situations (Freeman largely because of his draft status, and the beginning of the Ron Prince era) and all three improved statistically by leaps and bounds as second-year quarterbacks. Clausen had the smallest gain with regard to completion percentage, at 4.6 percent. That jump would put Ash at 61.2 percent. It's impossible to gauge Ash's improvements in the other categories in that he probably won't be in a time-share, so like Clausen, he should have significantly more attempts next year.

But if he can match their TD/INT ratios he should be fine. The worst ratio was Clausen at 1.5 to 1, which means if Ash hits that mark, Texas could be looking at a 15 touchdown to 10 interception, or 18-12 type season. And with the weapons at running back, completing 61 percent of your throws with that kind of ratio should be enough for the Longhorns to win plenty of games and make major improvements in the passing game.

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