Returning Texas starting quarterback David Ash threw two touchdowns and two interceptions in the Longhorns' new up-tempo offense Saturday night in the annual Orange-White Game at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium. The Texas offense scored touchdowns on its first four drives, with Ash going 14-for-16 passing and completing two touchdowns to Mike Davis and Kendall Sanders. Ash did throuw interceptions on back-to-back series at the end of the half, though. As Burnt Orange Nation explains, the pickoffs came when Ash tried to force the action in the two-minute drill:
Things started to fall apart a bit for Ash at the end of the half when he started pushing to make big plays in the two-minute drill. First, Ash scrambled and tried to throw a shovel pass in the middle of the field under some pressure and had it intercepted by Jordan Hicks. The fact that Ash was not participating in the live contact on the evening and his desire to make the play that he couldn't with his own feet at that time may have led to the poor decision.
On the following drive for Ash, he was once again trying to make something happen and tried to fit a pass into a tight window up the seam for Bryant Jackson, but Steve Edmond got good depth on his route to force Ash to put a difficult arc on the football and he wasn't able to drop it in, as Jackson could only leap to get one hand on the pass and safety Adrian Colbert was in good position behind the play to take advantage of the tipped-ball opportunity.
The day's biggest buzz was reserved for freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. The early enrollee shined in a series against the Longhorns' first team defense, taking the backup offense 31 yards in 10 plays for a field goal. Swoopes escaped the defensive pressure and scrambled for 21 yards in one play, then ran for seven more between the tackles on the next play. The drive stalled at the 2 yard line, but drew rave reviews from those in attendance.
Saturday was the unofficial opening for Texas' vaunted new hurry-up offense. Coach Mack Brown said throughout the offseason that he wanted the Longhorns to play at a higher tempo. As Burnt Orange Nation reports, the jury is still out on whether they have gotten there yet:
Perhaps it was because of the nature of a spring game or maybe the offense just hasn't gotten that used to running the offense at an all-out tempo. Whatever the case, the offense typically got plays off typically with about 20 seconds left on the playclock, even though they went without huddling for most of the scrimmage.
The tempo may increase with some more work in fall practice, but the 'Horns didn't exactly look like Oregon flying to the line of scrimmage on Saturday night. Concerning is the wrong way to phrase that development, but the speed grade for the offense is probably still incomplete at this point.
The Spring Game concludes Texas's spring practice. The team will return in August for preseason camp.