There's been a sense of foreboding hanging over the Texas Longhorns program for the last 30-plus hours as speculation rages that junior starting quarterback David Ash's career is over after he suffered from concussions symptoms following the game against North Texas.
Head coach Charlie Strong revealed on Monday morning that Ash will miss the game against BYU, prompting many concerned fans to call for Ash's retirement from the game given his prolonged recovery from the concussion he suffered last season against the Cougars.
However, play caller Shawn Watson said on Tuesday evening that Ash is "day-to-day" and that he has not ruled out the possibility that Ash could play again this season. if Ash does indeed put on his Texas uniform once again, it would seem to carry with it the potential for a seriously negative impact on his long-term mental health.
And, ultimately, it's the doctors who will make the determination about whether it's safe for Ash to play, though the most recent symptoms for Ash may well prompt another Ash family conversation about his future.
For now, sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes is the starter and Watson said that his young signal-caller doesn't need to put an S on his cape, but simply needs to rely on the weapons around him, echoing similar comments by Strong on Monday.
The comparison made by Watson was to former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at the beginning of his career with the Cardinals. Bridgwater threw for 14 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions his first season, so the Horns will need Swoopes to do a better job of protecting the football.
The former Louisville offensive coordinator said that Swoopes has been improving during fall camp, nothing his arm strength and ability to put the ball into tight windows, though whether he can do so consistently is still extremely questionable.
Swoopes also received a vote of confidence from senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley.
"I'm telling y'all, the dude can play. You better be ready," he said.
Aside from talk about Ash's future, other speculation has centered around whether true freshman Jerrod Heard will see the field sooner rather than later. Watson said that there are currently no plans to get Heard into the game on Saturday against BYU and that the third-string quarterback will be sophomore walk on Trey Holtz.