For Texas to win their first conference title since 2009 they'll need Ash to boost a passing attack that ranked 41st nationally in 2012. Last season was a vast improvement over Ash's debut in 2011 when he threw for 8 interceptions and just 4 touchdowns.
He bounced back is sophomore year to throw for 19 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions again, but most importantly he raised his completion percentage from 56.9% in 2011 to 67.3% in 2012. Part of the reason for his improvement was better offensive line play. Ash was sacked 16 times as a freshman and 10 times last season as a sophomore. With his line returning intact Ash is likely to endure even less pressure this fall. Not only that, he also returns receivers Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley, along with running back Jonathan Gray. There isn't a more experienced offense in the Big Twelve.
The focus of improvement for Ash this off-season has to be in the area of decision making. In his worst game last season, against Oklahoma, Ash completed just 44% of his passes with no touchdowns and two interceptions. In fact, all three times he was kept out of the end zone last season (OU, TCU, Kansas) he threw two picks. A better grasp of the offense, that comes with the maturity of being an upperclassman, is one step to improved decision making. Remaining calm under pressure is the next step. Ash must prove, as the 2013 season starts, that he's made those strides because everything else seems to be in place for the Longhorns to make a conference championship run.