5-7 disaster on the resume or no 5-7 disaster on the resume, Garrett Gilbert's full year of experience as Texas's starting quarterback -- not to mention the five-star recruiting hype or one-time role as consensus heir to Colt McCoy's throne -- made him the spring favorite to reclaim the Longhorns' starting job under new offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin.
And Gilbert may yet wind up taking first-team snaps this fall all the same. But understudy Case McCoy (Colt's younger brother) is clearly giving the Longhorn coaches (and Gilbert) plenty to think about, making the biggest impression of the four Texas quarterbacks at Sunday's Orange-White Game:
McCoy, leading Texas' second-string offense against its first-string defense, moved the ball more consistently than incumbent starter Garrett Gilbert, Connor Wood and David Ash.The observational consensus seems to be that none of the Longhorn quarterbacks were particularly impressive during the game, but after a season in which Gilbert threw a miserable 17 interceptions (to just 10 touchdowns), there might not be anything Gilbert could have done to hurt his standing with his new coaches more than toss an ill-advised pick. If McCoy can continue to show Harsin he can be more trustworthy with the ball -- and yesterday, he was -- he'll have a legitimate shot at winning the job.
McCoy completed nine of 11 passes for 124 yards and threw the game's only touchdown pass, an 11-yard strike to walk-on wide receiver Patrick McNamara ...
Gilbert, as he did during his first season as a starter in 2010, made some plays but also committed some glaring errors. He badly underthrew tight end Ahmard Howard on an out rout, and safety Bryant Jackson intercepted...
Gilbert completed eight of 15 passes for 76 yards.
Then again, when you're talking about a quarterback whose thrown fewer passes in his career than running back Foswhitt Whittaker, it's going to take more than one good afternoon (and one iffy one for Gilbert) to earn the reins at a place like Texas. The upshot of the Orange-White game isn't that the starting job is McCoy's to win just yet; it's simply that it might not be Gilbert's to lose any longer.