Tag:Bryan Harsin
Posted on: May 9, 2011 11:15 am

Report: Garrett Gilbert is Texas' starter

Posted by Tom Fornelli

After having a rough season in his first year as starter, Garrett Gilbert was expected to compete with Case McCoy and Connor Wood for the starting quarterback job in Austin this season. It's a competition that Mack Brown and offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin haven't said much about, at least, not from a "who's winning" perspective. Though that doesn't mean that the Longhorns haven't made a choice.

According to Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman, the job belongs to Gilbert, and the Texas coaching staff just doesn't want to publicize it yet.

Junior-to-be quarterback Garrett Gilbert has been chosen as the Texas starter and been told so, one source who regularly talks to the football players told me, but Mack Brown and Bryan Harsin don’t want Connor Wood, Case McCoy and David Ash to stop working as hard as possible and haven’t made any public announcement on the starting position. I think it’d be smarter to show strength and confidence in Gilbert by announcing he’s the guy, which most all of us expect.

And since Bohls thinks it would be better for Texas to announce that Gilbert's the starter, Bohls went ahead and announced that Gilbert is the starter.

Bohls is correct in that this is what most of us were expecting as well. Yes, Gilbert had a rough sophomore season in Austin, but he also picked up a lot of experience that the rest of his competition just doesn't have. The fact is, after coming off of a 5-7 season, odds are that Texas isn't going to choose to go into a new season with an untested quarterback. Not unless he was far and away the best guy Texas had during the spring and summer.

Posted on: April 4, 2011 10:22 am

Case McCoy making play for Texas QB job

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

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.

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.

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.

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.

Posted on: March 9, 2011 12:38 pm

The Texas QB battle is far from won

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been nearly two weeks since Texas began holding spring practice, and in our primer on the Longhorns, we said the biggest question mark surrounding Texas this spring would be the team's starting quarterback. We also said that it could be some time before new offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin made a decision on who it would be.

Turns out that's exactly what it will be. Harsin talked to the media following practice on Tuesday and said that Texas may not make a decision until a week before it starts the season against Rice on September 3.

“I’ve been through this situation before,” Harsin said. “We’ve always got to have that point before the first game (when the decision is made). That can be a week, that can be 10 days, that can be two weeks.

Texas Longhorns

“They’ll perfect [the playbook] through the summer, come back in fall camp and let us tweak it and tighten it up a little bit more, then we’ll let them go play and put them in scenarios. We’ll base our decision off of that.”

At the beginning of practice, Garrett Gilbert has to be considered the favorite given his edge in experience, but it's not as if the experiences he had weren't disasterous at times. Which leaves the door open for guys like Case McCoy, Connor Wood and even incoming freshman David Ash.

Seeing as how Harsin just got to Austin, it's hard to blame him for wanting to see as much as he can from each of his quarterbacks before finally making a decision.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 4:38 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 5:36 pm

Bryan Harsin chooses Texas over LSU

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It seems that new Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin was a wanted man this winter. With so many offensive coordinator jobs open at big schools, this doesn't come as much of a surprise considering the success that Harsin has had at Boise State . What is somewhat surprising is what Harsin passed up to take the job at Texas.

According to a story in the Austin American-Statesman , Harsin had just finished talking with Mack Brown about taking the job at Texas when his phone rang. It was Les Miles on the other end of the phone, and Miles was offering Harsin the same job at LSU . The difference was that LSU was offering a long-term deal with more money. All Harsin had from Texas at that point was a one-year deal for $625,000, and though Harsin accepted the offer, it was only an offer at that point. Harsin hadn't signed anything.

However, that did not keep Harsin from telling Miles no.

"LSU is a great school, and I really was flattered that coach Miles, who's an amazing coach, was interested in me," Harsin told The Statesman . "In any other situation, I would have talked about the offer with my family. I told him I'd already accepted a job at Texas, and I wouldn't feel right if I didn't honor that."

Given the amount of times we've all seen coaches go from job to job to take more money, it is somewhat refreshing to hear that one coach decided to do the honorable thing and stick to his word. It really is. Still, at the same time, I'm not sure that Harsin made the right choice here. I'm not saying that LSU is better than Texas or anything, but if you're getting a multi-year contract for even more money, don't you take that offer?

Maybe I'm just as greedy as the coaches, but if I'm thinking about my family, I'm taking the security that came with the LSU offer over the who knows about next season deal he took at Texas. After all, if the Longhorns have another down season, would anybody be surprised if Mack Brown and the entire staff is gone in 2012?
Posted on: February 15, 2011 10:47 am

Jerry Gray leaves 'Horns to become Titan DC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Mack Brown's wild ride of an offseason took another hairpin curve this past weekend.

We would explain, but the first three sentences of this Austin-American Statesman story do so so succinctly we'll let them do it:
On Jan. 17, Jerry Gray described returning to his alma mater to coach Texas ' defensive backs as "a dream come true."

It was a short-lived dream.

On Saturday, 25 days after he was hired as Duane Akina 's replacement, Gray accepted the position of defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans .

Gray's decision leaves Brown to hire his seventh new coach of this offseason, and arrived just as Brown began overseeing the annual Longhorn "junior days" recruiting extravaganza. The timing could be better.

But as we wrote when news of Gray's potential interest in the Titan's defensive coordinating position first surfaced, things overall could definitely be worse. Brown's already had to make two far more critical hires this offseason in naming his two coordinators, and by nearly everyone's account he aced that exam with Manny Diaz and Bryan Harsin. If Gray's absence doesn't help at junior days, it's also better he departs now rather either before this past Signing Day or before his absence becomes a dealbreaker for any prospects in the class of 2012. And without the pressure of Signing Day, Brown may also be able to take more time and make a better selection for the open position than he would otherwise; it's not like there will be any shortage of candidates to work for a program who'll pay their position coaches the $425,000 salary Gray was due to receive.

So Brown will be all right. (As will Gray, who'll no doubt regret the "dream come true" comment but made the decision -- between being a college position coach and NFL coordinator, at more than double the paycheck -- that any coach in his position would.) But it's also only fair to say that in the wake of Gray's defection, what must already feel like the longest offseason of Brown's Texas tenure just got that much longer.

Posted on: February 3, 2011 5:04 pm

Indiana struggling to hang onto coaches

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Here's some good news for the beleagured Indiana fans out there: your highly-respected new coach, Kevin Wilson, has shown a keen eye in assembling his first Hoosier coaching staff, hiring the kinds of hot up-and-coming coaches that bigger-name programs would be happy to have.

Here's the bad news: those bigger-name programs didn't even wait for the ink to dry on the new Hoosier coaches' contracts before proving exactly how happy to have them they'd be. Wilson was forced to spend part of his Signing Day press conference announcing that two more assistant coaches have taken other jobs, bringing the total up to three after new offensive coordinator Brent Pease returned to Boise State to take the same position following Bryan Harsin's departure to Texas.

One of the two new ex-Hoosiers we mentioned already today : cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond, who appears all but set to coach the secondary at Nebraska. The other is defensive tackles coach Jerry Montgomery, who will now coach the defensive line at Michigan instead.

Both are young coaches that appear to have bright futures, with Raymond a former LSU star and NFL veteran who'd coached the corners at Utah State the past two seasons; Montgomery is a former Iowa player who's gone from Northern Iowa to Wyoming to Indiana and now the Wolverines in just three seasons. But Wilson isn't wasting time mourning his losses, having already filled one of his vacancies with Air Force running backs coach Jemal Singleton, another with Nebraska program intern Brett Dierson, and not exactly shedding tears over the departures:
Wilson explained that he initially wanted Dierson from the beginning, while co-defensive coordinators Doug Mallory and Mike Ekeler liked Raymond.

“We’re kind of flip-flopping, one of the guys I wanted they didn’t get and vice-versa. Of guys we went after, we’re going to land on our feet in great shape,” Wilson said.

He concluded that he would rather have a coach at Indiana who wants to be here.

“If it’s better for a guy to be somewhere else, it’s better for his family, better for his career, it’s better he go there than be here,” Wilson said. “I only want guys who really want to be here, are excited about being here.”
That's the right thing for Wilson to say. But more helpful than anything he says will be just keeping the likes of Michigan, Boise, and Nebraska away from what's left of his staff.
Posted on: January 30, 2011 7:17 pm

Texas assistants raking in the dough

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A public records request has resulted in the release of salary information for Texas's nine assistant coaches , and to sum that information up in two words: they're buying.

Only 27 assistants nationwide earned $400,000 or more in 2010, but in 2011 more than half of Texas's staff -- co-offensive coordinators Major Applewhite and Bryan Harsin, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, offensive line coach Stacy Searels, and defensive backs coach Jerry Gray -- will meet that benchmark. Harsin's, Diaz's, and Applewhite's salaries would all rank in the top 15 among assistants nationwide last season. Searels' $425,000 per-year contract would have tied with him with Alabama's (since-retired) Joe Pendry as the FBS's highest-paid offensive line coach.

You get the point: the Longhorns are sparing no expense in the wake of last year's 5-7 disaster and the surprise departure of supposed head coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp. Depending on how well Harsin, Diaz, and the other new assistants perform, it's possible Muschamp's decision to leave for the Florida head coaching job could be a financial blessing in disguise; as the nation's highest-paid assistant a year ago with a salary of better than $900,000, Muschamp bidding Texas goodbye helped free up some of the cash that led the new assistants to sign with the 'Horns.

However you slice it, though, this kind of financial commitment shows that Mack Brown is not planning on meekly fading away after his 2010 catastrophe. He wanted a new, top-dollar staff to whisk away the stench of last year, and he convinced those in charge of the Texas purse-strings to give him that staff. No one can accuse him of shrugging his shoulders at last season, nor the Longhorns of being cheap.

Now Brown just needs to make sure no one can accuse him of wasting that money on another losing season, lest the catcalls continue that his salary is the money the 'Horns ought to be saving.

Posted on: January 21, 2011 11:17 am

Mack Brown declares Texas QB race 'wide open'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

We already know that there will be plenty of changes with the Texas football program in 2011. It's hard to keep things at the status quo when you hire roughly 87 new coaches during the offseason, and Mack Brown knows that he can't afford another 5-7 season in Austin.  Which means Brown has to be willing to shake things up, and it seems as though he's ready to do just that.

Brown was on ESPN's College Football Live on Thursday and he made an announcement that may come as a surprise to many. According to Brown, the race to be Texas' starting quarterback in 2011 is "wide open."

"Garrett [Gilbert's] got two great years of experience under his belt and we've got some other great quarterbacks as well," said Brown. "That competition, like all the other positions on our team, will be wide open this spring." 

Considering that Garrett Gilbert's 2010 season was, let's just say, less than good, it would only make sense that he wasn't guaranteed anything in 2011. Throw in the fact that new offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin comes to Austin with no connection to any of his new quarterbacks, and it is conceivable that either Connor Wood or Case McCoy could win the job from Gilbert in 2011.

That being said, I don't see it happening. Not only does Gilbert have the edge in experience, but it also says a lot that even with his and the team's struggles in 2010, McCoy and Wood never saw the field. You would think that if either of them were ready to take Gilbert's job that the coaching staff would have given them a shot last season.

Of course, there is a reason none of those coaches are returning, so I suppose anything is possible.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com