Posted on: September 11, 2011 1:10 am
Edited on: September 11, 2011 1:24 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
1. I'm not sure who Texas' quarterback is, but I know it shouldn't be Garrett Gilbert. While the Longhorns' win against BYU on Saturday night wasn't pretty, wins should be enough these days in Austin. And it seems more and more apparent that those wins aren't going to come very often when Garrett Gilbert is lined up under center. On Saturday night Gilbert completed only 2 of his 8 passes. Which is the exact same number of passes he completed to BYU defenders. Then, led by backups Case McCoy (7/8 57 yards) and David Ash (2/3 35 yards) the Longhorns were able to come back from a 13-3 deficit at halftime to squeeze out the victory. Hell, even Jaxon Shipley had a better night throwing the ball for Texas, completing his only pass to Ash to ice the game.
What truly sparked the Texas offense, however, was the combo of Case McCoy and Jaxon Shipley -- McCoy to Shipley? What year is this? -- on the touchdown drive that finally put Texas ahead in the fourth quarter. I'm not sure if Texas should start McCoy next week, Ash, or just use a combination of the two, but it should not be Garrett Gilbert.
2. Steele Jantz is a bad, bad man. You know, if you have a name like Steele Jantz, that's a lot to live up to. I mean, you need to save the world from an asteroid or catch a school bus full of first graders after it goes over a cliff if you're going to have any hope of being as awesome as your name. Or you can just deliver a performance like the one Jantz did against Iowa on Saturday afternoon. With Iowa State not exactly expected to compete for a Big 12 title, this was Iowa State's Super Bowl, and Jantz is going to Disneyworld. He threw for 279 yards and 4 touchdowns, answering every touchdown that Iowa scored to keep the Cyclones in the game and force overtime. He then converted a big third down in the second overtime which led to the winning touchdown run by James White, giving the Cyclones the opportunity to destroy the interim Cy-Hawk Trophy.
3. I can't figure James Franklin out. It's only been two games for Franklin as Missouri's quarterback, and he has me as confused as any player ever has. He throws passes that float like wounded ducks that cause me to think they're going to be intercepted everytime, yet on Friday night, he completed 26 of those helium bombs for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns, leading Missouri back from a 14-point deficit to force overtime against Arizona State. I'm still not totally sold on his ability as a passer, but he showed that he can make the throws that he has to, even if I can't help but think that a team with a secondary better than Arizona State's -- like Oklahoma -- will have a field day against him.
4. Oklahoma State's defense is improving. Now that statement comes with a caveat. Yes, the Cowboys allowed 34 points against Louisiana-Lafayette in their opener, but 14 of those points came on interception returns, and another 14 of those points came when the game had long been decided. On Thursday night against Arizona, the Cowboys defense allowed only 14 points in the entire game, and though Arizona was without Juron Criner, that's still something to be proud of. The thing is, in two games the Oklahoma State defense has given up 759 yards of total offense, but it's not giving up points. At the end of the day, an offense can rack up as many yards as it wants against a defense, but if it's not putting up points it doesn't really matter. The Cowboys are doing a good job of keeping opponents out of the end zone, and with that offense, that's more than enough.
Posted on: September 10, 2011 10:41 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
TEXAS WON: It wasn't always a thing of beauty -- in fact, it was very rarely a thing of beauty -- but after 2010, no doubt Mack Brown will take it. The Longhorn defense held their visitors from Provo to just three points over the game's final 43 minutes, enabling an inconsistent 'Horn offense to slowly erase an early 13-0 deficit. Brown will no doubt be particularly pleased by that offense's effort on the ground--the notoriously ground-shy 'Horns ground out 167 yards on 42 attempts, controlling the clock with freshman Malcolm Brown (68 yards) and backup quarterback David Ash (36).
WHY TEXAS WON: In the end, the Cougars didn't have much of an answer once Texas fully committed to their running game. The 'Horns two second-half touchdown drives featured run-pass ratios of 5-to-2 and 5-to-3, with another second-half drive checking in at 9-to-3 and eating up 6 minutes before ending on downs in BYU territory. Texas also ended the game with back-to-back first downs mostly earned on the ground.
But those drives also wouldn't have been quite as successful without some measure of balance, and that balance was due in large part to Jaxon Shipley. Shipley finished with just three receptions, but all of them came at key moments in the second half (including a critical 3rd-and-9 conversion on the game-winning touchdown drive). And for good measure, he also played a key role in the Bryan Harsin/Boise State special that ended the game; it was Shipley who took a Wildcat handoff and threw back to Ash for the icing first down.
Texas still needs a dramatic amount of improvement in the passing game; nominal quarterback starter Garrett Gilbert was a disaster, completing as many of his eight passes to BYU (2) as he did to his own receivers. But backup Case McCoy provided a lift, completing 7-of-8 for 57 yards. Not that the rest of college football will want to hear it, but McCoy-to-Shipley could provide the foundation for that improvement.
WHEN TEXAS WON: The Shipley-to-Ask trick play put things beyond doubt, but it was Quandre Diggs' interception of Jake Heaps on the Cougars' previous possession that more-or-less finished things; as gassed as the Cougars were by that stage and as well as Texas was running the ball, the Longhorns running the little remaining clock dry was all but a foregone conclusion.
WHAT TEXAS WON: Thanks to their obvious issues on offense and BYU's own relative lack of firepower in their two games, the victory may not move the Longhorns' needle all that much where the polls or expectations are concerned. But this was also the kind of game that Brown's team would have found a way to lose last year, particularly after falling behind 13-0, and every week that goes by without a loss is another week for the young 'Horns to improve, adjust to Harsin and Manny Diaz, and prepare for the bigger challenges to come.
WHAT BYU LOST: Whatever slim hopes BYU might have had for a crazy BCS bowl run in their first year of independence, we guess. But this is also two straight weeks with a single offensive touchdown; while the Cougars have proven themselves capable of grinding out first downs and extended drives, Bronco Mendenhall may have to work on his team's confidence in either finishing those drives or finding the occasional big play.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:35 am
Edited on: September 1, 2011 11:36 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Connor Wood is leaving Texas.
Wood was one of the four quarterbacks competing this spring and fall to be Texas' starting quarterback along with David Ash, Case McCoy and incumbent starter Garrett Gilbert. Well, when the first depth chart was released earlier this week, Gilbert's name was once again on top, and Connor's name was absent as he wasn't even in the top three. Which was a pretty good indication to Wood that if he wanted to play football, he'd likely have to do it somewhere besides Austin.
And it seems Colorado is that somewhere. Texas released a statement saying that Wood had left the program for the former Big 12 school on Wednesday night.
“We appreciate everything Connor has brought to our program,” head coach Mack Brown said in a statement. “He is a tremendous young man and is a great teammate and student. We hate to see him leave, but at the same time we understand his desire to play. We hope for nothing but the best for him and look forward to following his career at Colorado.”
Wood released a statement of his own as well.
“I want to thank Coach (Mack) Brown, Coach (Bryan) Harsin, all of the coaches, and my teammates for the opportunity to play at a great school like The University of Texas,” Wood said. “I loved playing for UT and gave it my all, but I felt I needed to seek a new opportunity. I will always cherish the memories and friends I developed as a Longhorn, but I’m excited about the next chapter in my life and looking forward to playing at the University of Colorado.”
Wood came to Texas as one of the top quarterback recruits in the 2010 class. As per NCAA rules, he'll have to sit out a season before he's eligible to play for Colorado, but will have three years of eligibility remaining starting in 2012.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 12:40 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
In just another indicator of how close we are to actual football games being played, the biggest quarterback question in the Big 12 was finally answered on Monday morning. The Texas Longhorns announced that Garrett Gilbert will be the team's starting quarterback when they line up against Rice on Saturday in Austin.
Gilbert had been in a battle with Case McCoy, Connor Wood and David Ash since the spring, but Gilbert has won the fight. For now at least. McCoy is currently listed behind Gilbert on the depth chart.
I say Gilbert is the starter for now because from most of the reports I read and heard about the position this spring and fall, Gilbert wasn't exactly blowing anybody away in camp. Throw in the fact that Gilbert threw only 10 touchdown passes compared to 17 interceptions last season as the Longhorns finished 5-7 and missed out on a bowl game, and I'm not sure he can be counted on to keep the job.
I'm of the opinion that Gilbert will improve in his second season as a starter, but if he's still not playing well enough or turning the ball over, I don't think Mack Brown will wait very long to pull the trigger on a switch. Texas doesn't want to endure another season like 2010.
Posted on: May 9, 2011 11:15 am
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
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.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
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.
“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.