Tag:Garrett Gilbert
Posted on: February 25, 2011 12:18 pm

Texas practices will be private

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Last week in the blog's Spring Practice Primer on the Texas Longhorns, I wrote that the most interesting thing to follow in Austin this spring will be whether or not Garrett Gilbert is able to hold on to his starting job. Which is still the case, it's just that it's going to be a lot harder for us to follow now.

The Longhorns began practice on Thursday, and Mack Brown says he plans on keeping all of the drill closed to the public. No fans, no media, just players and coaches.

"We've got to start over and we're rebuilding a foundation at every level: offense, defense, special teams, credibility, strength and conditioning, swagger, body language, chemistry, everything," Brown said.

"I don't want our players and our coaches trying to please other people to start practice. We've got a lot to do. I don't want media, I don't want people in the stands, I don't want autographs. Nothing right now. This is only about getting better."

Brown has closed practices in the past, but never all of them. I guess this is what happens when you have a losing season in Austin. The first time anybody will have a chance to get a glimpse of the Longhorns will be on April 3, when Texas has its spring game.
Posted on: February 22, 2011 5:02 am
Edited on: February 23, 2011 8:54 am

Spring Practice Primer: Texas

Posted by Tom Fornelli

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers. Today, we look at Texas which begins its spring practice on Thursday.

Spring Practice Question: Is Garrett Gilbert really in danger of losing the starting job?

Last month, Texas head coach Mack Brown declared the Texas quarterback position to be wide open. It seems that after a less than stellar performance from Garrett Gilbert in his first season as a starter, along with plenty of coaching turnover in Austin, Brown isn't ready to hand the job over to just anybody.

Of course, whether he truly meant it or not, we'll begin to find out on Thursday when the Longhorns begin spring practice.

If I had to lean in one direction, I'd believe Brown, but only with the understanding that the job is still Gilbert's to lose. Whether or not Gilbert was successful in 2010, he still has more experience than either Connor Wood or Case McCoy. The true wild card in all of this, however, is the addition of Bryan Harsin as Texas' co-offensive coordinator (Major Applewhite being the other co-coordinator, though something tells me Harsin wasn't brought in from Boise to defer to Applewhite).

Harsin comes from Boise State, and has no favorites amongst the quarterback trio. Gilbert may have started all 12 games for Texas last season, but he did so under Greg Davis and with Greg Davis' plays, so in that sense he's on the same ground floor that both Wood and McCoy are.

Still, this spring could be the deciding factor for Gilbert. If he can show a strong grasp of Harsin's offense over the next few weeks, he can begin to put the job on lockdown. If he struggles, then things will be a lot more interesting this fall, as both McCoy or Wood could wrestle the job away from him.

The most important thing that Gilbert will have to do to earn Harsin's trust, and make better decisions in the pocket. While Garrett was able to make enough plays with his arm and legs last season to tally 3,124 yards and 15 touchdowns, it was the 17 turnovers that most people will remember.

17 turnovers that had an awful lot to do with Texas finishing the season 5-7 and missing out on a bowl game for the first time since 1997. That cost John Mackovic his job as head coach in Austin, and though Mack survived, that fate may still befall Gilbert.

There is reason to believe that Gilbert will be able to cut down on the mistakes. First of all, he'll be a junior in 2011, and with a year of experience under his belt, he'll be a smarter player. Plus, there's some history to look at with quarterbacks under Harsin.

In 2008, as a freshman, Kellen Moore started every game for Boise State and threw 10 interceptions. Over the next two seasons, Moore only threw 9. 

Another reason to believe that Gilbert will improve in 2011 is that his receiving corps will get better as well. Mike Davis -- who caught 47 passes as a freshman -- will be another year older, another year better, and his play could go a long way in improving the performance of his quarterback. Whether that quarterback is Gilbert, McCoy or Wood. If Malcolm Williams and Darius White can start to reach their potential, life will be a lot easier as well.

At the end of the day, I think Gilbert will leave spring practice as the team's starter, and he'll be under center when Texas opens its season against Rice on September 3. He may have had a bad season in 2011, but the truth of it is that he's just more talented than both McCoy or Wood. So unless he has a flat-out awful performance this spring, I just don't see him losing the gig.

Of course, I didn't see Texas going 2-6 in the Big 12 last season, either. So who knows what will happen?
Posted on: January 31, 2011 5:47 pm

Mack Brown wanted Charlie Weis in Austin

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Texas Longhorns have had a lot of turnover on their coaching staff this offseason. Some changes were made by choice (Greg Davis for Brian Harsin) and others by necessity (Will Muschamp leaving for Florida). Ironically, the one change that Mack Brown wanted to make was altered dramatically thanks to the change he didn't want.

According to Kirk Bohls in The Statesman, Mack Brown's initial choice to replace Greg Davis as offensive coordinator was Charlie Weis, but then Muschamp left for Gainesville and things got complicated.
Mack Brown's first choice for offensive coordinator, I am told by two sources, was Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, and the Texas head coach all but considered it a done deal that the former Notre Dame head coach would join his staff in Austin. However, Weis' high school senior son bonded with Longhorns defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and had planned to learn under him at Texas, until Muschamp bolted for Florida and the entire Weis family followed.
Texas would then move on to Brian Harsin, who isn't exactly a terrible consolation prize given the success of the offenses he ran at Boise State. Still, the fact that Brown thought he had Weis locked up, and then lost him and Muschamp to Florida is somewhat of an apt description for Texas football in 2010 overall. The only thing missing from the equation was a Garrett Gilbert interception.
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.
Posted on: December 2, 2010 11:34 am

Report: Greg Davis out at Texas

Posted by Tom Fornelli

With a 5-7 season, there wasn't much doubt that heads were going to roll at Texas this offseason.  Mack Brown has been hinting at it for the last few weeks, saying last week that this season was the coaches fault, and not the players. The most likely candidate to get the ax is offensive coordinator Greg Davis, as he's the one who the fans have been calling for, and the best way to appease an angry fan base who might be after you in the near future is to give them what they want.

It seems Brown may have done that.

According to Geoff Ketchum of Orangebloods.com, Greg Davis is out at Texas.

Personally I wasn't sure Davis deserved to be fired, but I'm not shocked that it has reportedly happened.  Still, Davis had to run an offense with a new quarterback this season, and not everybody can be Colt McCoy or Vince Young.  Just because Garrett Gilbert might not be of the caliber of McCoy or Young in his first season as a starter doesn't mean the coach should be fired.  Vince Young had his turnover struggles in his first season as well, and things turned out fine his senior year.

Though angry fan bases often don't want to listen to reason.
Posted on: November 26, 2010 11:56 am

Mack Brown: It's on the coaches

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Texas fans don't have much to be thankful for this season, as on Thursday night, just a few hours after stuffing themselves full of turkey, they saw the Longhorns season come to an end with yet another loss at home.  Though, to Texas' credit, at least this home loss came to a ranked team. I doubt that's of much solace to the team or the fans, as the 'Horns finish the season 5-7 and not eligible for a bowl for the first time under Mack Brown.

Speaking of Brown, he went out of his way following last night's loss to Texas A&M to let everybody know that this season wasn't his player's fault.  It was the coaching staff's.

"I think just disappointing. You can say a lot of words. It's not our standard at all. It was obvious tonight that our players are as good as theirs. I think it goes back on coaches. It's not talent. We had our chances to win the game. People have said it's talent, it's not."

As you'd expect after making a statement like that, Brown also discussed whether there would be any changes to his coaching staff for next season.

"What I will do is take my time and evaluate the coaches and the staff and each player and everything that we're doing. At that time, I'll be able to make the conscious decision on what's best for the program."

Talk to any Texas fan, and they'll tell you that the answer is FIRE GREG DAVIS, as the team's offensive coordinator has found himself to be the target of the most scorn this season.  Still, while I think it's honorable of Brown to place the blame on the coaches, it can't be entirely their fault.  Yes, the players on the field are all part of some of the best recruiting classes in the country the last few years, and they are talented.  Still, that wasn't Greg Davis out there throwing 17 interceptions this season, that was Garrett Gilbert.  It wasn't Mack Brown coughing up the ball, it was the players.

While I wouldn't be surprised to see changes on the Texas coaching staff, even if it's just to appease the fans, I don't think it will fix anything.  No, the only people who can fix this Longhorns team are the ones wearing the pads and helmets.
Posted on: October 23, 2010 1:43 pm

Texas needs to play more road games

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The last time we saw Texas play at home, it was shocking the world by getting its butt handed to it by a UCLA team that's proven to be pretty awful this season.  Then the Longhorns went to Lincoln last week and knocked off the undefeated Cornhuskers, and for a moment we thought that order had been restored.

Maybe it hasn't.

At halftime in Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium the Longhorns find themselves trailing Iowa State 14-3.  Yes, you read that right.  Iowa State is beating Texas in Austin, and it's not a fluke.  In fact, Texas might consider itself lucky not to be losing by more.  Following the touchdown that gave the Cyclones a 14-3 lead, Iowa State opted for an onside kick and recovered it, but couldn't go anywhere against the Texas defense.

Which would be encouraging for Texas fans if they had an offense that could do anything.  The Longhorns problems in the red zone continue today, as they had one drive stalled by a penalty and had to settle for a field goal, another that ended with Garrett Gilbert being picked off in the end zone, and then one finishing with a missed field goal just before halftime.

The way things look, Texas' defense should be able to keep Iowa State from running away with it, but unless the Longhorns offense gets its act together in the second half, an already disappointing season in Austin could turn plain ugly.
Posted on: October 16, 2010 11:02 pm

What I learned from the Big 12 (Oct. 16)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. T-Magic has a lot of tricks left to learn.   Seems somebody left their top hat and magic wand back in the dorm room this morning, because Taylor Martinez had no answer for the Texas defense in Lincoln on Saturday.  Martinez only had 21 yards on 13 carries and had completed 4-of-12 passes for 63 yards before getting yanked by Bo Pelini in favor of Zac Lee.  The good news for Martinez is that Lee didn't exactly do anything to take away his starting job. 

2. Texas' defense is still pretty good, the offense, however, is not.
  Hey, listen, the way things have gone for the Longhorns this season, they have no reason not to be thrilled after picking up a big win on the road against Nebraska.   That being said, unless they start picking things up on offense, whatever slim hopes they have of winning the Big 12 are nothing more than a pipe dream.  The good news is that the 'Horns finally found some semblance of a running game, as they did gash a stout Nebraska defense for 209 yards on the ground.  The biggest surprise being Garrett Gilbert 's 71 yards and two touchdowns.  Still, that 4-of-16 passes for 62 yards needs a lot of work.

3. I still don't know what to make of Missouri.   I made a comment about this on Twitter on Saturday afternoon, and caught a lot of flak from Missouri fans over it.  Listen, I don't think Missouri is a bad football team, it's just I don't know how good they are.  I'm sorry, but beating Texas A&M just doesn't impress me all that much because the Aggies are horrible.  So far the Tigers most impressive win is against an Illinois team that is 3-3.  Other than that it's wins against teams like McNeese State, San Diego State and Miami (OH).   Next week's date with Oklahoma will give us all a better idea of how good this Missouri team actually is.

4. Jerrod Johnson just isn't working.
  It's time for a quarterback change in College Station.  I don't care what Johnson has done in the past, or what everybody thought he'd do this season, the fact is the kid has played horribly.  Maybe Mike Sherman is just worried about losing his job and doesn't want to give the ball to another quarterback at this point in the season, but trust me, staying with Johnson at this point is only going to help ensure he's out of work at the end of the season.

5. More people need to learn about Justin Blackmon.  The Oklahoma State wide receiver has been a monster this season, and his name should be thrown out there when it comes to Heisman talk.  He has 48 catches for 748 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, including a 10-reception 207-yard performance against Texas Tech on Saturday.  His worst game of the season (yardage wise) came in the Cowboys' opener.  Blackmon only had 8 catches for 125 yards and 3 touchdowns that day.
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