When the calendar flips to August, and college athletes around the country begin reporting to Fall practices, it is hope that fuels them.
It is hope that keeps them from hitting snooze on their 6 a.m. alarm clock. Hope that gets them through the 100-degree two-a-days. Because no matter what school you play for, how big or how small, everybody starts at 0-0 at the start of Fall camp.
"I do feel like we have a chance this year," said coach Mack Brown during his Saturday press conference. "With all the question marks this year, I still feel like we have a chance to win all the games if we do a great job coaching. The chemistry and the morale of the team and the discipline, I’m really proud that our kids have acted right this summer."
The University of Texas is coming off a heartbreaking national championship loss. Everybody knows the story. In the early moments of the game, college football's all-time winningest quarterback was knocked out by a fluke shoulder injury, and all of the Longhorns' hopes seems to be lost with him.
In came true freshman Garrett Gilbert. He struggled mightily in the first half. But after falling behind 24-6, he nearly led the Longhorns to victory in a courageous effort against the nation's best defense.
Even though he has yet to start a game, it was baptism by fire for Gilbert as he was unexpectedly forced into action against the nation's toughest defense. It is unlikely that he will face many defenses in his college career that was as good as that one. So despite losing Colt McCoy, it's Gilbert gutsy second-half performance that has Longhorn fans hoping for the best in 2010.
"We’re really excited about the potential that we have and obviously that’s just potential," Gilbert told reporters on Saturday. "We’re looking forward to going to work and getting prepared for our first game against Rice and obviously we won’t know anything until we do step out on the field in Reliant Stadium so we’re really looking forward to it."
That game in Houston on September 4 will be the first time Texas will trot out a new starting quarterback since 2006, when the Colt McCoy era began in Austin. And with Gilbert will come a brand new offense, as Texas plans to take more snaps from under center. But there is little concern about the transition for those around the 40 acres.
"He comes from a football background and it’s going to be exciting to see him," wide receiver and former quarterback John Chiles told reporters. "I think he has what it takes. I mean his father played football so he has it in his genes, so...growing up around that and being able to do it from a little kid on kind of prepares you and gets you ready for these days."
With less than four weeks until their season opener, The University of Texas, like all college programs around the country, enter their fall camp with nothing but promise and potential. If the Longhorns are to realize their hopes for 2010, they will have to rely on the right arm of Garrett Gilbert to get them there.