A SOUR NOTE AT UT!
Imagine a 10 year-old child who has absolutely no musical ability. He has a tin ear. No matter! He wants to play the violin. His doting parents spare no expense for their beloved child. Resultantly, they purchase a magnificent Stradivarius violin at Sothebys. They engage the greatest concert violinists of our age to give their son private instruction.
When he turns 18, his parents rent Carnegie Hall for a recital. They fly-in, at tremendous expense, hundreds of friends and acquaintances to hear their son play. They hire the Berlin Philharmonic to back him up. The stage is set. The curtain parts... and then—@#*&%#$%@*#! Utter cacaphony! The sound is hideous. An audience is aghast. What the hell?
The boy cannot play. He is tone deaf. His hands are like slabs of meat. He has no "touch" for the violin.
Such a scenario would be disastrous. Yet, a similar scenario is being played out at the University of Texas.
GARRETT GILBERT—HOW MUCH MORE CAN HE TAKE? HOW MUCH MORE CAN WE TAKE?
What we would we think of a kid—no, what would we think of parents—who, in the aftermath of such an embarrassing episode simply said, "No by God, our boy is a musical genius! A virtuoso!" What would we think if they scheduled several subsequent concerts—in fact, a new concert every Saturday?
Well, meet Garrett Gilbert and his coaches at the University of Texas. He has been giving concerts regularly since September, and the music ain't too sweet folks.
Bill Snyder, with a substitute QB, has game-planned Texas into the concession stand as the second-half gets underway in Texas contest against the Wildcats of Kansas State. With 14:11 remaining in the third quarter, Kansas State leads Texas 31 to 0!
At this point, Garrett Gilbert has thrown five—yes, five—interceptions. He owned four of the five. One was an unavoidable, freaky play.
Notwithstanding the picks, Gilbert's play has been so utterly revolting that the television announcer on ESPN2 is calling for Mack Brown to sit Gilbert down, if for no other reason than to preserve his reputation among his teammates, and self confidence. The announcer has quite appropriately questioned Gilbert's vision on the field.
As the great Bob Dylan once wrote, "Let us stop talking falsely, the hour's getting late." Let's have the truth, shall we? Garrett Gilbert is a fine young man. He has a BIG arm. That's all he has. He can scramble a little, he runs a little, but not with force and determination—he is a terrible quarterback.
Gilbert hasn't a scintilla of leadership ability. No one believes in the boy—especially his teammates. Why should they?
Gilbert has no vision. He will never, never, never, be a quality QB at this, or any other level. He is a very poor QB. In a recent poll administered by this writer, about 70% of respondents called for Gilbert to be benched at once or rated him at C or below. The sample size exceeded 500. Gilbert must go—now.
As adamant as I am that Gilbert must go immediately, he isn't even the worst of Texas' problems. Not by a longshot.
GILBERT NOT THE WORST OF HORN'S WOES
Over the past several weeks, I have written articles in which I have been extremely critical of Mack Brown, Greg Davis, MacWhorter, Gilbert, and others. To this list, I wish to add Will Muschamp and the Texas defense.
As I write this article, Kansas State is pitching a shutout to the vaunted Texas defense. The defensive meltdown has, to some extent, been a function of the dreadful performance of the offense, and resulting despondency experienced by every player and coach.
But, at this hour, K State hasn't completed a single pass. Not one! What questions does this raise about Will Muschamp's defense? Nothing good, that much is certain.
I fear that even Muschamp's leadership and effectiveness as Head Coach will be diminished to the extent that he is tied to Texas present failures. This means Davis and Gilbert must—at a minimum—go at once.
DAVIS MUST GO IMMEDIATELY—BROWN SHOULD FOLLOW... MAYBE!
In my articles, I have railed against Mack Brown and Greg Davis, in particular. I've called upon Brown to look down the depth chart for another QB. I've been equally critical of the Texas O-Line, receivers, special teams and all the rest, save the Acho boys.
Texas fans, and scores of others, have posted heated, blistering remarks accusing me of everything from being a fair-weather fan, to being a moron, and worse. That's okay—I give as good as I get in cfb discourse. But I have been surprised by many fans' belief that things will be alright, in the fullness of time, without staff changes, without benching Gilbert, without taking recourse to the depth chart to find players who are hungry and determined to win.
Having discussed, on many occasions, the gross incompetence of Greg Davis, I will not again do so in specificity here. I will say simply that Davis is perhaps the worst OC in the nation. His record at Texas was earned on the strength of the superior athleticism of Texas personnel. Champions find a way to win, even when their coaches are the greatest obstacle to be overcome.
The same is true of Mack Brown. His claim to fame lies in bringing top recruits to Texas. In this he has certainly been successful. But many of his celebrated recruits have been flashes in the proverbial pan. They never really worked out.
Brown seems to be obsessed with big hauls of Blue Chip HS boys. That's well and good, I suppose, but his attitude might well cause him to overlook players like Colt McCoy, who was a relative unknown. Fans will do well to consider the results obtained by an excellent coach like Bill Snyder who relies largely on JUCO transfers.
The old "Blue Chip" label is but one measure of player quality. There are lots of boys in small towns and schools all over this nation who desperately want and need an athletic scholarship, and they will play their hearts out if given a chance. I would rather have one tough, athletic lad who needs and wants a scholarship than five four-star kids who think the world owes them something.
With all of this said, the huge numbers of blue-chip prospects have allowed Texas to win a lot of ball games and a NC, purely on the strength of athletic talent. Some of the Blue Chippers do turn out to be tough, determined football players.
Mack Brown is a fine PR man. He is a fine recruiter. He couldn't manage a cake-walk and he is not an effective game day coach. I've no problem with Mack's deficits to the extent that he employs quality assistants to be sure that the job gets done. Many great leaders have operated effectively in this way. But the job is simply not being done on the 40 acres.
Brown must bench Gilbert, fire Davis, promote Applewhite to OC (or hire a proven offensive asst.), deal with MacWhorter, and get out of everyone's way!
Staff and personnel changes are inevitable. The "Men Behind The Curtain" at UT will not allow the present situation to continue in perpetuity. They will insist upon change, at some point. Count on it. How much better if Mack simply takes the necessary actions now.
Magical thinking will not restore the Longhorns to prominence. Wishing will not resolve the very serious problems that they face.
No part, no functional area, of the University of Texas football program, is good enough to be competitive in any conference in the nation, let alone the Big 12. In a word, they are horrible. Nauseating!
No change, no improvement in sight, folks!