A Very Frustrated Mack Brown
The 2010 Texas Longhorns football season has been a tremendous disappointment for coaches, players and fans alike. This article will explore some of the reasons that have contributed to this sub-par performance by an extremely talented team.
There has been a great deal of discussion on the Forty Acres and beyond about what effect the performance, or lack thereof, of Longhorn freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert has had on the team's poor start. At times Gilbert looks like the natural leader that won consecutive 5A State Championships at Lake Travis a few years ago and secured the Gatorade High School Player of the Year award in 2008 as the nation's best high school talent.
At others, he looks his age: uncertain and indecisive. Whether his inconsistency is a product of the plays being called for him, a lack of improvisational ability and creativity or the poor performance of the skill players he relies on, it is hard to tell. Gilbert has shown the ability to scramble when necessary and can be light on his feet, picking up first downs when the original play breaks down. However, let's not make any Colt McCoy or Vince Young comparisons in this department.
One can only hope that as time progresses and Gilbert gets more snaps that his comfort level and overall leadership ability will allow him to become the college football player that he is expected to be by the Longhorn community.
Where's the Leadership?
The Longhorns have had one noticeable leader this season, Sam Acho. He has been the only consistent performer on either side of the ball among the 2010 class of seniors. This has been another source of disappointment considering the number of preseason all-conference picks from this same class of seniors which have not risen to the occasion.
James Kirkendoll, Malcolm Williams and Fozzy Whitaker were all expected to be substantial contributors on the offensive side of the ball, and none of the three have done anything of note. Curtis Brown, Chykie Brown and Aaron Williams were believed to be the best secondary in the Big 12 prior to the season, if not the best in the country. Curtis Brown and Williams have made several mistakes both on defense and special teams which have led directly to shifts in momentum, ultimately leading to losses.
Longhorn football fans are quickly beginning to realize how valuable Jordan Shipley, Colt McCoy, Earl Thomas, Sergio Kindle and Rod Muckleroy were to last year's National Championship runner-up. Leaders of that caliber just don't come along every day.
Has the Game Finally Passed Greg Davis By?
Since the beginning of his tenure as offensive coordinator at the University of Texas, Greg Davis has had detractors. Very few, however, have been as vocal as they have been this season about his lack of creativity and ingenuity in play calling.
Many argue that Davis has been lucky having two superstar QBs in Colt McCoy and Vince Young, an all-world running back in Cedric Benson and multiple other skill position players during his time on campus. The argument follows that almost anyone could win with that talent, and this argument seems to be fairly sound.
Garrett Gilbert has been kept on a short leash this season and has not been given the opportunity to throw downfield and show some of the arm strength and accuracy that originally made him an attractive recruiting option as a high-schooler.
Maybe the game has just passed Greg Davis by. Things have changed substantially since 2000, and he just hasn't kept up.
In conclusion, it's almost impossible to tell what the core issue is for this 2010 version of the Longhorns. One thing is for certain though, .500 seasons in Austin will lead to changes. Hopefully Mack Brown knows what to change.