Gilbert, Mattox introduced by Texas

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University of Texas NCAA college football head coach Charlie Strong, center, introduces two new assistant coaches, offensive line coach Mike Mattox, left, and offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, during a news conference Monday, Dec. 14.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Jay Janner | Austin American-Statesman

Texas head coach Charlie Strong introduced new offensive coaches Sterlin Gilbert and Matt Mattox on Monday after a week long search.

The Longhorns were in a precarious position late last week — Texas faced the prospect of restarting their desperate search for a new offensive mind after Gilbert reportedly declined the Texas offensive coordinator job Friday.

Strong, UT President Gregory Fenves and men’s athletic director Mike Perrin salvaged Texas’ efforts. The three flew to Tulsa on Friday night to speak with Gilbert and Mattox, Gilbert’s fellow co-offensive coordinator at Tulsa.

They closed the deal, and Gilbert and Mattox were officially introduced to the media on Monday.

“That situation was about commitment,” Gilbert said. “It was about commitment, it was about me getting here and I’m here now. That’s it.”

Gilbert will serve as the Longhorns’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, while Mattox will serve as the offensive line coach and running game coordinator. Strong said Fenves and Perrin were instrumental in getting the deal done.

“I know that you guys followed us up to Tulsa last week,” Strong said. “They made that trip with us. The reason that they did come was to show their support, not only for me but also for this program.”

The arrival of Gilbert and Mattox comes in the wake of a 5-7 season for Texas, where the Longhorns finished No. 8 in total offense in the Big 12 — a conference with four teams ranked in the top 10 of NCAA total offenses.

Gilbert and Mattox were the co-offensive coordinators at Tulsa last year, and helped the Golden Hurricanes become the No. 14 team in the NCAA in total offense.

“It’s all about progression,” Gilbert said. “When we start, there’s always a base and then it’s always where we’re trying to go. We’re looking for steady progression. Always progress, never regress.”

The two also bring a close working relationship to Texas. Gilbert and Mattox began working together at Houston under Art Briles — someone Gilbert leaned on heavily throughout the past week. Gilbert and Mattox were also the co-offensive coordinators at Bowling Green and coached together at Eastern Illinois.

“We’ll make some sausage here and there every now and again,” Mattox said of his relationship with Gilbert. “Put some meat on the smoker and have a good time.”

Gilbert said he hasn’t evaluated the quarterbacks on Texas’ roster yet, but it remains on his to-do list, along with recruiting — something he said his Texas high school football ties will help with.

“The core of me, I’m a Texas high school football coach,” Gilbert said. “So to be able to stand here today is very important to me. It feels very important for Texas high school coaches.”

Still, one of the Longhorns’ calling cards — having a physical running game — will remain, which Mattox compared to a mother.

“I had a coach one time tell me that we’re going to run a play and it’s going to be called ‘Mama,’” Mattox said. “When all else fails, you don’t know what to do, your girl breaks up with you, you go home and call mama.”

Strong said he wanted an exciting offense that’s fun to watch. Gilbert said he can provide just that.

“Fast, physical, have fun, score points,” Gilbert said.