Garrett Gilbert

David Ash has far exceded his 2011 totals this season, passing for 2354 yards, 17 touchdwons and five interceptions with two regular season games remaining in Texas’ season.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

When David Ash committed to play at Texas in February 2010, he wasn’t expected to leave much of a legacy as a Longhorn.

Garrett Gilbert, former Gatorade Player of the Year, had just held his own after being forced into duty against Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game and was supposed to be the quarterback of the future at Texas.

Ash didn’t even crack the ESPN150 coming out of high school, and many figured he might not play at all, even before Mack Brown found another top quarterback to step in after Gilbert.

Unfortunately for Longhorn fans, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

By the time Ash arrived on campus, Gilbert’s Longhorn career was in shambles and the Texas football program was coming off its worst season since 1997. Ash wound up playing in all 13 games as a true freshman, and, by week seven, he was the starter.

Fast forward a few seasons, and Ash has started 22 games, attempted over 600 passes and thrown for 4728 yards and 31 touchdowns. Unfortunately, he’s also had more head injuries — three — than he’s played in bowl games — two.

Three was apparently one too many for Ash, as concussion symptoms forced the Belton native to end his football career last week.

Ash met with the media for the first time since retiring this week, and the always-stoic leader showed an emotional side some had never seen before.

“The last couple weeks have been hard,” Ash said. “I’ve met my quota for crying for like the next ten
years probably.” 

In spite of the inevitable disappointment that comes with having a career cut short, Ash appears to be handling the challenging situation with grace. As always, he has been thankful for God’s presence in his life, but he has also been very appreciative of all the support he has received from people in his life.

“Throughout this whole process, there’s been so many people reach out to me and encourage me,” Ash said. “I want those people to know that that really does matter, and it really did affect me in a tremendous way.”

Some will remember Ash as the quarterback who couldn’t lead Texas beyond mediocrity while others might think of him as the guy who made the most of a tough situation. Either way, it’s tough to question his perseverance.

He took over as the face of the Longhorn football program when it was at rock bottom, and through all the ups and downs, Ash has always kept a level head.

Sure, he may have never beaten Oklahoma and no, he didn’t lead Texas to one of the BCS games that Longhorn Nation had become so accustomed to in the 2000s. But, given all the injuries he suffered and the turmoil that existed within the program throughout his career, Ash’s time in burnt orange could perhaps best be defined by one word: persistence.

“I want [people] to remember the good plays and not the bad ones,” Ash said. “But I want what I stand for to stick out more than my abilities. I would like people to remember me for what’s on the inside — for my character, for my faith.”

An unfortunate series of events led to the start of David Ash’s career, and an equally unfortunate series of events led to its end. But, what happened in between was anything but unfortunate. Ash led with class and character as a quarterback at Texas, and that will be his legacy.

Fans look on in a game against Rice in 2011 with Garret Gilbert at the helm. They would win the game, but go on to lose five. 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Mary Kang | Daily Texan Staff

You’re almost there, class of 2014.

In less than a month you’ll stand in front of the Tower and watch the building light up with the most spectacular “2014” you’ll ever see.

It’s a time to celebrate and reflect back on your best college moments: weekend nights spewing into mornings, evenings spent talking about nothing with friends and maybe even a class or two. But it’s a safe bet neither you nor I, a fellow 2014 graduate, will give much pause to Texas athletics — those memories are too painful.

Hopes were so high when we came to the 40 Acres. The football team had just lost in the national championship game. But a laser-armed quarterback, Garrett Gilbert, had almost toppled Alabama in place of Colt McCoy and was expected to continue Texas’ recent sterling quarterback tradition.

Instead, Gilbert led the Longhorns to a 5-7 record in 2010, the team’s worst finish since 1997 and the only losing record in the Mack Brown era. It’s hard to place all of the blame on Gilbert; entitlement had a lot to do with the struggles, but he became the symbol of Texas’ issues.

The next three seasons didn’t improve much for Longhorn football. Texas maxed out at nine wins and Brown stepped down after the 2013 season. There were a few highs — the Longhorns upsetting Oklahoma last season was a triumphant moment for seniors, as was sending A&M off with a loss in 2011. But defensive meltdowns and Case McCoy’s interceptions far outweigh the fleeting positives.

Heartbreak defines our fall experience.

The men’s basketball team didn’t provide much relief in the spring. Freshman year, Texas reached No. 1 in the country, only to nosedive to a second-round exit in the NCAA tournament. And that season still serves as the peak of our basketball experience.

Potential program stars Myck Kabongo, Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson all left early, spurning the possibility of extended success. Texas even missed the tournament in 2013 for the first time under Rick Barnes in his 15 years at Texas.  

Other sports have found success during our time in Austin. Men’s swimming and diving, volleyball and men’s golf all won a national championship over the last four years. Both baseball and softball have appeared in the College World Series.

None of those sports can cure the insufferable misery caused by football, though.

And, sure, the Eyes of Texas is great fun, school spirit all around. Going to games is always enjoyable, yelling for three hours with 100,000 of your closest friends. And, of course, “OU still sucks.”  

But mostly, it’s been painful.

Texas will be back to national prominence, soon, I’m sure. But, for the current crop of seniors, sports success proved more problematic than going to a Friday afternoon class.

The Class of 2014 will forever remain loyal to the Longhorns. We just wish there had been a few more wins.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

The way the game was played, it was hard to believe each team had a blue-chip prospect starting at quarterback.

Garrett Gilbert, the nation’s third-best quarterback prospect coming out of high school in 2009, according to rivals.com, left the game in the second quarter with Texas trailing, 13-0. He would never play another down in a Longhorns uniform.

BYU’s Jake Heaps, rivals.com’s top quarterback prospect in the Class of 2010, was held to 192 yards on 22-for-38 passing with one touchdown pass and two interceptions in the 17-16 loss to the Longhorns two years ago. It was defensive coordinator Manny Diaz’s second game on the job and it was a good one.

Heaps won’t have it as easy when he returns to Austin and faces a new-and-improved Greg Robinson-led Longhorns defense this weekend.

Neither Gilbert nor Heaps is with the team they began their college football careers with – Gilbert is now with SMU while Heaps, heavily recruited by former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, is now playing for Weis at Kansas.

“Quarterbacks usually don’t stay long unless they’re playing,” Texas head coach Mack Brown said. “No one wants to be the backup quarterback, especially if you’re one of the top players in the country coming in.”

Heaps, after sitting out the 2012 season, is getting his second chance as a starter with the Jayhawks, losers of 25 consecutive games against Big 12 opponents. Kansas has lost its four contests in conference play this year by an average of 27 points, with Heaps going 41-for-90 (45.6 percent) for 442 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in those games.

He was held to 16 yards on 5-for-13 passing in a 34-19 loss to Oklahoma two weeks ago and completed only seven of 19 passes for 85 yards in a 59-14 defeat to Big 12 frontrunner Baylor last weekend.

The way Diaz’s replacement, Greg Robinson, has the Longhorns defense playing, Heaps is going to have another rough outing when Texas hosts Kansas in its first home game in six weeks this Saturday.

The Longhorns have held Big 12 foes to 19.5 points per game, the fewest in the conference, and limited TCU to seven points – its fewest in a game in more than seven years.

“What Greg did is he settled the defense down,” Weis said. “They already have a formidable front four to start off with and now they just line up and play. They don’t try trickery or anything like that. They just try to be athletes, rather than trying to move them all over the place. The past several weeks, they’re seldom out of position.”

Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed have evolved into one of the country’s best 1-2 pass rush punches while the Texas secondary is suddenly swarming to the ball and a linebackers group without its leader in Jordan Hicks is doing its part as well.

“He was around and watched us but we didn’t really build a relationship with him until now,” Jeffcoat said of Robinson. “So it took a couple weeks and now it feels like he’s been here for a while. Things are starting to click.”

Gilbert passed for 538 yards and four touchdowns while running for 97 more yards and two other scores in a 59-49 victory over Rutgers last week – good enough to earn him Walter Camp national player of the week honors and give him the FBS lead in total yards per game at 408.3, nearly 20 more than the next closest player.

Heaps, meanwhile, is struggling. And his struggles won’t stop when he faces the stiff ball-swarming Greg Robinson-led Longhorns defense this Saturday.

David Ash showed flashes of brilliance as a sophomore last season, none brighter than when he led a fourth-quarter comeback in Texas' Alamo Bowl triumph over Oregon State last December, tossing two touchdowns in the final nine minutes. No more looking over his shoulder—this is Ash's team. The Longhorns will go as far as he'll take them.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

This fall, the Longhorn football team will look to junior quarterback David Ash for his experience, maturity and to lead Texas back to national championship contention in 2013 after two average seasons.

“The Texas standard is a championship, it’s winning all those games and to put a number on that is 13,” Ash said at Big 12 Media Days.

Ash will return for his third season, second as the starter, with a 12-6 record as a starter. He played in all 13 games as a true freshman in 2011, eventually beating out Case McCoy for the starting gig after Garrett Gilbert transferred. In 2012, he started in all but one game after suffering a broken rib in the loss to TCU.

This season, he will be one of two returning Big 12 quarterbacks with considerable experience, with Casey Pachall of TCU being the only other with as many starts.

“When I came in there were a bunch of good quarterbacks that were older than me, and now I’m the older one,” Ash said. “Football kind of goes in cycles and now Texas’ cycle has come around.”

Texas is moving to an up-tempo offense to incorporate more plays, from 60-70 plays per game to 80-90, and be more competitive against fast-paced Big 12 teams.

“We think that David is ready to go up-tempo now with the offense. He’s in command. He’s very confident. He knows what we want,” Brown said. “We’re a faster team. We’re an older team. We should be a mature offense.”

Ash said he enjoys the no-huddle, faster offense. It’s familiar to him since he ran a similar system at Belton High school and he is excited to run it for the Longhorns this season.

“It’s a lot of fun because as a quarterback and an offense guy you like throwing a lot and putting up lots of points so for me it’s just fun to be around,” Ash said. “That’s what the Big 12 has become, high-powered offenses that spread out and chunk the ball around and it’s pretty hard on defenses. I wouldn’t want to play defense in the Big 12.”

Other benefits include stopping the opposing defense from dialing up exotic blitzes while the offensive line gets simpler reads and the wide receivers can find a rhythm. Texas’ defense will get to practice against what they will see during games.

“It benefits the defense seeing an up-tempo  [offense] every week,” Ash said. “It’s pretty hard to be a defense in the Big 12 right now. It wasn’t fair to our defense last season… this will prepare them better.”

Ash said he thinks with more experience on the team altogether, they will be able to get back to where Texas football is expected to be.

“I think you think back to a couple years ago and you had 10 freshmen playing on offense and a bunch of those guys are playing this year, that can only be a positive thing,” Ash said. “The guys I was playing with as a freshman, I’m still playing with, for the majority. We’re that much more together. We’ve shared the same experiences together and it makes us more hungry.”

Former Longhorn Connor Brewer relays information to starting quarterback David Ash at the December 2012 Alamo Bowl against Oregon State. Brewer is the most recent athlete to transfer unconditionally from Texas. Football transfers have made headlines due to ambigious restrictions placed on student athletes.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Earlier this month, redshirt freshman Connor Brewer announced that he would seek a transfer from the Longhorn football program after only one season at Texas. Brewer is following in the steps of former Texas quarterbacks Connor Wood and Garrett Gilbert, both of whom transferred to other programs with eligibility remaining. 

“I want to thank everyone at The University of Texas — the coaching staff, the fans and especially my teammates for a great experience here in Austin over the last 18 months,” Brewer said. “I do, however, feel that it is in my best interest as a football player to pursue other options to continue my college career.” 

The Texas football program has had its fair share of transfers, but recently with increasing restrictions by high-profile universities across the country, the rules regarding transfers have been thrust into the spotlight. While Texas has an open policy for its transferring athletes, imposing no additional restrictions beyond the minimum by the NCAA and Big 12, such is not the case for many other football programs. 

In May, Oklahoma State sophomore Wes Lunt elected to transfer but was stuck with stringent stipulations on where he could play next, which brought scrutiny to what restrictions head coaches could place on transferring athletes in addition to the restrictions placed by the NCAA and Big 12. 

According to the NCAA, students are allowed to transfer to any school of their choice but must be released by their current institution from any scholarships. For football and both men’s and women’s basketball, an athlete must sit out for one year before being allowed to compete at a new institution. In the Big 12, an athlete can choose to attend another conference school, but he would lose an additional year of eligibility for those same sports. 

There is no rule, however, against the initial institution placing limitations on which universities are eligible for an athlete to transfer to as part of the student’s initial letter of intent, with the team generally blocking in-conference opponents and schools that will show up on the schedule during the player’s career. 

Lunt’s case made national headlines after Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy significantly limited Lunt’s transfer options. Gundy barred Lunt from transferring to schools in the SEC and Pac-12 conference, Southern Mississippi, where former Cowboy offensive coordinator Todd Monken was named head coach, as well as all in-conference teams and teams that Oklahoma State has currently scheduled, a staggering 37 in all. 

If a player wants to leave for another school but is not granted a release from his letter of intent contract with the original university, the athlete forfeits the opportunity to play for scholarship money while still sitting out the next season. However, as in the case of Gilbert, if a student graduates from his original university, he is not bound by transfer restrictions if he is seeking a new degree. 

In another case this past April, Pittsburgh placed restrictions on running back Rushel Shell who wants to transfer to Arizona State, a team that is in a different conference and is not on Pittsburgh’s future football schedule. Arizona State’s head coach is Todd Graham, a former coach at Pittsburgh.

Texas has had a record of issuing unconditional releases to athletes who elect to transfer, under whatever circumstances, for other opportunities. Texas head coach Mack Brown has even said he is willing to aid transferring athletes in their search for a new program. Even after former Big 12 rival Texas A&M left the conference, Texas did not place restrictions in regards to the Aggies. 

“If a guy comes in and talks to us about, whether it’s being unhappy, needing more playing time, wanting to get closer to home, whatever, it really doesn’t matter,” Brown said. 

Brewer is the third Texas quarterback in three years to choose, and be awarded, an unconditional release from his scholarship in search of new opportunities. It has been suggested that Brewer’s decision to transfer stems from his position on the depth chart. Over the year, Brewer has fallen behind junior starter David Ash, senior backup Case McCoy and true freshman standout Tyrone Swoopes on projected depth charts for the upcoming football season.

“I mean, if they’re not happy here, we want to help them, and we’ve never had a conditional release for anybody,” Brown said. “If we release them, we try to help them. So we’ll call the places they want to go.”

Brewer has not named what school he will be transferring to, but indicated that Alabama, Notre Dame, Stanford, UCLA, Louisville, Tennessee and Arizona have expressed interest. 

“Coach Brown was great,” Brewer told ESPN. “He understood the situation and basically said, ‘You’re free to go where you want.’” 

Wood, who was a redshirt freshman when he elected to transfer to the University of Colorado, was tied for third on the depth chart with Ash behind Gilbert and McCoy in 2011. Similarly, Gilbert was allowed an unconditional release to attend SMU after starting the 2012 season and suffering a season-ending shoulder surgery. 

The rules that govern student-athletes are ambiguous and a student cannot do much to change an institution’s ruling on transfer, Austin sports lawyer Pete Reid said. After a student asks for permission to contact other schools, the school has seven days to respond. After that, the student can request a hearing to appeal that must be held within 14 days, but the rules don’t provide for more specific parts of the process.

“The rules allow for the schools to do whatever they want,” Reid said. “It doesn’t say what grounds the school has to have to deny the student, doesn’t even say specific parts of the hearing. There are no standards.” 

The ambiguity of the rules makes it more difficult for student-athletes to do anything to fight against a university if they want to transfer. 

“It’s just not practical for a student to bring a lawsuit against a school,” Reid said. “No one wants to cause trouble against the school. No one wants to be the one who leaves because the coach doesn’t like them and students respect what the schools tell them.” 

As for Texas’ history of unconditional releases, Reid said he thinks it is a good thing. 

“Usually there’s a reason that a student needs to transfer,” Reid said. “I think what Texas does is a very good thing, even when offering to help the students.” 

Many opponents of the current transfer situation claim that the universities and NCAA are treating student-athletes less like the students and teenagers that they are and more like their professional counterparts. A student who seeks a transfer after more than one year at his original institution is putting his playing career in jeopardy thanks to heightened transfer restrictions. 

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops told ESPN that he supported Gundy’s decision to restrict Lunt’s transfer options, stating that he doesn’t believe it is right for a student to be able to do whatever he wants after already committing to play for a university. Other proponents of transfer restrictions say it is needed to help teach athletes to stay the course, mature and work harder to get better. There is also worry that a transferring player could take school playbooks to a rival university. 

According to the NCAA website, in 2012 NCAA President Mark Emmert convened a task force to work on transfer rules with university presidents and NCAA members, reviewing every rule to establish a way of enforcement. New bylaws were expected to be presented to the Division 1 Board of Directors in late 2012 or early 2013, but have not been announced.

Mustant Quarterback Garrett Gilbert had a solid night Thursday throwing for 265 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. After a rocky start at Texas, the transfer to SMU  has proven to be a refreshing start for the Lake Travis High School graduate.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

The last time Garrett Gilbert had this good of a game, he was in high school.

The former Longhorns quarterback looked like the prolific passer he was at Lake Travis High School, throwing for 265 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in SMU’s 72-42 win over Houston Thursday night in what was, by far, his best performance since he decided to transfer from Texas last September.

“The sky’s the limit for us,” Gilbert said. “I still think offensively with us and the playmakers we have and the running back we have in Zach [Line], and the offensive line continues to gel and get better and better each week. Tonight things just went our way.”

He couldn’t remember the last time he threw as many as four touchdowns in a game. It had been a while.

He last accomplished the feat when he was a 17-year-old leading Lake Travis to a 48-23 victory over Longview in the 2008 4A state title game, his 30th straight win as the Cavaliers’ starting quarterback. The game took place in Waco, halfway between where he began his college career and where he’s trying to salvage it.

A two-time state champion at Lake Travis, where he went 39-4 as a starter, Gilbert attracted the attention of many top-notch college football programs. He had his heart set on Texas, where he went 5-7 in his first full season as a starter in 2010. After making two starts in 2011, Gilbert underwent shoulder surgery and transferred to SMU.

“Texas is the biggest and the best,” Gilbert said. “SMU is a program that obviously, in the past, has had some success but has had a little bit of a period of — I don’t know what the word for it is — but a lot of losing. You don’t see 100,000 people in the stands because we only have a 32,000-seat stadium.”

Earlier this year, Gilbert revisited his alma mater at Lake Travis, where he enjoyed the sustained success he hasn’t had in college. Gilbert couldn’t walk through the gates before shaking the hands of dozens of red-and-black-clad Lake Travis faithfuls, smiling the whole time. He seemed comfortable, at home and at ease there at Cavalier Stadium. They love him there.
“It’s a cool place to be, man,” Gilbert said. “We used to not be able to make it past the first round of the playoffs. Now you go into the season, it’s 16-0, state championship or bust.

There’s a lot of high expectations, but that’s what happens with the success.”

If anyone’s familiar with high expectations, it’s Gilbert. He claimed they weren’t too high while he was at Texas, refusing to make excuses for his tumultuous Longhorns career. But after taking 27 hours of classes this spring so he could be immediately eligible at SMU, he brought that career to an end.

“It was tough. I think my grades suffered a little bit,” Gilbert said. “I didn’t do anything. I went to school, I went home and I lifted weights. That’s it. If I would have been doing football stuff and that type of thing, it would have been a little more difficult.”

It wasn’t until 10 months after his surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder that Gilbert felt fully comfortable throwing a football. But once he was, he didn’t want to stop.

“No one’s really excited about two-a-days, but I was excited to put the shoulder pads on again,” Gilbert said. “I hadn’t played in so long. I was really happy to just be able to go out and compete again.”

Gilbert threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns in his SMU debut but was also picked off twice in a 59-24 loss to Baylor. He took the field with his younger brother, Griffin, for the first time on separate sidelines when TCU beat SMU, 24-16, a few weeks later. The Mustangs have won two of their three games since, improving to 3-4 on the year.

“I’ve been a little conservative with him, trying to guide him along. I just said it’s time to throw it,” SMU head coach June Jones said after the Mustangs’ win over Houston. “I tried to be a little more aggressive for him and let him throw it down the field. I’m glad he saw some of the things he saw and executed the throws.”

Gilbert stays in touch with his former Texas teammates and even reaches out to his former high school coach, Chad Morris, from time to time. Morris now serves as Clemson University’s offensive coordinator and is the nation’s highest-paid assistant coach.

“He’s the best coach I’ve ever been around,” Gilbert said. “Coach Morris deserves everything he’s gotten. You don’t see meteroic rises like that from a state high school coach to the highest-paid offensive coordinator in the nation. It’s unbelievable.”

The meteroic rise that many have waited for Gilbert to have has not happened yet. It may never come. Recapturing the magic he created in high school is much easier said than done. But, for a brief moment Thursday, that magic returned.

Printed on Friday, October 19, 2012 as: A second chance: Former Longhorn QB Garrett Gilbert trying to salvage career at SMU 

The Longhorns have two great running backs returning and another prolific tailback prospect preparing for his freshman season. Their defense should be one of the best in the country.

But all anyone wants to talk about is the quarterback.

It doesn’t help that, for the second straight year, Texas will go into fall camp without officially naming a starter behind center.

After his performance in the Longhorns’ win over Cal in last December’s Holiday Bowl, the consensus among the general public is that David Ash will beat out Case McCoy for the top spot on the depth chart. But according to head coach Mack Brown, the competition for the starting quarterback job might be closer than people think.

“I don’t think it’s a done deal,” Brown said. “Everything I’m hearing is that Case isn’t giving up. He’s in better shape. He’s bigger and stronger, he’s really fighting this summer. I think this thing’s a lot closer. You always throw David out there because you’ve already made your decision. But I think you’re wrong. I think you need to wait and see.”

Garrett Gilbert was not named Texas’ starting quarterback last year until less than a week before the team’s season opener against Rice, despite starting all 12 games the previous season and none of his three challengers having completed a pass since their high school days. Ash caught a touchdown pass, threw another, and was named MVP of the final game the Longhorns played last year. He’s considered a more athletic signal-caller and the odds-on favorite to win the job.

“I thought David really managed the game well at Cal,” Brown said. “They both won significant games, one against — Case against A&M in College Station at the end of the year, David Ash in the Bowl game against Cal. So we’re coming in at a much better place this year than we were last year.”

McCoy, who led Texas to a comeback victory over BYU after Gilbert exited with a shoulder injury in the second game of last season, had his moments. He was not picked off until the regular season finale against Baylor, a contest where he recorded three touchdown tosses — as many as Ash, who was intercepted on his 22nd throw of the year, had in the entire regular season. The week before, McCoy marched Texas downfield on a drive that saw him scramble for 25 yards and set up Justin Tucker for a game-winning kick as time expired to beat Texas A&M last Thanksgiving.

“He made plays with his feet at A&M. He hung in there,” Brown said. “We didn’t play great but he didn’t get us beat. Then he had the turnovers at Baylor. I think both of them are relatively unknown quarterbacks.”

Whoever wins the job will have one of the nation’s best running games and defenses supporting them. Malcolm Brown was on pace to rush for more than 1,000 yards before suffering a turf toe injury midway through last season. Joe Bergeron was also productive before an ailing hamstring limited his effectiveness over the last five games of 2011. Texas will also have the only backfield in the country with two tailbacks that were considered the top players at their position coming out of high school, thanks to the arrival of this year’s Gatorade National Football Player of the Year Johnathan Gray.

“I didn’t really see a clear leader there in the competition,” said junior guard Mason Walters. “I think all three of our backs can [take pressure off the quarterbacks] but that’s going to have to be great play by everybody else. You can’t just have a good quarterback and a good receiver. We’ve got to block for them.”

The Longhorns lose five starters on defense, all of whom have signed with teams in the NFL, but second-year defensive coordinator Manny Diaz should have one of the best units in college football. Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor could be the nation’s best pass rush tandem, while Texas might have as many three candidates in the secondary for the Thorpe Award. One of them is junior cornerback Carrington Byndom.

“It’s going to come down to who performs the best in fall camp,” Byndom said of the quarterback competition. “Our goal is to take as much pressure off them and put them in the best situation that we can. If we can do that, we’ll have a heck of a season.”

Gilbert elects to transfer, not sure where

Garrett Gilbert has elected to transfer after a little more than two seasons at Texas. 
He was 7-7 as the Longhorns starter, threw for 3,301 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions while at Texas. But after getting replaced against BYU after throwing first-quarter interceptions and undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery ten days later, Gilbert announced Wednesday that he had taken his last snap at Texas. 
“This was a very difficult decision because I love the University of Texas and have had a great time playing there,” Gilbert said. “I can’t thank all of my teammates and everyone at Texas enough for all of their support.”
Gilbert was reportedly seen at SMU watching practice Wednesday morning, although he has not yet decided where he will transfer to. Gilbert, who will continue to take classes at Texas this fall, was granted an unconditional release from his scholarship.

Old Number 7

Junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert scans the field during the LonghornsÂ’ win over Rice in the season opener on Sept. 3. Gilbert is out for the season after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder. (Daily Texan file photo)
Junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert scans the field during the LonghornsÂ’ win over Rice in the season opener on Sept. 3. Gilbert is out for the season after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder. (Daily Texan file photo)

I guess the guy was right when he said, "Don't mess with Texas."

But who knew he was talking about members of the Longhorns football team?

By far the most controversial story the Texan has published so far this semester is a rather light-hearted Page One piece about No. 7 jerseys being marked down at the University Co-op after Garrett Gilbert and Nolan Brewster -- the two players to wear the number this season -- were sidelined with injuries.

The story, which was lacking a byline because of a production error, was written by Sports editor Trey Scott and simply quoted Co-op president George H. Mitchell explaining why the jerseys were being offered at 50 percent off. 

It also quoted a student who said he wouldn't buy the jersey, even with the discount. The story also notes that Gilbert has taken a fair amount of public criticism for the Horns lackluster season in 2010 and that sales of No. 7 jerseys have been down since then. No new ones were ordered this year.

That's about it, folks, but the public reaction has been quite remarkable, with at least four angry "Firing Line" letters to editor published on the Texan's Opinion page, so far. The writers are uniform in criticizing the Texan for taking cheap shots at Gilbert, an unfair scapegoat.

Here's what Scott, the Texan Sports editor has to say:

"I understand that, after all of what Garrett's been through, people are quick to attack anybody who says anything negative about him for the sake of the kid. The point of the article, however, was that the Co-op was in a spot it has never been before, that it has to mark down jerseys that it didn't even sell last year. There are 1,000 No. 7s waiting to be sold.

"The president of the Co-op was sad to have to put the jerseys on sale, because he feels like Garrett has taken almost all of the blame for last year's 5-7 season. But he had to do it [mark them down] because it's a business, just like Mack Brown and the co-offensive coordinators benched Gilbert for the sake of the team — that's business as well."

I say -- get a life, people! The Texan didn't mark down the jerseys. The Co-op and Nike, the manufacturer did. The Texan noted that this is the first time this step has been taken. That's news -- and that's what we're in the business of reporting. 

I would ask where the angry letters are about the Texan story detailing the lawsuit filed by a national fraternity organization against a renegade local chapter that alleged that exotic dancers were hired as part of an initiation ritual. Is that standard operating procedure around the Forty Acres? Is any kind of deviant behavior acceptable as long as -- god forbid -- it doesn't have a bit of harmless fun with the hallowed football program?

The football program that has won exactly one national championship since 1970? 

Garrett Gilbert isn't to blame for that long drought and the Texan shouldn't be blamed for simply reporting the facts.

Garrett Gilbert undergoes season-ending surgery

Texas has announced that Garrett Gilbert will miss the remainder of the 2011 football season after undergoing shoulder surgery Tuesday morning.

Gilbert, who entered the season as the starting quarterback but only lasted a game and a half, injured his shoulder during the Longhorns’ opener against Rice, says UT head athletic trainer for football Kenny Boyd.

“He had symptoms, but was not affected in practice leading up to BYU,” Boyd said. “After that, it got progressively worse.”

Gilbert, too, noticed a digression.

“My shoulder was getting progressively worse and when the doctors did an MRI last week, their recommendation was for me to get it fixed,” he said.

A junior, Gilbert could apply for a medical hardship at the end of his career and thus have two years of eligibility left. Transferring schools could be an option.