As much as he hated to do it, offensive coordinator Greg Davis had to tell struggling quarterback Garrett Gilbert that his backup was about to start preparing to replace him.
With Gilbert having thrown five interceptions, it seemed like a necessity midway through the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 39-14 loss at Kansas State. But when Texas’ defense forced a quick three-and-out and Gilbert started a successful drive, Davis decided against substituting second-string true freshman quarterback Case McCoy. Davis, however, did admit that he was disappointed in Gilbert’s performance.
“He didn’t play as well as he did the week before,” Davis said. “I think we got behind, and he started pressing a bit.”
After the game, Davis sat Gilbert and McCoy down to talk to both of them about their future roles. Davis plans to stick with Gilbert despite his less-than-flattering season. The first-year starter has thrown twice as many interceptions (14) as he has touchdowns (7) and ranks 40th in the nation with 228.9 passing yards per game. His 106.6 passing efficiency ranks outside of the top 100 quarterbacks around the country, far behind Texas A&M’s Jerrod Johnson and Texas Tech’s Taylor Potts, both of whom have lost their starting jobs this season.
But even through his struggles, Gilbert says he still deserves to be the starter.
“I feel like I can get the job done, and I still feel confident,” he said.
This weekend, his father and former NFL quarterback Gale Gilbert joked with him that he once threw six interceptions in a game, attempting to console him after his struggles against Kansas State. To Gilbert’s advantage, the coaches are still on his side.
“We feel like we’re doing the right thing, and I’ll stand by that,” Davis said.
One week after losing senior offensive lineman Michael Huey for the remainder of the season, the defense took a devastating blow. Senior cornerback Chykie Brown’s college career ended Saturday night at Kansas State when he suffered a broken forearm trying to make a routine tackle in the second half.
“You feel awfully sorry for a senior to miss the rest of his season on a freak injury,” said defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. “It’s going to be a tough loss for us.”
Brown (6-foot-0, 194) started 29 games in his career at Texas and appeared in 47. This season he was consistently one of the top ball hawks in the secondary, as well as providing an occasional presence in blitz situations.
“Chykie was a very skilled player who did a lot of great things for us,” said junior safety Blake Gideon. “He’s really, really going to be missed.”
To offer some relief in an otherwise trying time, junior cornerback Aaron Williams will likely return in Brown’s place. Williams missed Saturday’s game because of a head injury suffered the previous week in the home loss to Baylor.
Senior left tackle Kyle Hix and sophomore running back Tre’ Newton also suffered head injuries against Kansas State and will be monitored this week to determine whether they will be able to play this Saturday against Oklahoma State. The two will have to pass several NCAA-mandated tests to get full medical clearance.
Minor depth chart shuffling
Even though the Longhorns have now fallen to their first losing record since 1999, there were still no major changes on the depth chart.
Injured players were replaced, but the only change in starters over the weekend was the move of sophomore tight end Barrett Matthews back to starter instead of senior Greg Smith.
“Barrett has done some good things for us lately, and both of those guys are really in and out,” Davis said.