Here are 10 Texas football thoughts that have nothing to do with Garrett Gilbert:
1. I owe Jaxon Shipley an apology. Back in February, I covered the USA-World All-Star football game at Westlake High School, in which Shipley caught one ball for about eight yards. He had agreed to a postgame interview and him and I were walking back rather briskly to the field house, trying to get out of the 20-degree icebox. I asked Shipley what his immediate personal goals were for the season, expecting to hear the usual answer self-deflecting statement that you always get with those sort of individualized questions.
“I expect to start,” he said, matter-of-factly. “I think that can happen.”
I snorted rather rudely, taken aback that the high school senior expected to just stroll onto the 40 Acres and jump ahead of guys who have been in the program for a few years.
Well, not only was Shipley the only true freshman to start Week 1 against Rice, but he looks like Texas’ best receiver after just two weeks, and maybe its best player.
2. Yes, Shipley is rooming with Case McCoy. Don’t let Brent Musburger find out.
3. The young cornerbacks looked like the team’s weakness heading into this season. After two games, it might be the Longhorns’ strength. Quandre Diggs and Adrian Phillips both notched interceptions Saturday night and Carrington Byndom doesn’t even get picked on. Byndom Island, anyone?
“I’m not surprised at all by how well they’re playing,” said senior safety Blake Gideon. “We have high expectations for everybody who comes to play here.”
4. Has Texas found the second defensive tackle it’s been seeking for so long? The presence of Ashton Dorsey certainly helped Saturday night. Suspended against Rice for a violation of team rules, Dorsey busted out against BYU with two tackles for loss and the Longhorns’ only sack of the game. He was named the defensive player of the game and is listed to start next to Kheeston Randall this weekend against UCLA.
5. Okay, I lied. One last Gilbert thought:
15,220 combined yards, 126 combined touchdowns.
That’s obviously not Gilbert’s career stat line. Instead, it’s the cumulative statistics of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in their careers at Stanford and Baylor, respectively. Both are Texas products and neither was courted seriously by the Longhorns. Luck, a member of the 2008 class, was passed on because Texas only had eyes for Gilbert and RG3 was offered as just an athlete.
Obviously, Mack Brown would have been torched if he have passed on Gilbert — the best quarterback in Texas high school history. Just a fun statistic that proves hindsight really is 20/20.
6. Color me extremely impressed with the transition Chris Whaley has made from running back to defensive tackle over the course of just one offseason. My goodness, he is big — 6-foot-3 and 279 lbs. But he’s still got the wheels that helped him to 6,000 yards in his high school career and showed them off on a nice quarterback pressure Saturday night.
7. Some insane box scores from UT commits over the weekend, especially Texas’ two five-stars:
Johnathan Gray (Aledo) — 29 carries for 261 yards and four touchdowns
Cayleb Jones (Austin High) — seven catches, 246 yards, two touchdowns
8. Let me be the first to compare Texas’ future three-headed rushing attack to Arkansas’ old Darren McFadden-Felix Jones-Peyton Hillis trio. Current freshman Malcolm Brown would be a nice McFadden, Longhorn-to-be Gray has Felix Jones’ versatility and is just as dangerous in the open field and big Joe Bergeron can be the type of smashmouth back that Hillis was.
9. The aforementioned Shipley has been named the team’s offensive MVP two weeks in a row. According to Mack Brown, the upperclassmen have no beef with the honor going to a true freshman.
“We might have had a problem with that last year,” he admitted. “But not this year. The chemistry is great.”
10. Marquise Goodwin goes from Seoul to starting in the span of a week. You can’t make this stuff up.
Printed on September 13, 2011 as: Shipley thought he would start before season began