Garrett Gilbert became a near Texas legend before he ever started a college football game — with the lore almost entirely based on the fact that he didn't faint when suddenly thrust into the national championship game.
Truth is that Gilbert wasn't nearly as good as Longhorn fans want to remember him being in that game: He threw two picks, lost a fumble and only completed 15 of his 40 throws. Well, the Gilbert era began in earnest today in Houston with an uneven 34-17 win over Rice and things haven't exactly changed.
Gilbert simply isn't close to being a quarterback star — and it looks like Texas coach Mack Brown is more aware of this than anyone. Running an offense that Brown's obviously geared down for him, Gilbert completed 14-of-23 passes for 172 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. In short, he looked much more like a Trent Dilfer of the NFL (a quarterback entrusted with managing the game and little else) rather than Colt McCoy (a quarterback who's supposed to win the game).
Afterwards, Gilbert talked about the importance of "decision making." Which is about as exiting as a chef talking about the importance of salt.
Gilbert wasn't bad against Rice. But he wasn't close to great. More alarmingly, there were few signs he could be. At least not this season.
Rice — which isn't even considered an outside contender in Conference USA — easily covered the point spread and made the swarms of orange at Reliant Stadium actually sweat the outcome for 24 minutes of game clock. This wasn't anything resembling an inspiring debut for the fifth-ranked team in the country.
It looks more and more like Brown pushed the focus of Texas' offense to more run-friendly formations out of necessity rather than choice.
Gilbert didn't make any mistakes. But he didn't make any throws that made one go "Wow" either. He looked like an efficient accountant playing quarterback. Texas managed 368 yards of total offense. Against Rice. That's not exactly going to send fear rippling into Norman, Oklahoma.