It’s the hottest topic on the Forty Acres: Who’s going to start as quarterback? Head coach Mack Brown and senior running back Fozzy Whittaker weighed in at the Big 12 Media Days.
The quarterback competition is alive and well. Garrett Gilbert, Case McCoy, Connor Wood and David Ash have battled for the starting job all summer, but none has been able to separate from the pack. The general consensus is that the job is Gilbert’s (last year’s starter) to lose, but senior running back Fozzy Whittaker quashed that theory.
“I wouldn’t say it as so much his to lose, but, since it’s open, it’s his to gain,” Whittaker said.
Each of the four has his strengths. Gilbert has the most experience, McCoy is smart and accurate, Wood has a ton of upside and a rocket arm, and Ash, according to Whittaker, is “the fastest of the four.”
Can you hear me now?
Without a true leader on the offensive side of the ball last season, the Longhorns tumbled, committing 30 turnovers and scoring just over 20 points a game. Usually, the leader of the offense is the one touching the ball on every play, and we’re not talking about the center.
“One of the quarterbacks needs to step up in times of adversity,” Whittaker said. “He doesn’t necessarily have to be vocal but he needs to be able to make plays — a presence in the huddle.”
According to Whittaker, Gilbert has improved in that department.
“Garrett has been more vocal and has stepped up and taken hold of the offense and been somebody that we can turn to,” Whittaker said.
Quarterbacks in hiding
The last time Gilbert spoke to the media was Thanksgiving night immediately after Texas’ 24-17 loss to the Aggies. Brown didn’t bring any quarterbacks to media day — though it would have been prime entertainment if he had showed up with all four of them — in an effort to protect them from the media.
“We chose to limit the access because we didn’t think any of the questions that could have been asked were healthy,” Brown said.
Among some of the questions that potentially worried Brown:
“Garrett, what happened?”
“Why did you guys throw so many picks?”
“What’s Bryan Harsin’s offense like?”
“Do you know it yet?”
Until one can distance himself from the rest, Brown might be forced to go into the season-opener against Rice on Sept. 3 with a three-man rotation.
“We could have three or four in the first game, we better hope somebody steps up and gets our attention,” Brown said.
But what if none of his quarterbacks do anything special and Brown is still flip-flopping his quarterbacks by November?
“I’ll probably be a truck driver then,” he said.