John Chiles at the Last Chance Saloon

Word is that he's only having a water, thank you. Lots of carbs in beer, you know? Makes you fat.

And fat is exactly what the former high school star became while playing quarterback his first two seasons at Texas. Doughy. Soft. Greg Davis pegged the number the other day at around 220 pounds, but Scipio Tex calls it 235 or more. Last season, Chiles dropped a bit of weight in preparation for playing the receiver position, but the acceleration and top-end speed that defined his game as a prepster never materialized.

His body language was poor on the field, he admitted that he was thinking too much, never established a rapport with Colt McCoy, and notably quit on a clear-out route in the national championship game when Garrett Gilbert surprised him by actually looking in his direction on the play.

It's now or never for Chiles after three-year career characterized by unsuccessful attempts by the coaching staff to put him in a position to succeed. His package with the second-team unit in 2007 rarely produced any big plays and was scrapped. Nothing more needs to be said for the Q Package. Or the WildHorn. Blech.

So, now or never. And there are good signs, a buzz around his play.

And no, that's not the shots of Maker's Mark they have on special here at the LC. I swear.

In the national championship game, Gilbert showed some confidence, albeit misplaced, by making that throw down the sideline to Chiles, a throw that McCoy probably never made during his career, an important one in such a route concept because it keeps the safety honest and stretched toward the sidelilne to open up the seam.

In open practice in the spring, Gilbert hit him down the seam with a ball that was less than perfect in 7-on-7 drills and Chiles was unable to come down with the catch in traffic. Instead of looking somewhere else on the following play -- and DeSean Hales was open -- Gilbert went right back to Chiles, as if to say, "Hey man, keep working and I'll get you the ball." And Chiles rewarded his quarterback's confidence.

He even threw some crunching blocks on the edge to spring his running backs.

Throughout the summer, reports consistently mentioned Chiles as making strides with his play, as emerging as the leader that his body language last season clearly indicated he was not.

Now down under 210 pounds and after a summer of working with renowned Texas women's track and field coach Bev Kearney, Chiles is faster after working on techniques to improve his speed.

He's confident and more natural at the receiver position with his extra experience.

It's now or never and a svelte John Chiles appears ready to seize the moment.

It's time.

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