There are many challenging aspects to putting together the annual 128-page Eyes of Texas football annual, chief among them writing the roster analysis before fall camp begins to unfold. With that in mind, I thought this would be a good time to go back over the positional roster and look at what, if anything, has changed. First up, quarterback.
Eyes of Texas: Gilbert's the man, and to the extent Texas he's healthy and his back ups are playing mop up, senior Sherrod Harris gets the nod, allowing Wood and McCoy to redshirt.
Now: Gilbert's still the man, but Sherrod Harris has moved on, electing to transfer from the program. That leaves the two true freshmen competing for back up duties, which creates an interesting (albeit frightening) situation. Obviously, Gilbert has to stay healthy, and you can expect our usage of him as a rusher to reflect that.
But who should be QB2? While Wood is much more physically developed and has the higher long-term upside, at this point McCoy is substantially more comfortable and polished as a passer. All things considered, if Wood remains well behind through the rest of camp, McCoy will be named QB2.
But here's another option to consider: If Gilbert's going to play for the entirety of close games and three-quarters of our blowouts, could it make sense to use John Chiles as the fourth quarter QB? Think through it for a minute. The argument goes something like this:
(1) Assume the staff would have preferred to redshirt both McCoy and Wood had Harris been available.
(2) Assume further that in the nightmare scenario (i.e. Gilbert gets hurt) that Chiles would give Texas a better chance to win than would either McCoy or Wood.
(3) Given all the raving reports about Chiles rejuvenated quickness now that he's back to 205 lbs, he's revived the skill that primarily made him an effective quarterback in the first place. Moreover, he's got the experience that the position demands.
(4) If Gilbert stays healthy, you're just bringing in Chiles to run the fourth quarters of meaningless games, while preserving the redshirts of the freshmen, and opening the possibility of using Chiles in a more dynamic way when he's in there as a receiver with Gilbert (the Q package or whatever).
What's the downside? Well, for starters it might be considered unfair to Chiles. We haven't done him many favors in his development over his first three years on campus, and he might begrudge being thrust into this role on the eve of his senior season, when he's prepped so hard to make it as a receiver.
If not -- if Chiles was open to and excited by the idea -- well... I think the staff at least has to consider it. Now it's worth saying that I haven't heard from anyone that they are, or read anywhere else that the idea should or is being considered, but I'll throw it out there and open the floor for discussion.
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. It sounds for all the world like Texas would be a shell of a passing offense if McCoy or Wood was forced to take over, and I think there's some real upside to a quick John Chiles being used as the back up and change-of-pace option.
What are your thoughts? (As Horncasting notes, Mack apparently rejected this idea outright, so this is just food for thought.)