In his weekly Sunday column, Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls revealed that a source close to the Texas program told him that junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert has privately been named the starter for next season, despite public pronouncements that the job is still open:
Junior-to-be quarterback Garrett Gilbert has been chosen as the Texas starter and been told so, one source who regularly talks to the football players told me, but and Bryan Harsin don’t want Connor Wood, Case McCoy and David Ash to stop working as hard as possible and haven’t made any public announcement on the starting position. I think it’d be smarter to show strength and confidence in Gilbert by announcing he’s the guy, which most all of us expect.
The starter last season when he threw only one fewer interception (17) than national leader, Gilbert generally did not live up to the substantial hype that accompanied him to college as a five-star prospect. However, as the incumbent starter, Gilbert has been considered the frontrunner for the job ever since Mack Brown declared it open.
The Lake Travis product's mediocre performance in the spring game, including an interception, hardly sealed the job and the coaching staff maintained that the job was still open heading into the fall. The issue with that concerns both repetitions and leadership. How can one quarterback take over a leadership role without being named the starter? Who goes about organizing and coordinating the crucial summer 7-on-7 workouts? Does it make sense to split repetitions with the ones between three quarterbacks?
If Gilbert has indeed been told that he's the starter, it should benefit the team from both the repetition and leadership standpoints -- as long as the rest of the teams knows and the lack of public pronouncement doesn't undermine the coaches following those public pronouncements of an open competition.
At the least, even if Gilbert has privately been named the starter, he should be on a short leash when the season begins -- the back-up quarterback battle will still be worth watching.