Sterlin Gilbert’s star continues to rise, but in spite of his success the Texas Longhorns offensive coordinator remains "one of the guys" on the practice field.
That’s perhaps the biggest takeaway from the above LHN Texas Gameday feature on the first-year ‘Horns OC.
Seven words from Gilbert’s introductory press conference set the tone for his offensive philosophy:
"Fast, physical, have fun, and score points."
The new era underway at Texas has been a big success so far, with 50 points scored in an upset win over No. 10 Notre Dame and another 41 tacked on in a week two victory over UTEP.
The ‘Horns finished 83rd nationally in scoring just last season, but the new play caller wasted no time introducing Texas fans — and the Fighting Irish defense — to his version of the veer and shoot.
With all his success, it’s hard to believe Gilbert was a high school football coach just five seasons ago. Since that time, Gilbert has coached New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at Eastern Illinois, and helped him win the Walter Payton award — the FCS equivalent of the Heisman Trophy — in 2013.
Last season at Tulsa, Gilbert helped quarterback Dane Evans become the nation’s eight-leading passer. Now, it’s Shane Buechele’s turn to learn from the master.
"[Gilbert] always says we’re born for this," the true freshman quarterback said at a recent press conference. "And we are. That’s what we’re here for."
‘Horns head coach Charlie Strong praises Gilbert’s calm demeanor and his confidence in his own system. Against Notre Dame, that system racked up seven touchdowns and more than 500 yards.
At practice, Gilbert can still seem easy going at times, just one of the guys.
"He’s a real cool guy," says Texas wide receiver John Burt. "He jokes around a lot and he’s full of energy. For lack of a better term, he’s like a bro."
Gilbert himself says it’s all about building relationships with his players, something the 38-year-old honed during his days as a high school coach in west Texas.
"Everything is based on relationships and being able to relate to kids, especially young kids," says Gilbert. "And that’s our job."