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The Good Shepard

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Few teams get even one Rivals 100 QB in a year, but Texas has the chance to get two this year. These two guys are ranked among the top dozen players in the country and both are huge Texas fans.

They've already got a commitment from Lake Travis' Garrett Gilbert, the top drop back QB in the state and maybe the nation. Texas fans should be ecstatic, right? Not exactly. Now you know what it means to be a Texas fan under Mack Brown.

The reason some Texas fans are not ecstatic is the treatment of the other QB, Russell Shepard from Houston Cypress Ridge. Shepard is a huge Texas fan as are his parents. So his visit to Texas a couple of weekends ago should have been a sure thing. Shepard has said that he doesn't mind playing another position if quarterback doesn't work out, but he does want to be given a fair shot at playing quarterback.

And we proceeded to fuck it up.

There are reasons for this I won't go into, but Brown told Shepard that he really wanted him but wouldn't offer him as a quarterback. The Texas coaches are leaking to anyone who will listen that they have too many quarterbacks on campus and Shepard just won't be able to get enough snaps.

Consider this scenario:

Shepard enrolls as a freshman and redshirts. McCoy is a senior. Harris and Chiles are both juniors. The next year McCoy is now gone, and Harris and Chiles are both seniors. So going into Shepard's second spring training at Texas, he's only competing with Gilbert and Kinne. That doesn't even take into account transfers. Any coach making $425,000 should be able to manage enough snaps for 3 quarterbacks.

We've offered guys with half the talent of Shepard the opportunity to play quarterback, and Shepard has the intangibles needed to thrive in a Greg Davis offense. I'm not talking about putting up stats. All our QBs have done that. I'm talking about making plays off schedule and willing the team to win. Vince is the only quarterback under Brown that has had both and consequently the only one to lead Texas to any kind of championship.

Yet it's like we learned nothing from the Vince years. If you remember, we offered a guy named Billy Don Malone at quarterback before we offered Vince. Tim Brewster had to convince Brown and Davis that Vince was a take before he exploded his senior year and everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Then they sat him behind Chance Mock for over a year because Mock had a 'better grasp of the offense.' So we're dealing with a staff that values the classic drop back qb who does what he's told most of all.

Oh, and Shepard is this year's bell cow meaning a handful of other top players in the Houston area are watching to see where he ends up.

Perhaps the greatest crime in Ancient Greece was hubris against the gods. Well, we've committed hubris against the recruiting gods, and divine retribution has been swift. Over the weekend, Shepard visited Texas A&M and says they might be his new leader. Then it was announced that Gilbert has a torn labrum and will have to have surgery to repair it.

How it all plays out depends on whether or not you're a glass is half empty type. The optimists say the Shepard will be a Horn and Gilbert's labrum will be fine with surgery. The pessimists (realists?) say Texas' fucked it up with Shepard beyond repair and that Gilbert will not be the player he was before the surgery.

Texas coaches have invited Shepard back for another visit this weekend, and it appears they are trying to clear up any 'misunderstandings.' If Shepard makes it into Austin this weekend, it will be a good sign. If he doesn't, it again depends on whether or not you're a glass is half empty kind of guy.

I say he ends up at Texas.