Call me crazy, but I think it's safe to say we've got a star on our hands.
You can break young QBs down into skills and break those skills into two categories -- can and can't learn. Gilbert only has a handful of snaps under his belt but has shown enough to make a ruling on him:
There are three skills that you need to be a great QB that are learnable. The thing about them is that there is no way of knowing who can and can't learn them. Sometimes skillsets simply blossom (Colt and Bradford) sometimes they don't (Chase Daniel).
The first is leadership. Time will tell on this one.
The next two are the exciting ones -- accuracy and timing. Timing doesn't mean hitting the receivers when you're supposed to, at least not in this case. That is part of accuracy here. Timing means that you make decisions quickly. It doesn't have to be the right one, it just has to be in the rhythm of the offense.
Correct decisions can be taught as well, as will grow with the player. The important one is how fast those decisions are made. In high school, and even some powerhouse colleges, QBs get a day and a half to throw the ball. But once you hit the good competition, the decision to move the play along isn't always yours. To see the effect this has on an unprepared QB, watch any Jason White game against a decent pass rush. Take a shot every time you see him wet his pants.
It's this crucial mental aspect that is often lost on observers because a)it's not important against ULM or Idaho State and b) it's less visible that size and arm strength. But the QB position is about decision making, and today's offenses are about doing things quickly. If your freshman QB is seeing the field clearly enough, and registering those visions quickly enough to act upon them, then you pretty much know that further experience will be meaningful. There is a base to build on, rather than a blind hope that raw talent will turn into something (Rhett Bomar).
Accuracy needs no lobbyist. Just go back and watch his throws again, and tell yourself that he's 18 throwing to guys he's known for a month. He's probably more accurate than Colt, if your measure is just throwing at targets.
As someone who was pulling hard for Russell Shepard, I am relieved to see his come out of the gate this way. The decision ends up being defensible, but I'm guessing that the QB won't be.
- DJ Monroe, everybody. I wonder if Fozzy Whitaker suddenly felt a lot better on Sunday.
- We're ahead of last year's team at this time in every phase of the game. The defense is light years better. The difference now is that we already know what it is we do well and can work on that rather than hoping to stumble into an identity. Greg Davis takes 2 years to figure out what to do, but once it's shown to him he will stick with it.
- Alex Okafor is ahead of schedule.
- John Chiles will replace Quan Cosby. A ridiculous thing to suggest even a week ago, but he's just a taller version of Cosby, at least physically. Does he have his mental fortitude to be there every down?
- Dan Buckner snagging that seam route over the LB with his hands made me visibly aroused. This team is just full of surprises. If he has that kind of ability then we may have no weaknesses in the pass game.
- You get the feeling that Muschamp would run on the field and hit somebody if he could. You get that feeling because it rubs off on the players. This is a punishing team because they are finally playing like they want to punish people. When you get a group for whom violence is fun then you are pretty much guaranteed a show.
- Karma, motherfuckers. I hope OU goes 7-5 this year.