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1. A formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense, made by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law.
2. A firmly held belief or opinion.

Blake Gideon laughs at the duality of the English language.

Longhorn football fans reserve a special level of loathing for their own players. The list is long and notorious and has recently been highlighted by names like Reed Boyd and Robert Killebrew.

The target du jour is Blake Gideon. Is it the missed INT against Tech? The personal fouls? Bomani Jones looks at Gideon, Boyd and Scott Derry and sees a trend.

Lots of quality content around the Carnival grounds lately: from Longhorn Scott’s look at what to expect from Manny Diaz to Scipio’s position breakdowns, it’s evident we’re on the downhill of the offseason.

Amidst all the well-constructed articles, please excuse me for slipping in a science experiment. I’m here to test a hypothesis - my belief is that Texas fans are misplacing their anger on Blake Gideon. Specifically, I think they see Gideon chasing someone into the endzone and direct their ire towards him instead of the player largely at fault for the breakaway play.

I don’t have a control group for this experiment, but I do have some video clips:
The first 10 seconds says it all.
Save yourself and go to the 2:59 mark.

Christian Scott is a very instinctive player. Watching him blow up a play using his physicality is football joy. It’s all of the plays in between those highlights when he’s running himself out of the play, or incorrectly diagnosing the play and getting caught up with a blocker – those are the frustrating ones. And they outnumber the highlights. By a lot.

On most of those plays, Gideon tries to bail him out and make the stop. Usually that effort takes the form of a poor angle and just enough footspeed to allow him to catch the offensive player at the goal line.

My contention is that fans see Gideon failing to make that stop and assign him fault for the busted play. Most times he’s run from the wide side of the field to try to make the hustle play, but that just gives fans more time to lock their focus on that play. The first 3 seconds of the play where Scott misses his assignment and Gideon leaves his responsibility are missed because folks are trained to watch the ball.

Don’t mistake this as an open letter that is gushing a man-crush on Gideon. He’s clearly a player with holes in his game – top-end speed, pursuit angles, form tackling. The list is long’ish, but the fact remains that Texas coaches think enough of his play to keep him out there.

Is Gideon due to pull a Cedric Griffin? Can he go from three-year goat to fan favorite in his Senior season? Most of us are expecting Kenny Vaccaro to take Scott’s place as a starter. If Vaccaro can add consistency to the side opposite Gideon, it allows the former Leander star to focus on his responsibilities.

<ducking> Thoughts?