Coming into 2011, I think the general default position for most of us concerning QB was to hope for the best and expect something much less. Gilbert was going to get a shot in a new offense and he'd do so with a short leash with a QB depth chart that might go 1 or 2 deep if the coaches didn't handle transitions deftly. Our staff wasn't exactly blinded by faith in Gilbert. They began to integrate true freshman David Ash into special packages to get his feet wet for reasons that went much deeper than situational looks, they sorted out McCoy-Wood to narrow down preparation reps, and they kept their powder dry.
What irritates me is that whatever our frustration with the pace of change - and it took all of six quarters - a portion of our fan base has forgotten that Garrett Gilbert plays for us.
Leave blindsides to opponents
Gilbert tried his best. And seems like a good guy. If you can point to lack of effort anywhere in Gilbert's game, I'm happy to concede. Not lack of performance. That's clear enough. Lack of effort. I'm not aware of any off-field issues either. So when a good citizen tries his hardest and doesn't pan, he's an object of personal scorn? Really?
I don't mean a choice curse word after an interception, an expression of desire for another signal caller, or a detailing of his deficiencies. I'm talking about the hyper-personal garbage we've all seen or heard.
Newsflash: Garrett Gilbert plays for Texas.
He's OUR guy as a member of the team, even if he's not your guy or my guy at starting QB.
You either get that at some fundamental level or you don't. And if you don't, I can only speculate on the cause. Maybe you're a jerk. Maybe you revel in the failure of others in all aspects of life. Maybe you don't know any better. Maybe the commercialization of college football and absurd ticket prices have created a professional mindset in fans. Maybe you like attention, whatever its form. Maybe it's exciting to boo.
Except that is all trumped by this: The Longhorns are our team. Our players - at least the ones who conduct themselves with class on and off of the field and play their hardest every Saturday - are our guys.
If you're one of the people booing him, luxuriating in Gilbert's failures, or writing personal attacks, this isn't the place for you. We generally give people all the rope necessary to hang themselves and our moderating touch is light, mostly because our readership is smarter than the average bear. At some level, stupidity is self-evident and is its own caution to others.
But QB controversies have an amazing attractive ability. It's emotional flypaper. Idiots emit some sort of clustering beacon to attract others where they try to find some collective purchase like viruses trying to take over their host. Then it becomes a game of one-upmanship for who can top the others for shock, hatred, and cowardice. Thankfully, that number has been small here, but it's not going to spread.
1. No, I'm not curtailing your childlike conception of free speech.
2. The blog is free, so we're not beholden to a $8.95 cover charge.
3. Losing you from our readership is a net positive to our collective experience.
4. If you've lost your way, I offer you the Crown's mercy. Grow up and try again.
The perspective of this blog is critical - skillful judgement, not blind carping - but if you can't do it with intelligence, a sense of humor, and some measure of respect for the players representing Texas who are doing it right, move on.
By the way, the "GiGi" sobriquet has to be the dumbest thing I've come across since "Chrissy" Simms. Not only for what it says about the writer, but for its total inapplicability. Gilbert's defining positive attribute is physical toughness and a willingness to take on the violence of the game without blinking. He got rocked dozens of times last year and never breathed a word of complaint. Projection at its finest.
Forgive the nannying lecture. It's not my style. Particularly for the overwhelming majority of you who do it right. I'm not the thought police, I'm not Mr. SuperFan who sits in judgement of all others, and I'm eager to resume regularly scheduled programming.
I just want people to understand that Garrett Gilbert plays for Texas.
Our school, our team, our state.
And for all of our irreverence, sarcasm, and analysis, this will never be a place where you can forget that.
Thanks. Hook 'em.