Update>> According to our own Zach Barnett, the reports below are premature. See The Scoop for the most current information.
I'm told reports out of Austin are premature. Sterlin Gilbert has not been offered the Texas OC job. https://t.co/5jiKclwFcj
— Zach Barnett (@zach_barnett) December 10, 2015
Sterlin Gilbert will be Texas’s new offensive coordinator according to reports from 247, Orangebloods & Scout today.
Gilbert arrives from Tulsa, where he spent the 2015 season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks/wide receivers coach. Prior to that he served as Dino Babers’s offensive coordinator at Bowling Green (2014) and Eastern Illinois (2012-13). Gilbert was elected by his peers as the FootballScoop FCS Coordinator of the Year in 2013.
Gilbert has known nothing but success at the college level, particularly in the one area that has vexed Texas for six seasons now: quarterbacks. He developed Jimmy Garoppolo into a second-round pick of the New England Patriots at Eastern Illinois, helped Bowling Green average more than 430 yards per game with a backup quarterback in 2014, and completely transformed signal caller Dane Evans in his one season at Tulsa.
|Tulsa QB Dane Evans||Comp. %||INT %||Yards Per Att.||Yards Per Game||QB Rating|
Evans’ 2014 numbers mirror those produced by Texas quarterbacks Jerrod Heard and Tyrone Swoopes in 2015.
|2015 Texas QBs||Comp. %||INT %||Yards Per Att.||Yards Per Game||QB Rating|
Since Colt McCoy left the roster following the 2009 season, Texas quarterbacks have ranked 89th or lower in passing efficiency five times in six seasons, including 93rd this season (Tulsa ranked 28th).
Strong hired Gilbert, simply, has to fix those numbers — and quickly.
In what could signal a sea change for the Air Raid-heavy Big 12, Gilbert’s hiring marks the first time a member school hires a student of the Art Briles school of offense. Gilbert spent a year as a graduate assistant under Briles at Houston in 2005, then worked for former Briles assistants in Babers and Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery.
For a picture of what Strong desires in hiring Gilbert, consider Baylor, Bowling Green and Tulsa finished the regular season all averaging at least 500 yards per game, 35 points a game — Baylor and Bowling Green each average above 43 points a game, and Baylor leads the nation for the third consecutive year — and, most crucially, all ran at least 1,000 plays.
The Briles tree ranks second, third and fifth nationally in total plays — Texas Tech led the country with 1,002 plays in 12 games, one snap ahead of Baylor and two ahead of Tulsa.
Texas finished its 2015 season with 781 total snaps — only 14 teams ran fewer.
So, yes, saying the Gilbert hiring is a dramatic reversal of course for the defense-first Strong would be a colossal understatement.
A native of San Angelo, Texas, Gilbert played at Angelo State and from there immediately jumped into the Texas high school ranks as the quarterbacks and running backs coach at Springtown High School. After a year under Briles at Houston, he became the offensive coordinator at Abilene Cooper High School in 2006-07, the head coach at San Angelo Lake View (2008-10) and the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Temple (2011).
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.