QB Look: Garrett Gilbert

This week, we'll be breaking down the quarterbacks' performance in the Texas Spring Jamboree. First up, Garrett Gilbert.

If you're new to our quarterback breakdowns, we break down a player's attempts by downs and situations. A long situation is any in which the offense has to travel seven or more yards to make a first down. A medium situation is any distance between four and six yards, while a short situation is three yards and under. We also measure explosive plays, which for a quarterback, is any completed pass of 10 or more yards.

Here, we've also broken down Gilbert's attempts by drive. Over the course of the week, we'll take the exact same look at the other quarterbacks' performance in the spring game, with an overall analysis coming on Friday, so stay tuned.

By Drive:

Drive One (Texas): 0-2 (no explosives, three points)

Drive Two (Texas): 0-1, interception (no explosives, zero points)

Drive Three (Texas): 3-3, 25 yards (one explosive, seven points)

Drive Four (Texas): 5-9, 51 yards (two explosive, three points)

By Down

First-and-long: 4-6 for 18 yards, one interception (no explosives)

First-and-medium: no attempts

First-and-short: no attempts

Second-and-long: 0-2 (no explosives)

Second-and-medium: 0-1 (no explosives)

Second-and-short: 2-2 for 22 yards (one explosive)

Third-and-long: 1-3 for 20 yards (one explosive)

Third-and-medium: 1-1 for 16 yards (one explosive)

Third-and-short: no attempts

Totals: 8-15, 76 yards, one interception, three explosives, 13 points

Of course, as with any statistical analysis, there are some things that aren't mentioned, or need to be clarified.

First, while Gilbert is credited with three points on the first drive, he didn't really do anything noticeable* to steer the team to those three points. He attempted just two passes on the drive, which was set up by a long kickoff return and a 15-yard run from Fozzy Whittaker, and the Longhorns earned a field goal without a single yard from Gilbert.

* What I mean by this is that, for all we know, he could have audibled into a successful run, and therefore impacted the play in a way not noticeable to the average fan without access to the coaches' playsheet

Second, the passing statistics don't account for an eight-yard run that Gilbert made on his fourth and final drive.

Third, they don't show the negative play that Gilbert had on that same drive, taking a nine-yard sack from linebacker Chet Moss that ruined a great chance to punch the ball in from the two. Instead of throwing the ball away and getting a third-and-goal from the two, where Texas would have had plenty of options, Texas faced a third-and-goal from the 11. In that situation, Gilbert had to pass, and his throw fell incomplete.

Now, for what the statistics do tell us. Though Gilbert spent all four possessions with the Texas, or No. 1, squad, it took him until the third drive to find any consistency. Gilbert missed on his last attempt, and missed on his first three passes, while throwing a pick. In-between, he completed 8-of-11 passes for 76 yards, with nearly half of those passes (three) resulting in explosive plays. He even made a pair of clutch explosive plays on third downs

If Gilbert had a problem, it was that he was exceedingly poor in long situations. Don't be fooled by the 4-for-6 on first-and-long, as he completed those throws for slightly more than four yards per carry. In fact, his passer rating was a paltry 58.5 on first-and-long. Overall, in long situations, Gilbert was just 5-11 for 38 yards and an interception, with 20 of those yards coming from one pass. His passer rating was 56.3.

Gilbert didn't throw the ball as much in medium and short situations, passing just five times. But he was obviously more effective on those five attempts, completing 3-of-5 throws for the exact same amount of yardage (38), and one more explosive play (two). Not surprisingly, his passer rating on those downs jumped significantly, to 123.8.

Most quarterbacks pass better in short situations, so that's not much of a surprise. The defense has more to consider on those plays, and can't "play the pass." But the gap is consistent with what Gilbert did on-field a year ago.

So what does this tell us? That Gilbert, perhaps as much as any quarterback on roster, needs a strong running game to succeed. Sit Gilbert in the pocket in long situations, and he's liable to do one of two things: hit on a check-down route for a short gain, or make an errant throw downfield. Put Gilbert into medium and short situations, and his passer rating more than doubles.

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at Case McCoy's numbers

Horns Digest Top Stories