September 20, 2011
Saturday's 49-20 blowout at UCLA left no doubts about the future of Texas' offense, and the crystal ball doesn't include room for junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert. As of this morning, though, he's no longer available for so much as a cameo:
AUSTIN — A recent MRI revealed that Longhorn junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert sustained an injury to his right throwing shoulder that required surgery. Gilbert underwent successful surgery on Tuesday morning and will be out for the remainder of the season, but is expected to make a full recovery.
"The injury appeared to occur during the Rice game," Texas Head Athletic Trainer for Football Kenny Boyd said. "He had symptoms, but was not affected in practice leading up to BYU. After that, it got progressively worse. We did an MRI on the shoulder last week, and after our medical staff looked at the results, we recommended that he have surgery. He spent some time talking with his family and they agreed that was the route they wanted to go."
Whether the injury had anything to do with Gilbert's forgettable effort in the first half of the BYU game — he was 2-of-8 passing for eight yards, two interceptions and a pass efficiency rating of negative-16.6 — is a moot question: The harsh truth is, if there was something wrong with his shoulder, no one could tell the difference. But they could certainly tell the difference in Gilbert's absence. Led by sophomore Case McCoy and run-oriented freshman David Ash, the Longhorns rallied from a 13-0 deficit to beat the Cougars, 17-16, and — with Gilbert still on the bench — proceeded to light up UCLA for their most impressive offensive outing since Colt McCoy was the resident star in his little brother's first career start. On the heels of 14 consecutive, uninspiring starts by Gilbert and a turnover-fueled descent to its first losing season in 14 years, Texas actually felt like Texas again.
In all likelihood, Gilbert was finished in Austin, anyway, and probably bound for a transfer — a hard fall for a home-grown, five-star recruit who looked like the heir apparent to Colt McCoy even while getting pummeled under the worst possible circumstances when McCoy was knocked out of the 2009-10 BCS Championship Game. At least now, he can chalk up his demotion to injury, write this season off as a medical redshirt, and move on to a fresh start with a year or two of eligibility left to make good on that potential under a more forgiving spotlight.