Texas QB candidates not seen or heard

July, 26, 2011
7/26/11
8:00
AM CT
DALLAS -- All 10 of the Big 12 teams at this week's two media days brought three, four or five players. Typically these players are top dogs, key playmakers on either side of the ball.

Only six of the 10 teams brought quarterbacks, which could be viewed as an indictment of the state of the position in the Big 12 in 2011. Texas is one of the four teams that left their signal-caller behind. Of course, had Mack Brown brought his QB, he'd have had to make room for four of them.

The Longhorns are in full-blown QB competition mode with last season's underwhelming starter Garrett Gilbert getting pushed by sophomore Case McCoy -- the baby brother of Texas legend Colt -- redshirt freshman Connor Wood and freshman David Ash.

But, if you're thinking, 'Gee, I haven't heard much from any of those guys,' you're right. Brown has enforced a no-interview policy for his quarterback quartet since the end of last season. It sort of reminded of the time when Brown intercepted a question to QB Chris Simms after another Oklahoma loss with, "I'll answer that for Chris."

So, why is Brown so protective of his QBs, one of which must be heady enough to perform in front of 100,000 fans, in little more than a month?

Asked just that, Brown took a full 90 seconds to explain:

"I thought that all of the questions would be what you all know they would be, after doing this a long time:

"Who's going to start?

"How many reps are you getting?

"Why shouldn't you be starting?

"Why do you have a right from last year?

"What happened to you Garrett? Why'd they mess up? Why'd you have so many turnovers?

"What about the coach?

"What about coach [Greg] Davis? Compare him to coach [Bryan] Harsin?

"And, I didn't think any of that was healthy at all, very honestly, so I thought that what we needed to do was get back to work and we needed to make sure that our quarterbacks were focused on one thing and one thing only, and that was learning the new offense, which was going to be complicated. And, I didn't need them to have distractions. I didn't need Bryan having to answer every day about who he thought looked better when he didn't even know their names. He didn't know anything about them and I did not want the quarterbacks competing for a job until they learned the offense, because I was afraid they would worry more about starting than they did learning."

Of course, Davis is Brown's longtime offensive coordinator who was relieved of his duties after last season's 5-7 record marked by a horrendous offense littered with turnovers. Harsin is his replacement (actually he's co-offensive coordinator in charge of quarterbacks with former UT QB Major Applewhite in charge of running backs), the boy genius from Boise State.

"So," Brown continued, "we feel like now all four of them have learned the offense. They've all had their reps. Bryan knows all four of them. The players have seen all four of them work with this system in the summer with their 7-on-7. And now what we'll do is start truly evaluating those guys daily and trying to separate them and then after we do, y'all will be able to talk to them all you want."

And, in closing.

"But," Brown said, "I felt like that last year was so negative, I didn't want somebody to sit around and talk about it all the time and they would have -- and that's your job and that's fair. But, it's my job to make sure that we do what's best for our players."

Brown also said that if none of the four quarterbacks separate from the pack before the Sept. 3 opener against Rice, he'll go into the game prepared to play all four.

Interviews, therefore, might be a ways off.

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