Quarterback Garrett Gilbert is not going to get benched. His interception to touchdown ratio may be 15:7, but he’s become a valuable part of the team’s running game.
Last Saturday night against Oklahoma State, he ran for 55 yards and became the team’s second leading rusher. He’s credited with 324 yards on 74 carries this season just behind tailback Cody Johnson’s 361 yards on 92 carries.
“But most of those were scrambles,” said Gilbert, who doesn’t consider himself a dual-threat quarterback. “That’s not really a situation you want to be in.”
That may be, but Gilbert is going to need to finish out the rest of the season as a runner since the tailback depth chart slimmed down this week with Tre’ Newton ending his football career because of a series of head injuries.
That means Fozzy Whittaker, Johnson, Chris Whaley and D.J. Monroe need to pick up their games.
Whittaker, who has the best yards-per-carry average on the team (4.5), went down Saturday in the first half because of a recurring stinger in his shoulder. Johnson hasn’t performed like the back the coaches thought they were getting in fall camp, but as of late he’s getting more reps. Whaley, a redshirt freshman, has only appeared in one game this season and as far as Monroe goes, he’s not even listed on this week’s updated depth chart despite leading the team with 9.4 yards per carry.
Senior send off
The senior class is only guaranteed eight more days, five more practices and two more games until their football career at Texas is over.
That is unless the seniors beat Florida Atlantic this Saturday and Texas A&M on Thanksgiving and become a 6-6 bowl-eligible team.
“The only thing we’re talking about now is getting the seniors out on the right note,” said receiver Malcolm Williams.
But despite the desperation surrounding Texas right now, the players and coaches are staying calm and positive.
“We can still have a winning season. We can still finish above .500,” said receiver James Kirkendoll, because if Texas wins its next two games plus a bowl game, it would end with a 7-6 record. “It’s crazy how you can go from playing in the national championship game to having a struggling season.”
Defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, who hasn’t played a snap since Nebraska, says his sprained ankle is feeling better than it has in weeks. Jeffcoat told the coaches and head trainer Kenny Boyd that he should be able to play Saturday against Florida Atlantic.
Starting left tackle Kyle Hix, who got a concussion in the second half of the Kansas State game and didn’t play last weekend against Oklahoma State, is also probable for the weekend.
Whittaker’s stinger is still nagging him, but he said Tuesday afternoon that his first practice back went well and he should be good to go for the game on Saturday.