Every coach preaches competition. It's the lifeblood of any program.
But Texas coach Mack Brown gave reason for pause during an appearance on Thursday's episode of "College Football Live" when asked about the competition at his quarterback position, where Garrett Gilbert started every game last season.
"Garrett's got two great years of experience under his belt and we've got some other great quarterbacks as well," he said. "That competition, like all the other positions on our team, will be wide open this spring."
The facts don't lie. Gilbert didn't get it done in 2010. There's no need to look any further than his 10 touchdowns and 17 interceptions for proof. Plenty of those were forced passes with the Longhorns trying to come from behind, but that ratio is unacceptable regardless of the situation.
So, is Brown doing anything other than giving lip service when he says his quarterback job is "wide open?"
How about yes and no?
To be clear, I'd be shocked if Gilbert wasn't the starter coming out of spring and entering the 2011 season opener. But with so much turnover in the coaching staff -- Texas will have six new coaches, including new offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, formerly of Boise State -- statements like Brown's can be an effective motivator.
Harsin likely doesn't know Gilbert from his backups, Case McCoy and Connor Wood. The same goes for the rest of the team. In terms of Harsin's attitude toward his quarterbacks, certainly the job has to be "open."
Gilbert is the most talented of the three, and I have a hard time believing Wood or McCoy would have done much better while trying to complete passes to Texas' struggling receiving corps.
That group should be better this year, spearheaded by an improving and maturing Mike Davis, who was second on the team with 47 receptions as a freshman in 2010. Junior Malcolm Williams and fellow freshman Darius White need to make good on their potential to help the Longhorns re-establish a serviceable passing game.
So sure, for now, the quarterback job is just like the rest of the positions entering spring: open.
But chances are good that Gilbert will change that early on in spring once Harsin gets some time to work with his most talented quarterback, and by far his most experienced.