Tag:Connor Wood
Posted on: March 8, 2012 11:47 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2012 2:35 pm
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Spring Practice Primer: Colorado

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Colorado.

Spring Practice Starts: March 10

Spring Game: April 14

Returning starters: 6 offensive, 6 defensive, 2 specialists

Three Things To Look For:

1. Can the Buffs find a quarterback? After four years as an off-and-on starter, Tyler Hansen has (finally?) graduated and left Jon Embree with the first quarterbacking decision of his young Colorado tenure. The job was expected to be a spring battle -- and possibly a fall one -- between sophomores Connor Wood and Nick Hirschman, but after offseason surgery to repair a broken bone in his left foot, Hirschman amazingly broke the same bone in his right foot last weekend and will miss all of spring drills. As the only quarterback on the Buff roster to have taken a collegiate snap, Hirschman might have been the slight favorite, but now that honor falls to Wood as he duels redshirt freshmen John Shrock and Stevie Joe Dorman. From Wood's perspective, spring camp will be a key opportunity to put some distance between himself and Hirschman before the latter returns for fall camp. But for Embree, who winds up winning hte job will be less important than that someone does--and that process starts this weekend.

2. Are there any playmakers out there? If Embree's going to improve on 2011's 92nd-ranked offense, he's going to have to do it the hard way--in addition to Hansen, the Buffs have also lost leading rusher Rodney Stewart and four of their top five receivers, including starting tight end Ryan Deehan. The cupboard isn't bare -- rising junior receiver Paul Richardson and one-time highly regarded tight end recruit Nick Kasa both look poised for breakout seasons -- but it remains to be seen if any of the candidates at running back or any others at receiver or tight end are ready to become serious Pac-12 contributors. Given that whoever wins the quarterback job is going to experience some growing pains along the way, any help Embree can find for his future QB (or QBs) is going to be something valuable indeed.

3. Front seven: same question? The good news for the Colorado defense is that things can't get a lot worse than last year's 114th-place finish in yards per-play allowed (or the 102nd-place finish in total D) no matter what personnel they do or don't return. The bad news is that improvement will nonetheless have to come without their best defensive player in 2011, linebacker Josh Hartigan, who led the team in both sacks and tackles-for-loss on his way to Pac-12 Honorable Mention honors. (No Buff defender made either the league's first or second teams.) As with the offense, there's several promising pieces for Embree to work with: senior nose tackle Will Pericak, junior defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe, and linebacker Jon Major should all be capable of spearheading a step forward. But for the Buffs just to reach respectability in the rushing defense department -- a year after giving up the nation's 112th-worst mark per-carry -- someone (or several someones) will have to be more than "promising," and more like Hartigan.

To check in on the rest of the Pac-12 and other BCS conferences, check out the Spring Practice Schedule

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:35 am
Edited on: September 1, 2011 11:36 am
 

Connor Wood transfers to Colorado

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Connor Wood is leaving Texas.

Wood was one of the four quarterbacks competing this spring and fall to be Texas' starting quarterback along with David Ash, Case McCoy and incumbent starter Garrett Gilbert. Well, when the first depth chart was released earlier this week, Gilbert's name was once again on top, and Connor's name was absent as he wasn't even in the top three. Which was a pretty good indication to Wood that if he wanted to play football, he'd likely have to do it somewhere besides Austin.

And it seems Colorado is that somewhere. Texas released a statement saying that Wood had left the program for the former Big 12 school on Wednesday night.

“We appreciate everything Connor has brought to our program,” head coach Mack Brown said in a statement. “He is a tremendous young man and is a great teammate and student. We hate to see him leave, but at the same time we understand his desire to play. We hope for nothing but the best for him and look forward to following his career at Colorado.”

Wood released a statement of his own as well.

“I want to thank Coach (Mack) Brown, Coach (Bryan) Harsin, all of the coaches, and my teammates for the opportunity to play at a great school like The University of Texas,” Wood said. “I loved playing for UT and gave it my all, but I felt I needed to seek a new opportunity. I will always cherish the memories and friends I developed as a Longhorn, but I’m excited about the next chapter in my life and looking forward to playing at the University of Colorado.”

Wood came to Texas as one of the top quarterback recruits in the 2010 class. As per NCAA rules, he'll have to sit out a season before he's eligible to play for Colorado, but will have three years of eligibility remaining starting in 2012.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 12:40 pm
 

Garrett Gilbert named Texas' starting QB

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In just another indicator of how close we are to actual football games being played, the biggest quarterback question in the Big 12 was finally answered on Monday morning. The Texas Longhorns announced that Garrett Gilbert will be the team's starting quarterback when they line up against Rice on Saturday in Austin.

Gilbert had been in a battle with Case McCoy, Connor Wood and David Ash since the spring, but Gilbert has won the fight. For now at least. McCoy is currently listed behind Gilbert on the depth chart.

I say Gilbert is the starter for now because from most of the reports I read and heard about the position this spring and fall, Gilbert wasn't exactly blowing anybody away in camp. Throw in the fact that Gilbert threw only 10 touchdown passes compared to 17 interceptions last season as the Longhorns finished 5-7 and missed out on a bowl game, and I'm not sure he can be counted on to keep the job.

I'm of the opinion that Gilbert will improve in his second season as a starter, but if he's still not playing well enough or turning the ball over, I don't think Mack Brown will wait very long to pull the trigger on a switch. Texas doesn't want to endure another season like 2010. 
Posted on: May 10, 2011 1:25 pm
 

Mack Brown denies Gilbert report

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Yesterday I wrote about the Austin American-Statesman's Kirk Bohls saying that a source had told him that the battle to be starting quarterback at Texas was over. Even if Mack Brown and Bryan Harsin weren't saying it publicly, Garrett Gilbert would retain his starting job over Connor Wood and Case McCoy. Well, it seems this was all news to Mack Brown. Brown was on ESPN's College Football Live on Monday afternoon, and he denied any reports that said the Longhorns have decided on a quarterback.

"As we’ve said throughout the spring and many times since, we have not talked with the kids about a depth chart, and that includes our quarterback position,” Brown said.

Of course,the question now is whether or not Brown means what he says. After all, in Bohls' report yesterday, it was said that the reason Texas didn't want to go public with the news was to make sure the competition was as fierce as possible this summer. The Longhorns wouldn't want Wood or McCoy not trying as hard to win the job if they found out they didn't have a chance. Not to mention the possibility of a transfer -- hello, Mizzou -- should one of the quarterbacks find out that he's not going to be starting.

After all, while Gilbert has the edge in experience over the others, it's not as if he lit the world on fire last year. Even if he wins the job to start the year, there's no guarantee that he's going to play well enough to keep it, and Mack Brown will want his backups to be as ready as possible.

Posted on: May 9, 2011 11:15 am
 

Report: Garrett Gilbert is Texas' starter

Posted by Tom Fornelli

After having a rough season in his first year as starter, Garrett Gilbert was expected to compete with Case McCoy and Connor Wood for the starting quarterback job in Austin this season. It's a competition that Mack Brown and offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin haven't said much about, at least, not from a "who's winning" perspective. Though that doesn't mean that the Longhorns haven't made a choice.

According to Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman, the job belongs to Gilbert, and the Texas coaching staff just doesn't want to publicize it yet.

Junior-to-be quarterback Garrett Gilbert has been chosen as the Texas starter and been told so, one source who regularly talks to the football players told me, but Mack Brown and Bryan Harsin don’t want Connor Wood, Case McCoy and David Ash to stop working as hard as possible and haven’t made any public announcement on the starting position. I think it’d be smarter to show strength and confidence in Gilbert by announcing he’s the guy, which most all of us expect.

And since Bohls thinks it would be better for Texas to announce that Gilbert's the starter, Bohls went ahead and announced that Gilbert is the starter.

Bohls is correct in that this is what most of us were expecting as well. Yes, Gilbert had a rough sophomore season in Austin, but he also picked up a lot of experience that the rest of his competition just doesn't have. The fact is, after coming off of a 5-7 season, odds are that Texas isn't going to choose to go into a new season with an untested quarterback. Not unless he was far and away the best guy Texas had during the spring and summer.

Posted on: April 4, 2011 10:22 am
 

Case McCoy making play for Texas QB job

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

5-7 disaster on the resume or no 5-7 disaster on the resume, Garrett Gilbert's full year of experience as Texas's starting quarterback -- not to mention the five-star recruiting hype or one-time role as consensus heir to Colt McCoy's throne -- made him the spring favorite to reclaim the Longhorns' starting job under new offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin.

And Gilbert may yet wind up taking first-team snaps this fall all the same. But understudy Case McCoy (Colt's younger brother) is clearly giving the Longhorn coaches (and Gilbert) plenty to think about, making the biggest impression of the four Texas quarterbacks at Sunday's Orange-White Game:
McCoy, leading Texas' second-string offense against its first-string defense, moved the ball more consistently than incumbent starter Garrett Gilbert, Connor Wood and David Ash.

McCoy completed nine of 11 passes for 124 yards and threw the game's only touchdown pass, an 11-yard strike to walk-on wide receiver Patrick McNamara ...

Gilbert, as he did during his first season as a starter in 2010, made some plays but also committed some glaring errors. He badly underthrew tight end Ahmard Howard on an out rout, and safety Bryant Jackson intercepted...

Gilbert completed eight of 15 passes for 76 yards.

The observational consensus seems to be that none of the Longhorn quarterbacks were particularly impressive during the game, but after a season in which Gilbert threw a miserable 17 interceptions (to just 10 touchdowns), there might not be anything Gilbert could have done to hurt his standing with his new coaches more than toss an ill-advised pick. If McCoy can continue to show Harsin he can be more trustworthy with the ball -- and yesterday, he was -- he'll have a legitimate shot at winning the job.

Then again, when you're talking about a quarterback whose thrown fewer passes in his career than running back Foswhitt Whittaker, it's going to take more than one good afternoon (and one iffy one for Gilbert) to earn the reins at a place like Texas. The upshot of the Orange-White game isn't that the starting job is McCoy's to win just yet; it's simply that it might not be Gilbert's to lose any longer.

Posted on: March 9, 2011 12:38 pm
 

The Texas QB battle is far from won

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been nearly two weeks since Texas began holding spring practice, and in our primer on the Longhorns, we said the biggest question mark surrounding Texas this spring would be the team's starting quarterback. We also said that it could be some time before new offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin made a decision on who it would be.

Turns out that's exactly what it will be. Harsin talked to the media following practice on Tuesday and said that Texas may not make a decision until a week before it starts the season against Rice on September 3.

“I’ve been through this situation before,” Harsin said. “We’ve always got to have that point before the first game (when the decision is made). That can be a week, that can be 10 days, that can be two weeks.


Texas Longhorns

“They’ll perfect [the playbook] through the summer, come back in fall camp and let us tweak it and tighten it up a little bit more, then we’ll let them go play and put them in scenarios. We’ll base our decision off of that.”

At the beginning of practice, Garrett Gilbert has to be considered the favorite given his edge in experience, but it's not as if the experiences he had weren't disasterous at times. Which leaves the door open for guys like Case McCoy, Connor Wood and even incoming freshman David Ash.

Seeing as how Harsin just got to Austin, it's hard to blame him for wanting to see as much as he can from each of his quarterbacks before finally making a decision.
Posted on: February 22, 2011 5:02 am
Edited on: February 23, 2011 8:54 am
 

Spring Practice Primer: Texas

Posted by Tom Fornelli

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers. Today, we look at Texas which begins its spring practice on Thursday.

Spring Practice Question: Is Garrett Gilbert really in danger of losing the starting job?

Last month, Texas head coach Mack Brown declared the Texas quarterback position to be wide open. It seems that after a less than stellar performance from Garrett Gilbert in his first season as a starter, along with plenty of coaching turnover in Austin, Brown isn't ready to hand the job over to just anybody.

Of course, whether he truly meant it or not, we'll begin to find out on Thursday when the Longhorns begin spring practice.

If I had to lean in one direction, I'd believe Brown, but only with the understanding that the job is still Gilbert's to lose. Whether or not Gilbert was successful in 2010, he still has more experience than either Connor Wood or Case McCoy. The true wild card in all of this, however, is the addition of Bryan Harsin as Texas' co-offensive coordinator (Major Applewhite being the other co-coordinator, though something tells me Harsin wasn't brought in from Boise to defer to Applewhite).

Harsin comes from Boise State, and has no favorites amongst the quarterback trio. Gilbert may have started all 12 games for Texas last season, but he did so under Greg Davis and with Greg Davis' plays, so in that sense he's on the same ground floor that both Wood and McCoy are.

Still, this spring could be the deciding factor for Gilbert. If he can show a strong grasp of Harsin's offense over the next few weeks, he can begin to put the job on lockdown. If he struggles, then things will be a lot more interesting this fall, as both McCoy or Wood could wrestle the job away from him.

The most important thing that Gilbert will have to do to earn Harsin's trust, and make better decisions in the pocket. While Garrett was able to make enough plays with his arm and legs last season to tally 3,124 yards and 15 touchdowns, it was the 17 turnovers that most people will remember.

17 turnovers that had an awful lot to do with Texas finishing the season 5-7 and missing out on a bowl game for the first time since 1997. That cost John Mackovic his job as head coach in Austin, and though Mack survived, that fate may still befall Gilbert.

There is reason to believe that Gilbert will be able to cut down on the mistakes. First of all, he'll be a junior in 2011, and with a year of experience under his belt, he'll be a smarter player. Plus, there's some history to look at with quarterbacks under Harsin.

In 2008, as a freshman, Kellen Moore started every game for Boise State and threw 10 interceptions. Over the next two seasons, Moore only threw 9. 

Another reason to believe that Gilbert will improve in 2011 is that his receiving corps will get better as well. Mike Davis -- who caught 47 passes as a freshman -- will be another year older, another year better, and his play could go a long way in improving the performance of his quarterback. Whether that quarterback is Gilbert, McCoy or Wood. If Malcolm Williams and Darius White can start to reach their potential, life will be a lot easier as well.

At the end of the day, I think Gilbert will leave spring practice as the team's starter, and he'll be under center when Texas opens its season against Rice on September 3. He may have had a bad season in 2011, but the truth of it is that he's just more talented than both McCoy or Wood. So unless he has a flat-out awful performance this spring, I just don't see him losing the gig.

Of course, I didn't see Texas going 2-6 in the Big 12 last season, either. So who knows what will happen?
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com