Offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert will take the field to call plays at Darrell K. Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium for the first time on Sunday night. He met with the media Tuesday to discuss the team’s new offense and mindset heading into 2016.
Gilbert set for first challenge as Texas’ play-caller
Gilbert has kept the same mentality at each stop throughout his career: He expects to have a chance to win every game he’s involved in.
“At the end of the day, every time that we get on the field, we’ll do what it takes to win,” Gilbert said. “You don’t ever know what exactly that’s going to be every time you step on the field. Whatever it takes for us to have one more than they have, that’s what we’ll do.”
The Longhorns’ ability to outscore their opponents starts with Gilbert. If he calls the right plays, it’s up to the offense to pull through with points.
Aside from focusing on his own players, an offensive coordinator must scheme around the opponents’ strengths. Gilbert knows he will face a formidable defense Sunday. He said the Fighting Irish boast a stout defensive line and will pose plenty of problems for Texas’ offense.
“Those guys are really good up front — they’re really talented,” Gilbert said. “They’re coming off a really highly successful season. They’re going to carry some confidence.”
The Notre Dame defense held Texas to 163 total yards — 103 passing and 60 rushing — in last year’s season opener. That trend continued for a Texas team that finished 2015 ranked 92nd in total offense, prompting the turn to Gilbert in 2016.
Gilbert looks to change narrative for Texas’ offense
Texas’ offensive coordinator spot has been anything but consistent over the past few years. Including Gilbert, four different offensive coordinators have called plays since 2013.
Gilbert hopes to change that trend this season.
He said he’s been counting down the days until opening night since he arrived in Austin. And he has seen the offense progress throughout his first eight months on the 40 Acres.
“It’s been about work since our feet hit the ground here,” Gilbert said. “It’s been about installing an offense. It’s been about changing an attitude.”
Whether the attitude has changed or not, Gilbert said he is confident that the team has developed enough to be successful on opening night.
“What we’re going to worry about is us,” Gilbert said. “If we take care of us, then at the end of the day, lay the chips on the table and they’ll fall where they’ll fall.”