Football

In: Gilbert, Mattox; Out: Watson, Wickline

Sterlin Gilbert. (Texas athletics)
Sterlin Gilbert. (Texas athletics)

BOYD: Briles Ball comes to Texas

HALL: Changes coming to Austin; players perspective

COACH V: Thoughts from the Bunker

WELLS: It’s Gilbert

Per Texas officials:

AUSTIN — A former Texas high school standout quarterback and coach, Sterlin Gilbert has helped lead some of college football’s most prolific offenses in recent years. In his four seasons as a collegiate coordinator, his offenses have averaged almost 500 total yards and nearly 38 points per game. He will now bring that explosive offense to Texas where he will serve as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, head coach Charlie Strong announced Saturday. He will receive a three-year contract worth $850,000 per year pending the approval of the UT System Board of Regents.

“I feel extremely blessed by this opportunity,” Gilbert said. “I’ve been looking forward to an opportunity like this for a long time, and we’re finally here. I’m excited to be on campus, and to get around our kids and our coaching staff. Coach Strong has been great through this process, and I just can’t wait to meet and see our kids.”

Gilbert spent this past season at Tulsa as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks/receivers coach, helping the Golden Hurricane rank 14th nationally in total offense (502.8 ypg), 25th in scoring (35.9 ppg) and 11th in passing (329.5). That offense scored at least 40 points in five of Tulsa’s six wins, leading to an Independence Bowl bid versus Virginia Tech.

“We just made two great hires for our staff,” Strong said. “They’re outstanding coaches who will do a great job of not only developing our players, but also representing this university and doing things the right way. We did a lot of research on both of them and we know they will be the right fit for our staff. I really feel we have two quality coaches who work well together, and they’ll do an outstanding job.

“Sterlin is an outstanding coach, and he’s done a great job developing quarterbacks everywhere he’s been. He has a great mind for the offense and will do a great job leading it.”

The offense was led by American Athletic Conference first-team WR Keyarris Garrett, who is second in the country in receiving yards (1,451) and receiving yards per game (120.9 ypg), and tied for ninth in receptions (88). WR Josh Atkinson is just short of 1,000 receiving yards with 932, while QB Dane Evans is seventh in the country in passing (329.8 ypg) and 25th in efficiency (151.3).

“Charlie Strong has high character,” Gilbert said. “I like the direction that he’s taken the program. The support and just his openness to what we want to do offensively, that was a fit for us, and a fit for him. Texas is home for me. I was a Texas high school football coach. If you cut me open that’s what I am. So it’s good to be back in Texas.

“I’ve always been a Texas fan. It’s just an unbelievable program. The tradition, and the people that have been involved with this program, the players that come out of this program, the coaches – it’s just an unbelievable place.”

Prior to his appointment at Tulsa, Gilbert was the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the 2014 season at Bowling Green. That year, the Falcons gained 432.9 total yards per game (41st NCAA), while averaging 173.0 yards on the ground and 259.9 yards passing. That production all came without the services of starting QB Matt Johnson who was injured and would this year become the 2015 Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Gilbert mentored back-up QB James Knapke to a 3,000-yard passing season despite his only having 10 previous collegiate passing attempts. His 3,173 yards ranked seventh on the school single-season list at the time, while his 280 completions were sixth. Wide receiver Roger Lewis recorded 1,093 receiving yards and earned first-team All-MAC honors, while RBs Travis Green (949/12), Fred Coppet (764/6) and Andre Givens (479/8) combined for 2,192 yards and 26 TDs. BGSU finished the season with a victory over South Alabama in the 2014 Camellia Bowl.

During the 2012-13 seasons, Gilbert served as the offensive coordinator at Eastern Illinois, where in his second year he was named 2013 FootballScoop FCS Coordinator of the Year. The Panthers led the nation in total offense (589.5 ypg) and scoring (48.2 ppg), while ranking second with 372.4 passing yards, and 20th with 217.1 rushing yards per game, leading to a 12-2 record and an Ohio Valley Conference Championship.

Under the guidance of Gilbert, QB Jimmy Garoppolo was named the 2013 Walter Payton Award winner, the FCS equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, given to the nation’s best player. Garoppolo led the nation and ranked second in FCS single-season history with 5,050 passing yards, while ranking second in the nation and fourth in FCS history with 53 passing TDs. He was also third in the country in passing efficiency (168.3) and was chosen OVC Offensive Player of the Year.

During his two seasons with Gilbert, Garoppolo passed for 8,873 yards and 84 TDs. He finished his career seventh in FCS history with 13,156 passing yards, and sixth with 118 passing TDs. He went on to become a second-round draft choice by the New England Patriots in the 2014 NFL Draft.

In addition to Garoppolo, five other players were named 2013 first-team All-OVC, representing each position group with running back, wide receiver, tight end and offensive line. Three more players were named to the second team.

Two-time consensus first-team All-American WR Erik Lora led the nation in receptions with 123, which tied for second in FCS history, only behind his own record of 136 in the previous season. He was also second in TD receptions with 19 (tied for sixth all-time in FCS), and third in receiving yards with 1,544 (16th all-time in FCS). He finished his career second in FCS history with 332 receptions, and 12th with 4,006 yards.

Fellow WR Adam Drake was just behind Lora with 85 receptions for 1,305 yards (fifth in the nation) and 13 TDs (eighth in the nation) and earned second-team All-OVC honors. Both went on to sign free agent contracts with NFL teams.

The running backs came up 12 yards short of a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, including first-teamer Shepard Little with 1,551 yards (seventh in the nation) and 15 TDs, and second-teamer Taylor Duncan with 988 yards and 10 TDs. Tight end Jeff LePak (51-723-8), OT Dominic Pagliara and OG Collin Seibert accounted for the other members of the OVC first team and were selected third-team All-America, while offensive linemen Nick Borre made the second team, and Jimmy Lowery was on the All-Newcomer Team.

In his first season at EIU, Gilbert directed a Panthers offense that ranked sixth in the nation in passing (334.9 ypg), seventh in total offense (470.9 ypg) and eighth in scoring (36.5 ppg). The offense set several school records at the time, including touchdown passes with 34. That year, Garoppolo was seventh in the nation in total offense (318.5 ypg), while Lora set the FCS record for receptions (136) and led the nation in receiving yards with (1,664/sixth all-time in FCS) en route to being named OVC Offensive Player of the Year. Seibert joined him on the all-conference first team, while RB Jake Walker rushed for 1,133 yards and 12 TDs and made the second team, along with TE Sam Hendricks and C Kevin Kapellas.

Gilbert enjoyed a successful career as a high school coach in Texas before moving to Eastern Illinois. In 2011, he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Temple High School, where the team advanced to the Texas state 5A playoffs. There he coached Zach Allen who is now a sophomore quarterback at TCU.

Prior to joining the staff at Temple, Gilbert was the head coach at his alma mater, San Angelo Lake View High School, for three seasons (2008-10). He rebuilt a program that had won only three games in three years prior to his arrival to a team that won the 2008 Bi-District Championship and the school’s first playoff game in 12 years. He was named the West Texas High School Coach of the Year in 2008.

Gilbert developed a name for himself as a prolific offensive coach at Abilene Cooper High School during the 2006 and 2007 seasons when he served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In 2006, Cooper was the state’s top passing offense in District 3-5A with 3,172 yards, while in 2007, he helped take the team to the state playoffs.

The first collegiate coaching experience of Gilbert’s career came as a graduate assistant under Art Briles at the University of Houston in 2005 when the Cougars earned a trip to the Fort Worth Bowl. Gilbert assisted with the quarterbacks and running backs. His first job was on the prep level as the quarterbacks and running backs coach at Springtown (Texas) High School from 2003-04.

A standout prep performer at San Angelo Lake View High School, Gilbert was a two-time All-State quarterback and was named District MVP in 1996. He was Big XII Region All-America and All-West Texas 4A MVP.

Gilbert went on to start at quarterback for three seasons at Angelo State University, where he led the Rams to back-to-back Lone Star Conference South Division championships. A two-time team captain, Gilbert concluded his career in fourth place all-time in total offense and was named Honorable Mention All-Lone Star Conference in 2000 and 2001. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a minor in history from Angelo State in 2002.

Matt Mattox, the former co-offensive coordinator with Sterlin Gilbert and offensive line coach at Tulsa, has been named offensive line coach/running game coordinator at Texas, head coach Charlie Strong announced Saturday. He will receive a three-year contract worth $550,000 per year pending the approval of the UT System Board of Regents.

“Obviously this is one of the greatest institutions in the United States, and it’s the football capital of the world being in the state of Texas,” Mattox said. “Getting an opportunity to be here and coaching at The University of Texas, I’m very honored and very excited to get here and get to work.”

Matt Mattox. (Texas athletics)
Matt Mattox. (Texas athletics)

Mattox has spent the past three years coaching with Gilbert at Tulsa, Bowling Green and Eastern Illinois. This past season at Tulsa, he helped the offense rank 14th nationally in total offense (502.8 ypg), 25th in scoring (35.9 ppg) and 11th in passing (329.5 ypg). That offense scored at least 40 points in five of Tulsa’s six wins, leading to an Independence Bowl bid versus Virginia Tech.

“We just made two great hires for our staff,” Strong said. “They’re outstanding coaches who will do a great job of not only developing our players, but also representing this university and doing things the right way. We did a lot of research on both of them and we know they will be the right fit for our staff. I really feel we have two quality coaches who work well together, and they’ll do an outstanding job.

“Matt will handle the running game. He’s an unbelievable coach himself, who has shown great ability in coaching offensive lines in the places he’s been.”

The offense was led by American Athletic Conference first-team WR Keyarris Garrett, who is second in the country in receiving yards (1,451) and receiving yards per game (120.9 ypg), and tied for ninth in receptions (88). WR Josh Atkinson is just short of 1,000 receiving yards with 932, while QB Dane Evans is seventh in the country in passing (329.8 ypg) and 25th in efficiency (151.3).

“In the time I’ve had to meet Charlie and sit down together, I’ve enjoyed our time together. My wife got a chance to meet him and ask him questions, and it really felt like he promoted a great family atmosphere for me and my family. Obviously, he’s high character, a guy that’s ready to do whatever’s necessary to go get the job done, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Prior to Tulsa, Mattox was the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Bowling Green in 2014. The Falcons gained 432.9 yards per game to rank 41st nationally in total yards, while averaging 173.0 yards on the ground and 259.9 yards passing, all without starting QB Matt Johnson who was injured and would the next year become the 2015 Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Offensive lineman Alex Huettel was tabbed second-team All-Mid-American Conference and was named to the 2015 preseason Lombardi Award watch list, while WR Roger Lewis recorded 1,093 receiving yards and earned first-team All-MAC honors. RBs Travis Green (949/12), Fred Coppet (764/6) and Andre Givens (479/8) combined for 2,192 yards and 26 TDs. BGSU finished the season with a victory over South Alabama in the 2014 Camellia Bowl.

“Having played in Kansas, but then also being able to play in Texas and recruiting down here, I know the type of athletes that are being recruited here and the type of talent that comes from the state,” Mattox said. “I know the tradition that’s here at The University of Texas, and I’m just looking forward to getting a chance to put my mark on that.”

During the 2013 season, Mattox served as the offensive line coach at Eastern Illinois, where the Panthers led the nation in total offense (589.5 ypg) and scoring (48.2 ppg), while ranking second with 372.4 passing yards, and 20th with 217.1 rushing yards per game, leading to a 12-2 record and an Ohio Valley Conference Championship.

Behind third-team All-Americans OT Dominic Pagliara and OG Collin Seibert, the offensive line paved the way for the record-setting offense that included QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who was named the 2013 Walter Payton Award winner, the FCS equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, and consensus first-team All-American Erik Lora, who led the nation in receptions with 123, which tied for second in FCS history. In addition to Paliara and Seibert, while offensive linemen Nick Borre was tabbed second-team All-OVC, and Jimmy Lowery was on the All-Newcomer Team.

Previously, Mattox spent six years as an offensive line/tight ends coach in the junior college ranks. He served as the offensive coordinator during the 2012 season at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. In his one season at Coffeyville, the offense averaged 370.2 total yards, including 170.2 rushing, and 28.8 points per game, finishing the yearat 6-4. Five of Coffeyville’s offensive players earned all-conference honors, including sophomore C D.J. Lynn and freshman OG Hayden Chandler.

Prior to Coffeyville, Mattox was the offensive line/tight ends coach at Butler (Kansas) Community College. During five seasons with the school from 2007-11, he helped coach the program to four conference and NJCAA Region VI Championships. In his tenure, he coached 31 all-conference offensive linemen and six junior college All-Americans.

In 2007 and 2008, Mattox was part of a staff that coached Butler to the NJCAA National Championship. The 2007 team went a perfect 12-0 and led the Jayhawk Conference in scoring with 35.1 points per game. The following year, Butler was 11-1 and again led the league with 34.2 points per contest. Butler posted an 8-3 record in 2009, however still finished ranked No. 10 in the NJCAA poll.

In 2010, Butler also advanced to the national championship game again and finished the season ranked second in the nation with an 11-1 record and a conference and region title. The offense averaged 38.0 points per game, including a 40.4 average in region games, while recording over 370 yards per game.

The 2011 season also saw Butler post an 11-1 record with a conference and region championship, along with a bowl win and a No. 2 final national ranking. The offense averaged 48.6 points and 499.3 yards per game in region play heading into the bowl and finished averaging 46.3 points for the season with just under 480 yards of offense.

Mattox began his coaching career at the University of Houston under Art Briles, first working with the football program as an assistant strength coach in 2005 and then as a graduate assistant in 2006, assisting with the offensive tackles. Houston posted a 10-4 record in 2006, won the Conference USA Championship and made an appearance in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

A native of Holton, Kansas, Mattox was a second-team junior college All-American tight end at Butler Community College. He played his final two collegiate seasons (2002-03) at Houston under Briles, moving from tight end to offensive tackle prior to his senior season. As a senior, Mattox earned second-team All-Conference USA honors at offensive tackle as the Cougars posted a 7-6 record and played in the Hawai’i Bowl.

Mattox earned his bachelor’s degree in sports administration with a minor in health from Houston in 2005. He and his wife, Stacey, have two children, Kirby and Macey.

The contracts of University of Texas assistant coaches Shawn Watson (Assistant Head Coach for Offense/Quarterbacks) and Joe Wickline (Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line) will not be extended with the Longhorns football staff, head coach Charlie Strong said on Saturday.

“Shawn’s been on our staff for five years, and I really appreciate everything he’s done for us here and at Louisville,” Strong said. “I’ve known Joe for a long time and have enjoyed working with him. They are really good coaches and high-quality people. I’m grateful for all they’ve done, but feel like with our new vision for our offense, we’re at a point where we need to look in a different direction in their positions. I thank them and wish them the best.”

J
Justin was born a sports fan. From the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, and Texas Rangers, he fell in love with sports at a young age. Justin lettere...