USF Makes Sterlin Gilbert Hire Official
Questions surrounding USF’s new coaching staff have been flying since the hire of Charlie Strong.
According to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, a source said the school will name former Texas offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert to the USF position on Thursday. Gilbert would be joining Strong, whom he worked with at Texas.
Source: USF will make hire of former Texas OC Sterlin Gilbert official today. He’ll be Charlie Strong’s OC at USF.
— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) January 5, 2017
In fact, Gilbert’s twitter account has already been changed to display his new job at USF as offensive coordinator.
Gilbert had been hired to “fix” the Texas Longhorns’ offense, which was ranked No. 66 in the nation in efficiency this past season. But Gilbert ended up producing a 2,000 yard rusher and Doak Walker Award winner in D’Onta Foreman. Under his guidance, true freshman quarterback Shane Buechele just barely missed a 3,000-yard season and had 21 passing touchdowns. The Texas offense ranked 17th in the nation and second in the Big 12 in rushing, posting 239.3 yards per game on the ground. The offense also ranked 16th nationally and fifth in the Big 12 for total yards, averaging 491.3 per game.
“Sterlin has put together a tremendous track record of developing players and producing highly productive offenses that build on his players strengths,” Charlie Strong said in a news release by USF. “He’s young and passionate about his players and the game of football. We are excited to have Sterlin on our Bulls staff and to have him working with the very talented players we have at South Florida.”
To kickstart his career, a 24-year-old Gilbert landed a gig as Art Briles’ graduate assistant at the University of Houston in 2005 after volunteering at a camp arranged by Briles for two summers. Gilbert spent five years as an offensive coordinator at Eastern Illinois, Bowling Green, Tulsa and Texas.
During his time at Tulsa he led the Tulsa offense to being ranked 11th in the nation in passing, 13th in total offense and 21st in scoring in the nation. Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans passed for 4,332 yards and 25 touchdowns and receivers Keyarris Garrett and Josh Atkinson both posted 1,000-yard season.
While at Bowling Green Gilbert mentored back-ip quarterback James Knapke to a 3,000-yard passing season despite entering the season with only 10 collegiate passing attempts.
Then at Eastern Illinois Gilbert was named the 2013 FootballScoop FCS Coordinator of the Year after directing an offense that led the FCS producing 589.5 yards and 48.3 points per game and ranking second in passing with 372.4 yards per game and 20th with 217.1 rushing yards per game. The team went 12-2 and won the Ohio Valley Conference Championship. Gilbert guided current New England quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a stellar season that named him the Walter Payton Award winner.
The hire comes one week after USF pulled off a thrilling overtime victory against South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl led by T.J. Weist. Many wondered if Weist would stick around or follow Willie Taggart to Oregon after helping lead a record-breaking offense this year.
“I’m excited to join Coach Strong at South Florida and to get to work building on the great season they just had,” Gilbert said. “We have some very talented players, led by a dynamic quarterback in Quinton Flowers, and I am really looking forward working with them and the great football talent in the state of Florida. Being a former high school coach, I look forward to meeting the high school coaches in the state and know they play great football here.”
Now it seems fans have their answer to that, but are left with even more questions.
Will Gilbert be able to lead an up-tempo offense like USF? Or is he more pro-style? Will Weist still stay at USF as the co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach? How will Quinton Flowers adjust to a new head coach, offensive coordinator and losing his right-hand man, Marlon Mack?