In doing that, Gilbert has inspired a defense to play the way all on that side of the ball believed they could.
“You have a potential first round guy and he is willing to do all those little things,” Malone said. “As a coach when I say, ‘Alright Justin you got to do this,' he jumps out there to do it.”
What he does on the defensive side of the ball is allow Malone to be more creative in his coverages and schemes. Against Texas, for example, Malone was able to lock Gilbert up one-on-one against Texas' top deep threat Mike Davis and keep him out of the end zone. Davis did have 112 yards but he only got behind Gilbert once for a 41-yard grab. Gilbert paid Davis back with his second interception of the game on a deep route in the third.
“Offensively they load the offense to one side of the field and as a defense you have to respect,” Malone said. “We are able to respect that and overload knowing that we have got (Gilbert) backside and he can handle the receivers to the backside.”
These days, with his junior year far behind him and a successful senior year in full bloom, Gilbert is proving there is not much that he can't handle.