The Austin Chronicle

Will the Real Colt McCoy Please Stand Up

By Joe O'Connell, September 4, 2009, 11:33am, The Score

Colt McCoy, who are you? Your hungry, hungry fans truly, deeply need to know in a sort of Tiger Beat crush kind of way. Are you the No. 2 Texas Longhorns boy-man perpetually shuffling along in Vince Young’s shadow? Maybe. A taller (but, come on, not 6’3”!) Tom Cruise clone programmed from a young age to …

… smile and forever utter the correct platitudes drilled in by God, his high school coach/dad, and a personal life coach? Glad you asked, and keep reaching for the stars, my child. Perhaps McCoy’s a more-muscled and less-angry Major Applewhite who will one day make a fine coach. Drop and give me 20, maggot.

The correct answer is all of the above, sort of. McCoy is nicer than Applewhite, saner than Cruise, and has better stats than Young. What? You heard me. Consider Young’s UT career passing yards in three seasons: 6,040. McCoy’s got 9,732. Sure Young’s more than 3,000 yards on the ground, almost triple what McCoy has done. But McCoy just got his feet last year when he rambled for 561 as the Horns top runner. Young had 1,050 yards in 2005 when he almost single-handedly nabbed a national title. McCoy can beat that this year as he pushes aside most of Texas' remaining quarterback records.

Applewhite has seen a string of marks he set at the turn of the century stolen away by robo-McCoy: career passing yards, passing yards in a season, completions in a season, completions in a career. The only records the current UT running backs coach retains are 156 consecutive passes without an interception and 19 consecutive games with a touchdown.

Those last two are mucho important because if Texas is to truly vie for another title it will be up to McCoy’s mobility, preprogrammed smiles, and consistency. That’s it. One player holding a team of veterans together. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately the Horns’ weaknesses are likely to be retreads from 2008. Of ball carriers, Vondrell McGee is back and starting. Fozzy Whittaker is back and his knee is held together with baling wire. Cody Johnson is finally getting in shape. Here’s hoping he surprises fans this year. I predict Johnson will pull off at least one long flashy run against the University of Louisiana-Monroe in a 58-3 romp on Saturday that will have Coach Mack Brown deflecting talk of running up the score. If Johnson doesn’t, he’ll be handing out water the rest of the season. Run, Colt, run. You are again our savior.

The bigger weakness is at tight end, where players’ careers explode like a Spinal Tap drummer. Four-receiver set, anyone? McCoy’s soul mate, seventh-year (no kidding!) senior Jordan Shipley is back. So is a solid, experienced offensive line that will give him time to find receivers.

Last year’s other big question mark could be the deal maker/breaker. The defensive backfield is looking solid. They’ll be key as Texas tries to get past its two biggest opponents of the year: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Sam Bradford is a one-man team at OU, but the rest of the paper-bag Sooners don’t match up to the Burnt Orange. OSU could again be a late-season shocker for the Horns. Texas Tech? Close for the first half only in Austin. Horns cruise with improved pass defense. And the rest of this puffy schedule assures Texas of another 10-win season and a real problem with the computer rankings as the season comes to a close. Sound familiar? The difference from 2008 is a healthy McCoy will claim Texas’ third Heisman and just possibly a national championship. A dinged-up Colt still gets Texas close. A sidelined McCoy brings a nine-win season and an early start to the Garrett Gilbert glory years. Let’s play ball.

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