McCoy the Top QB Ever? Talk to the Ghost of VY.

Colt poised to be the winningest college QB

Colt McCoy (in case you didn't already know)
Colt McCoy (in case you didn't already know) (Photo courtesy of UT)

Vince Young. Go ahead and say it. Everyone else will repeat the mantra this weekend and on through the end of this season of timidly high Texas Longhorn expectations. VY is the cloud that hangs over the Colt McCoy-led Horns as they creep through mostly mediocre opponents ever so close to a spot in the national title game.

VY is every kid’s backyard dream: The game is on the line, time is running out, he takes off toward the end zone …. You know how the story ends. Every current Longhorn knows how the story ends. That’s the problem; these guys have to finish writing their own story but past glory keeps getting in the way.

“It’s very hard to be a group of seniors who follow the 2005 crew,” Coach Mack Brown said of the last Texas national champs during his Monday press conference. “They were young guys and they watched it. Obviously modern history changed at Texas in 2005 and the national championship game, because the standard changed.”

But here we are near the end again. It was to be the year of the quarterback in the Big 12: Oklahoma’s Heisman-winning Sam Bradford? Gone. Baylor’s saviour Robert Griffin? Toast. Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell? Nada. Colt McCoy? About to become, with a 45-14 win this coming Saturday against Kansas, the winningest college quarterback. Ever. Is he better than VY? Magic 8-Ball sez: “Picture cloudy, ask me again in January.”

Don’t totally count out Jayhawk senior quarterback Todd Reesing. Kansas had high expectations coming into this season, too. Reesing had been a stud at Lake Travis High where he passed for 2,717 yards and 35 touchdowns in 2005, the year of VY. At Kansas, he has thrown for more than 10,000 career yards. Like McCoy, he’s a driven winner. Unlike McCoy, he’s at the helm of a ship that’s adrift and falling apart. After a 5-0 start, Kansas is 5-5 and there’s serious talk that the massive, angry man they call Coach Mark Mangino will be looking for work next year.

But Saturday is Senior Day at DKR-Memorial Stadium and Kansas will be a sacrificial lamb as the Longhorns hone the machine and honor the soon departing. The machine is Defense with a capital D that is one of Texas’ best ever. After Baylor got off to a hot start last Saturday, Aaron Williams leaped up to grab an interception in the end zone, and the game was all but done. The Bears ran 30 first-half plays for 37 yards and were down 40-0 at the half. The Texas D stopped them on seven of eight third-down tries. By the end of the third quarter, Baylor had 87 yards on 47 tries. Send in the reserves. The final 47-14 score reflects late slop points. It was probably the most complete first half the Horns played this year.

Longhorn fans’ biggest scare of the game came as Jordan Shipley took a helmet to the solar plexus and lay writhing on the turf. A few plays later, this man of steel, hauled in a touchdown pass and sauntered off the field in quiet victory as he has all season. Unfortunately for Heisman-hungry McCoy, the coaches ached for a running game and found one with bruiser Cody Johnson grinding out 109 yards. That meant McCoy got to rest his throwing arm and his 181 yards didn’t impress the Heisman voters. Expect that to change this weekend. It will all be about McCoy.

“Who can take over after Vince Young and handle it?” Brown said of McCoy. “The first thing he says is ‘I’m not Vince Young. I can’t be Vince Young. Nobody’s ever going to be Vince Young.’ Here he is he’s already won 42 games. In his quiet, polite, great-role-model manner he’s taken over. He’s one of the best quarterbacks not just in Texas school history but forever.”

Now it’s up to this team to prove they are VY worthy. Will a Turkey Day trip to College Station lead to an Aggie upset? Not likely, but they erect celebratory billboards when Texas A&M manages a win in the storied rivalry. And McCoy--despite being on a team that has won 10+ games each of his four years--is 1-2 in the matchup. Not even D.J. Monroe’s drunk-driving arrest can distract from this dream that’s almost come true in each of the seasons since VY.

Mack Brown basically told his team this week it’s time for the real men to come forward: “Basically I said, ‘You can choose. If you want to be flat and stand around and get beaten at the end, that’s up to you. I can’t do anything about it. If you sincerely want to be 40 years old and look back at what you accomplished, you’ve got two weeks to put yourself in a different place.”

Play ball.

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