October 2, 2008

Can Colt McCoy run on the Big 12 elite?

In this week's Fourth-and-Inches, we tackle this thought:

Is Colt McCoy a dual-threat quarterback?

That notion is still bouncing off some noggins with resistance, including McCoy's.

"I don't know if you'd call it dual-threat," McCoy said when I posed the question. "I'm just doing what Coach (Greg) Davis asks me to do. A couple times we had a sprintout and the coverage was there, so I ran.

"Last year, I'm sprinting out, I'd probably try to squeeze a ball in - get it knocked down, throw incomplete and play third-and-10 or get it picked off and let them go score and hurt our team. Whereas now, I'll run and make 10 yards and play first-and-10 again. It's just being smart with the ball."


Mack Brown has been trotting out numbers comparing Vince Young through four games of 2005 and McCoy through four games this season.

FYI - Vince was 54 of 82 passing for 780 yards with seven TD passes and five interceptions (65 percent completion rate) with 48 caries for 310 yards (6.5 ypc). McCoy is 80 of 100 passing for 1,018 yards with 14 TDs and one interception (80 percent completion rate) with 34 carries for 278 yards (8.2 ypc).

So I asked Greg Davis is McCoy a dual-threat quarterback, and Davis said yes - but in a different way from VY.

"With Vince, we were a predominantly zone read running team," Davis said. "We're not running a ton of zone read plays with Colt. Against Arkansas we probably ran five. We're getting him a few carries in ways other than just that play. And then he's making a few plays on his own. That's about where we'd like to keep it.

"The draw the other day we ran in the first quarter, it's one of the things we wanted to do early because we had not run that play this year with him. As much as he's thrown the ball and as accurately as he's thrown the ball people have been getting up field. We ran it twice - he actually scored a touchdown on it right before the half. We're doing some more things with him in the running game."


Even McCoy was surprised by the quarterback draw call in the red zone against Arkansas.

"I think Coach Davis has a lot of confidence in me now - to call a lot of plays - because he knows I'm going to take care of the ball," McCoy said. "He knows offensively, we're doing pretty well. We're able to get in and out of our personnel groups. We've scored most of the time we had the ball.

"In the (Arkansas) game, we ran three quarterback draws. I haven't had that called in a long time. In the red zone, I'm thinking, 'Did he mess up?' What's he doing?

"They obviously dropped a lot of guys in the secondary, so I was able to use my feet. I think that's what it's going to be. If I can get four or five zone read plays a game and a couple quarterback draws, that's plenty to keep the defense on their heels and for us to move the ball."


McCoy said he's faster than he's ever been because he worked hard on his speed over the summer, doing a lot of extra sprint work. He said he noticed his new speed in the first scrimmage of fall camp.

"It was the second play of the scrimmage, and I pulled a zone read for 70 yards," McCoy said. "When I went 70 yards and no one caught me, I thought maybe I'm a little faster."

McCoy isn't crazy about running the standard option play, even though he scored on a 35-yard run against Arkansas. Mack Brown said it's important to run option plays just to force defenses to dedicate the time to work on it in practice.

"I don't look to run. I want to sit in the pocket, go through my progressions and throw the ball down the field," McCoy said.


Still, this notion of Crazy Legs McCoy as a dual-threat quarterback is gaining some traction. Even McCoy's roommate and best friend, Jordan Shipley, says it's so, and Shipley has known McCoy since they were in grade school.

"I think he's probably surprised everybody," Shipley said. "I always thought of Colt as a passing quarterback when he first got here, and the more I see him play, the more I see him as a dual-threat quarterback. It's been impressive."

The question is, can McCoy continue to average 8.2 yards per carry against the likes of Oklahoma, Missouri and the Big Boys of the Big 12.

"I think he's going to be successful running against no matter who we play," Shipley said. "If he needs to run, he'll run. It doesn't matter who we're playing, it just matters what they're trying to do to us."


McCoy still doesn't think to slide, something he might want to seriously consider. But he says he's bulked up to better absorb the punishment.

"From the day I stepped on campus, I weighed 179 pounds," McCoy said. "I was sitting there behind a guy who weighed 225 (Vince Young). That's like 50 pounds more than me. And I saw all the guys playing quarterback in the Big 12, so I knew I had to put on weight, grow and get bigger and stronger.

"I fluctuate weight-wise between 205 and 210. I feel comfortable. I can run and take some shots. If I don't eat like six times a day and work out, I'll go back to 179 pounds. Even with the weight - 30 to 35 pounds - you have to maintain your speed or get faster. So we've worked hard on that."

He's worked hard enough to raise the question - is he a dual-threat quarterback?

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