McCoy still Longhorns' best bet at QB

November, 22, 2013
11/22/13
11:00
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Mack Brown doesn’t enjoy postgame press conferences. If he could skip them, he probably would. It’s not that he has disdain for the reporters and their questions -- well, OK, that could be part of it -- he just doesn’t like the answers he gives.

He’s fresh off the field and out of the locker room speech. His adrenaline is usually at a high, win or lose. He thinks the setting leads to too many hastily thought-out answers, to the occasional comment he ends up regretting in hindsight on Sunday.

So after Texas’ 38-13 loss to Oklahoma State, Brown changed up his routine. On six occasions, he responded to questions by saying he needed to review the game film first. He didn’t want to force an answer.

[+] EnlargeCase McCoy
AP Photo/Michael ThomasTexas QB Case McCoy said he plans to learn from his struggles (3 INTs, 0 TDs) against Oklahoma State.
Several of those questions involved Texas’ quarterback situation. When asked to describe the mistakes Case McCoy made against the Cowboys, Brown held back.

“We'll have to look at it on video,” he said.

So Brown was asked again. What about the interception for a touchdown McCoy threw to Justin Gilbert?

“We'll have to look at all of them on video,” Brown said. “For me to sit here and analyze what he did without looking at anybody else, the route or anybody else would be unfair to him.”

With Texas on a bye week, Brown hasn’t had a chance to reveal his findings to reporters. But there isn’t much that needs to be said at this point in the season: Case McCoy is Texas’ quarterback and, right now, it’s only legitimate option at quarterback.

McCoy is coming off the worst start of his senior season, at least by raw QBR standards. His stat line -- 26-39, 221 yards, no TDs, three INTs -- drew a QBR of 29.8. The quality of OSU’s defense improved that number to 65.4 in opponent-adjusted QBR, his second-worst start behind the Kansas game.

The only number that mattered on Saturday was his three interceptions, each one costly. He’s now thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in 2013, all nine turnovers coming in Texas’ last five games. He won six straight games, but those miscues aren't the results the Longhorns expect from their game manager.

Texas’ offensive futility in the second half against OSU -- six drives, 3 points -- has some clamoring for more playing time for true freshman Tyrone Swoopes, who has appeared in three games since burning his redshirt. He’s put up 18 passing yards and 40 rushing yards, with all of his appearances coming in the final minutes of ballgames.

Brown didn’t offer up a postgame answer on his Swoopes-related plans, but the philosophy on his usage hasn’t changed much. He still has a lot to learn. He’s not ready.

And neither is David Ash, who appeared on the sidelines last weekend for the first time in two months. He wore a hat and sunglasses. He’s not in playing shape. He’s not yet capable of a full week of practice, much less a game.

As long as Texas is chasing a Big 12 championship, McCoy gives Brown his best shot at winning. And teammates have bought in to that plan.

“We are all a family in this thing, and I know what Case did out there,” guard Trey Hopkins said. “I know he is the quarterback that we are backing, and I know he is still the guy we are backing.”

McCoy’s response to his poor showing against Oklahoma State was similar to his coach’s. He’s reviewing the tape, learning from it and moving on.

“All we can do is go back to the film room and go back to work,” McCoy said. “What we did, we dug ourselves in a hole. We had bad field position from the get go and just got behind, and with an offense like that and we weren't playing well, that's something we've just got to get fixed because we've got two more offenses in the next couple of weeks that can score points too.

“So me, personally, I have to get things fixed, and we have to be able to score points.”

Games against Texas Tech and Baylor could demand lots of points. Both could develop into high-scoring shootouts. The Longhorns might have to ask a lot of their game manager, and they can’t afford turnovers. McCoy knows that.

“It’s on me,” he said. “My team knows it’s on me, and we’re going to get it fixed and go win.”

Max Olson | email

Big 12 reporter

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