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Can Texas neutralize "Mount Cody"?

1/4/2010

An interesting discussion is taking shape regarding Texas' offense with quarterback Colt McCoy predominantly passing and doing so with a quick release against Alabama's vaunted defense led by ultimate run stopper, nose tackle Terrence Cody.

The thought is if McCoy is getting off quick passes, using screens and other short passes to create space, and not allowing the Crimson Tide pass rush time to get to him, then it helps to neutralize the 6-foot-5, 365-pound Cody's best asset, stopping the run. Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart said the Longhorns are more balanced than it might seem.

"They're pretty stubborn with the run. They want to at least keep the run threat there so you can't turn it into a pass-rush game, which for them is wanting to stay balanced and try to run the ball," Smart said. "[Texas offensive coordinator Greg] Davis has always kind of been that way, and that allows Terrence's best assets to come out, which are to stop the run, push the pocket, knock balls down and do those kind of things."

He's right, to an extent. On the season, Texas has attempted 498 passes and 485 rushes, pretty balanced. However, McCoy is the team' second-leading rusher in yards (348) and no one's toted the football more than his 128 rushes. And plenty of those runs have come out of pass plays.

Still, Alabama expects Texas to try to establish the run with starting tailback Tre' Newton, and for Cody to gobble it up and force the Longhorns to become one-dimensional.

"It's not that he's not a good pass rusher; he is," Smart said of Cody. "But, the fact that he doesn't get an opportunity a lot of times, and your ability to sub and put guys in and out and substitute guys, he hasn't been there as much. But, we would not be as effective a running team. When you watch teams and you talk to other coaches after you play them, you talk to other SEC teams, they just can't get movement. Running game is about movement. If you can move people, you create space. And there is no space created when Cody is in there, and that's what he does best for us."