Commentary

Again, it's McCoy and Shipley for Texas

Sophomore QB and freshman receiver look to build legacy against Oklahoma

Updated: October 4, 2011, 6:29 PM ET
By Carter Strickland | HornsNation

AUSTIN, Texas -- Tucked away in a corner of New Mexico, Case McCoy was completing passes to Jaxon Shipley. A seventh-grader playing catch with a sixth-grader.

Even then, the family bonds were strong. Pickup games, hunting trips and, of course, football.

But here in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains next to the Tecolote Creek, McCoy threw to Shipley.

"It was all they wanted to do," said Chance McCoy, Case's older brother. "You couldn't get them to do anything else. From that point on, you could tell Case and Jaxon had a plan."

[+] EnlargeShipley
Erich Schlegel/Getty ImagesThough only a freshman, Jaxon Shipley has impressed coaches with his play-making and route running.

Their brothers, Colt and Jordan, would become Texas legends. They set numerous Longhorns records, won two Big 12 titles and, maybe more importantly, defeated Oklahoma twice.

Case and Jaxon wanted to be next.

"We knew we wanted to play college football," Jaxon said. "But we really didn't know we would play together until both of us got scholarship offers."

Of course, they are together, and are two of the vital pieces in Texas' 4-0 start. Case and Jaxon are the latest chapter, following a script they both know so well. Here they are, trying to duplicate a feat their brothers pulled off -- defeating a top-ranked Oklahoma team.

Early signs

"Jordan was always someone Jaxon wanted to be like on the football field," said Shelby Shipley, the sister wedged between the two brothers. "Now to see him wearing No. 8 out there, it's awesome."

Sure, Jaxon and Jordan are both receivers, and they wear the same number, but each had his own path to Texas.

Jaxon rolled in. He used gravity, a grass hill and boredom to get noticed.

"When [Jordan] first got here, we had to go over repeatedly on that hill on the practice field and try to get Jaxon to keep from rolling down it," Texas coach Mack Brown said of the times when Jordan's younger brother was around the team during Jordan's Longhorns career.

"We'd take off running and dive down the hill headfirst," Jaxon said.

He has approached his career at Texas no differently. Jaxon is Texas' leading receiver this season, averaging 70 yards per game. He also has a 6.7 yards per carry average and is 2-of-2 passing with a touchdown.

Being a true freshman, his stats aren't yet like Jordan's, but the walk, the route running and the meticulous attention to detail are all so much like Jordan. Co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite has said the similarities are eerie.

Why wouldn't they be? They were raised the same way by a football coach. Movie night for the Shipleys was when their father, Bob, wheeled the TV/VCR combo into the high school football offices and sat Jordan, Shelby and Jaxon down to watch.

"We've always been around football," Shelby said "It's something we all love to be a part of."

More than a carbon copy

While Jaxon rolled into the spotlight, Case had to find his way out of Colt's shadow. The latter's career was so spectacular at Texas it was almost unfathomable to think that the younger McCoy could possibly live up to what his brother had done.

"I played with both of them," Chance McCoy said of their high school days. "Colt was a senior when I was catching passes from him and Case was a freshman, and I would tell people they are more alike than they were different. They are kind of the same guy put into a different body."

Interchangeable, almost. That was the way the brothers viewed it. During the years of pitch and catch, one would play quarterback, another, receiver and the third, defensive back. That was the way it was, even as the trio ran routes this past summer in Austin as Colt worked out during the NFL lockout and Case worked toward being the Texas quarterback.

When the summer ended, Case wasn't a starter.

[+] EnlargeCase McCoy
Ric Tapia/Icon SMI Case McCoy has two wins now as a starter and is slowly creating his own Texas path.
"The tough part with being the backup is that you have to prepare for every game, and there is always that chance you don't play," Case said.

There is a chance you won't be ready. There is a chance you will sulk. There is a chance, because all the hard work might go unnoticed, you will be disappointed in yourself and the process.

There was no chance of any of that with Case.

"He just wants to try and be his best," said his father, Brad McCoy.

His best. Not Colt's best. Colt was measured by what he did as a junior and senior. Case is being measured by what he does as sophomore. Since taking over six quarters into the season, Case has led Texas to a come-from-behind victory over BYU and two road wins, over UCLA and Iowa State. He has completed 70.3 percent of his passes and hasn't thrown any interceptions.

Now that this year's quarterback debate has been settled it's hard not to see the similarities.

"I don't look up and get surprised, but sometimes when Case comes in the huddle I think back about Colt in the huddle calling plays, because they sound so much alike," lineman Tray Allen said.

"He just seems to have a knack of finding the right guy and throwing it to the right place," Brown said.

Sort of like his brother.

Repeat performance

Players don't become Texas legends in games against unranked opponents. They do it on the biggest stage.

That's how Colt and Jordan did it. In 2008, Colt passed for 277 yards and Jordan caught 11 passes for 112 yards and ran a kickoff back 96 yards for a touchdown to defeat No. 1 Oklahoma.

Three years later, Texas is facing another Oklahoma team with national title hopes.

Like they've been doing since they were in middle school, Case will throw and Jaxon likely will be on the receiving end.

Their families are ready for a new chapter in their legacy.

"To be able to have him out there and experience this, be at Texas, the pinnacle of college football, it's amazing," Chance said. "I'm just glad I get to see it again."

Carter Strickland covers University of Texas football and recruiting for HornsNation

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