McCoy Could Be That Other Guy

Alabama Coach Nick Saban has sent the message. He repeated it prior to the start of Alabama fall camp this week. "If we had another go-to guy at receiver, that would make us a better team," Saban said.

Everyone knows who the one "go-to" receiver is. Last year Alabama went to freshman wide receiver Julio Jones so often that he was far-and-away the Tide's leading receiver with 58 catches for 924 yards and four touchdowns.

Departed tight end Nick Walker was Bama's second-leading receiver last year with 29 catches.

For the past two seasons, Mike McCoy has been almost an overlooked starter. The upcoming senior wide receiver from Rankin, Miss., is a "quiet" player, but has been the Tide's third-leading receiver as both a sophomore and junior. He has appeared in 29 games with 18 starts and has career numbers of 44 receptions for 398 yards and two touchdowns. Last year he had 16 catches for 191 yards and one touchdown (a flea-flicker for 30 yards against Ole Miss).

By all rights, McCoy should be a fourth-year junior. It is well-documented how he was "wasted" as a freshman, playing in three games for a total of five plays. He doesn't look back. McCoy is looking ahead.

"This is my last go-around," he said. "I have to lay everything out. I can't have any regrets. I'm working to be all I can be."

McCoy said the summer was a time for recovery from the long year of practices, games, and weight room work. "But it's also a time to work out, and the summer work really helps," he said. He said that he put an emphasis on his speed work.

When Alabama began fall camp Thursday, McCoy said it "was pretty good. Everyone came out feeling good and with a lot of enthusiasm. We know what the coaches want. I think it was better than expected. Everyone on this team has bought into the system."

McCoy will be working with a new starting quarterback this year, but Greg McElroy is not a player with whom McCoy is not familiar. "Greg and I came in together (in 2006)," McCoy said. "He's a great guy, the kind of guy who invites you to his house. We're very close."

McCoy and McElroy showed some connection in the spring. In the three scrimmages (including the A-Day Game), they combined for seven completions for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

McCoy said, "Greg communicates well. He is our new leader. He's our quarterback. He's the leader of the team. He's our Superman.

"Greg is doing the same job as before, but he's in a new role as the starting quarterback. He had been doing the same things. He just doesn't have the experience that John Parker (graduated three-year starting quarterback John Parker Wilson) had.

"I think Greg is going to surprise a lot of people because no one knows what to expect from him."

McCoy also has a very high opinion of his wide receiver teammate, Julio Jones.

"Julio is a special talent," McCoy said. "He came in here knowing what was expected of him. You're always going to see something from him. You may see more this year. He's got it all--size, speed, smarts."

Alabama frequently uses three wide receivers—a split end, a flanker and a slot player. During the spring, Saban said that Jones might be used in some new areas this season after being almost exclusively a split end last year.

McCoy said, "Everyone has to learn every (wide receiver) position. You might see me in the slot or see me outside. You might see Julio in the slot or outside."

McCoy has always exhibted a blue-collar mentality. He said, "I just have to do my job and all the others do their jobs, and if we do, we'll be all right. There are battles everywhere. No one has a safe position."

McCoy has hopes for a "more explosive" offense as Alabama enters its second year under Offensive Coordinator Jim McElwain.

"We don't know the specifics of the offense yet, but we feel it is going to be more explosive, that we may be throwing the ball more," McCoy said. "We were so good at running the ball in 2008, but after having been under Coach Mac for a year I think we may be doing more throwing. I hope for that, but the most important thing is that we do what it takes to win."

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