McCoy Gets His Shot at K-State

It's fourth-and-goal from the one on Texas' opening drive against Kansas State. QB Colt McCoy is under center. You make the call...

As far as Colt McCoy's preference? Doesn't matter -- not even if it's another quarterback sneak.

"I'm not scared of that," McCoy said Tuesday. "Most people say don't do it. But I'm going to do whatever's best for the team. If that's what's asked of me, then I'm going to go get it."

In other words, there is no evidence of any concern from McCoy that history will repeat itself when the Wildcats visit Austin Saturday. And McCoy's teammates have said avenging last year's shocking upset is not a factor this weekend. Yet, there is no denying how devastating to the season was McCoy's severe pinched nerve in his neck suffered on that fourth-down sneak. The Horns, of course, had worked themselves back into the national championship hunt after manufacturing eight straight wins. Texas brought its record 21-game Big 12 Conference winning streak to the Little Apple and needed to win one of its two remaining games to secure a second straight spot in the Big 12 Championship game.

Now, McCoy wants to pick up right where he left off against Kansas State. The opening drive was one of the most efficient of the season. Mixing pass-and-run, the Texas drive crisply covered 80 yards in 14 plays.

"Last year, it started off great," McCoy said. "We went right down the field, boom-boom!, and scored."

And just as McCoy scored -- boom! The RS-freshman was sidelined for the remainder of the game. The Horns would tally 42 points against K-State, the most-ever by a Texas team in a loss. McCoy was clearly less than healthy 12 days later against Texas A&M.

"It hurt just to hold a football," McCoy said of the days immediately following the stinger.

It also sent the season tumbling from championship status to third-tier post-season. By that time, several members of the banged-up Longhorn defense had been relegated to partisan supporters -- including McCoy's former roommate NT Derek Lokey.

"After that game, Colt spent a lot of time doing everything he could to get healthy," said Lokey, who had suffered a season-ending leg injury at Nebraska the previous month. "Colt is an extremely hard worker. He was anxious to get back. Living with Colt last year was fun because he spends so much time watching film and doing everything he needs to do to prepare himself for the game."

Part of what McCoy did to prepare himself for this season was to add 10 pounds of lean muscle to his 6-3 frame. His injury, McCoy said, was a prime motivator for his hitting the weight room as much as he did the film room.

"It was tough," McCoy said of last year's setback, "but it's behind us. It's the opening of Big 12 play, so we've got to come out and play strong."

McCoy will face seven seniors on Kansas State's 3-4 defense that ranks No. 9 nationally against the run (68.0 ypg). Safety Marcus Watts leads a seasoned group of DBs while All-Big 12 Ian Campbell continues to wreak havoc as a hybrid DE/OLB. The Wildcats scrapped their 4-3 base to try to counter more spread offenses, but it's not something McCoy has never seen before. It was a scheme Rice ran last year, and Texas coaches gave players a crash course against the alignment during two-a-days.

"Defenses that run a 3-4 tend to blitz more," McCoy said. "They're going to try to come after us early on."

But as far as Texas coming after K-State for the damage it inflicted on the Horns' 2006 season? You know what they say: payback's a...well, it's not something the Horns are saying publicly this week.

"It's the first Big 12 game," McCoy concluded. "That's enough motivation for us."

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