AUSTIN, Texas -- Case McCoy is preparing to play.
Just like last week. As well as the week before. And every week since the Texas quarterback position became so unsettled in 2011. What makes this week different is that David Ash had settled all the QB debate. Going into the Oklahoma game he was No. 3 in the nation in passing efficiency, had one pick against 11 touchdowns and had averaged 300 yards passing in the past three games.
Now there is debate as to whether Ash can play. The sophomore suffered a left wrist injury in the fourth quarter with Texas trailing Oklahoma 56-8.
No fractures were seen on the initial X-rays, Texas trainer Kenny Boyd said in a release. And Ash, who throws with his right arm, has not been ruled out for the Baylor game. He will be evaluated throughout the week.
Still, that injury has thrust McCoy right back under center as the possible starting quarterback, just as he was last year against Baylor. In fact, the last game McCoy started was against the Bears. In the subsequent seven games, Ash attempted 190 passes to McCoy’s 16. McCoy appeared in only four of those seven games and all four were decided, either in favor of or against Texas, by at least two touchdowns.
But now he is back where it all ended trying to figure out how to fashion a new beginning for Texas.
According to McCoy, that beginning started in the second half against OU.
"We decided that no matter what the score was, we always knew throughout your career, no matter what the score is, you're going to fight to the end," McCoy said. "You always hear that from coaches in pee-wee, middle school, high school, to here. And finally I saw it first hand. We had a chance. So we had a chance to go out there, and we didn't lay down."
An emotional McCoy might be just the right thing for Texas right now. Ash is a stoic leader. Texas needs fire more desperately than Cro-Magnon man right now.
"We started slow," said cornerback Quandre Diggs of the OU game.
As impossible as that is to fathom in a game of this magnitude for a program that should be searching for a signature win, it’s true.
And one thing about McCoy is he understands how to capture moments. The flip side to that is sometimes the moment captures him.
Take Texas A&M in 2011. McCoy orchestrated the most important drive of the season and punctuated it with a 25-yard dash-for-your-life run that will go down as one of the top plays ever against the Aggies.
The next week, with the juice still flowing, McCoy tried to do way too much against Baylor, threw four picks and fumbled. But he threw for 356 yards.
So it is rather easy to see that no one knows what they are going to see when McCoy gets under center. That’s why Texas went with Ash to start 2012. He is reliable. He doesn’t go off book. McCoy skips entire chapters.
Still, McCoy can put up numbers. His were better than Ash’s coming into the season. He completed 61 percent of his passes to Ash’s 57. He had only the four aforementioned picks to Ash’s eight. He had seven touchdown passes to Ash’s four. And he was 3-2 as a starter. Ash was 3-3.
Another slightly huge fact that cannot be overlooked or underestimated is that Baylor is horrendous on defense. The Bears have given up 161 points in their past three games. TCU just beat the Bears 49-21 with its backup quarterback. In fact, the only FBS team the Bears have managed to slow down is SMU, which oddly enough features another person McCoy replaced at quarterback, Garrett Gilbert.