Let's start with the good stuff, first, which there was plenty of. Colt finished with silly numbers, completing 21 of 32 passes, with 6 touchdowns against just one interception, racking up 275 yards in the process. For the season, McCoy is torching freshman records at Texas. He's now completed 101 of 147 passes (68.7%) for 1,229 yards, with 18 TDs and just 3 INTs.
Need some perspective for those numbers? McCoy is fifth in the nation in passer rating, a few tenths of a point ahead of college football's best quarterback, Troy Smith. Amazingly, some folks aren't appreciating how well Colt's doing. One particularly blind (though genuinely enjoyable) fellow I was speaking with last night tried to bring Mitch Mustain into the conversation. I wondered if he meant the Mitch Mustain who completed 9 of 17 passes for 119 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT against Utah State, or the one who completed 5 of 13 for 51 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT against Southeast Missouri State. Either way, it's easy to see that McCoy's not just doing well for Texas standards - he's doing well by any freshman standard.
How about a more fair comparison - sophomore Chase Daniel of Missouri, also a first year starter. McCoy's completing a higher percentage of his passes, has three more touchdowns, and two fewer interceptions. Hop across the country, pick your quarterback - whatever the age - and line them up against McCoy, and, statistically speaking, McCoy's doing as well as they are.
And do this with the reminder that he'd never taken a snap of college football prior to this season. Still grumbling? You shouldn't be. This is a special season he's putting together.
(And they say Greg Davis can't coach...)
Now, let's talk about what McCoy needs to improve, because he was far from perfect last night. One thing I can guarantee you Davis will be doing in the film room all Sunday with McCoy is pointing out the numerous instances in the first half when he bailed out of the pocket at the first sign of pressure. It was odd, because the pressure wasn't really there; the pocket was fine for him to hang in and check through his reads. But time after time, McCoy got happy feet and danced out of the pocket.
Davis saw this, too, obviously, and before the first half ended, he called what I was asking for and rolled McCoy out of the pocket. The result was a touchdown, and some good-for-my-ego back patting from the reader gallery.
At halftime, the coaches obviously told McCoy to settle down, and he improved his pocket presence significantly, which helped the passing game in the second half. It's something I'm sure the coaches will work hard on this week, and something McCoy needs to take to heart - Nebraska has a solid pass rush. Their defensive ends are among the best in the conference. He'll need to hang steady to avoid costly mistakes.
The other problem McCoy had - and it was a cascade effect from the first mistake - was some underthrown balls. Because he wasn't doing a good job hanging in the pocket, he wasn't stepping into his throws. Because he wasn't stepping into his throws, several of them didn't get there with much zip, or didn't get there at all. Again, it's a minor adjustment, but a critical one. I expect we'll see improvement next week.
Where does that leave us overall? McCoy had a very solid game, all told. Six touchdown passes is six touchdown passes, any way you slice it. He remains an asset in a rapidly improving offense. I didn't think Greg Davis called a particularly good first half, which hurt McCoy a bit, but for the second week in a row, there were excellent in-game adjustments.
We'll get into the gameplan review later, so for now we conclude with a grade for Colt, and though there were things to look at for improvement, it was a good day for the freshman. The freshman! Incredible numbers from a tough, smart, accurate quarterback. A B+ for Colt McCoy.