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Rice Breakdown: Quarterbacks

We knew Texas would defeat Rice on Saturday, of course. But it was important that we saw development and improvement in the key areas, however great the advantage in talent. We certainly did, and I'm pleased and proud to start with Colt McCoy.


Again, this was an outmatched opponent, but Colt had a very nice bounceback game. He was only asked to throw the ball about 10 times, but when he was, he made the right reads. We saw him involve Jermichael Finley on two separate occasions - a welcome sign. And most pleasing, he never settled for the dump down pass to the tailback when he could have, instead going vertical. The touchdown pass to Jordan Shipley was the right read, and as the play developed, Jamaal Charles was squirting out open underneath to Colt's right. But McCoy did the right thing and threw it over the top. It was a crisp throw, and for some of the grumblings I've heard about McCoy not having "enough arm strength," I'm convinced that's just not true. He's not gunning the ball by any stretch of the imagination, but there's plenty of zip on the passes.

The other thing we saw that's important in his, and this offense's, development, was several keeps on the zone-read. Right from the get-go, McCoy was looking to keep the ball when the end crashed down too far. McCoy's not as natural with the zone-read as backup Jevan Snead is, but he's improving, and that's all I needed to see. Just nothing much to complain about today. Kudos to Colt for the improvement, and for Greg Davis, his coach. I'm giving Colt a solid A.

We did see some of the aforementioned Snead, and he had some very impressive runs. He's absolutely got that zone read down, though there are occasions when he keeps the ball when he should be handing off. Still, you can see how comfortable he is with the play, and it's impressive to see him run. The passing, though, is still a work in progress. He threw an interception that was partly his fault and partly the receiver's fault, but the play was nullified by a defensive holding penalty. Snead's got the great arm, but he's still a long way off from making good reads, and you can see him antsy back there with his feet. By this time next year, he's likely to be an impressive young football player. Right now, he's behind McCoy. Still no question there. Saturday's limited action earns him a B.

Next up: the unstoppable tailbacks.