Let's do a brief Alamo Bowl report card, if for no other reason than symmetry. Been doin' em all year.
Quarterback Nails. McCoy is just a tough, gutty kid, and you have to applaud him for getting back on the field and performing the way he did. Heading into the game, my opinion on whether he should play was well known - I said "Shut him down." To McCoy's credit, he convinced himself and his coaches that he could survive and thrive the Alamo Bowl, and did he ever.
Really, it was a microcosm of the entire season for Texas. As the defense struggled with the same things it has all season, the offense was asked to play from behind and continue to put up points. The running game was stuck in the mud, and the burden fell to Colt to lead Texas to a win.
McCoy finished with 26 completions in 40 attempts for 308 yards, including 2 touchdowns. He did not turn over the football. Including backs, eight different receivers caught passes - an absolutely beautiful performance by McCoy and Davis of spreading the field and the football.
And aside from the Nebraska bomb to Limas Sweed and OU touchdown pass to Shipley, I think McCoy threw his pass of the year in the third quarter when he found Jamaal Charles sliding open on a wheel route on the left sideline. What was so good about it was McCoy's patience - a less talented or patient passer would have thrown that football too early, or simply checked off of Charles as an option. Not McCoy: he gave the route time to develop, then hit Charles in stride, just over the helpless linebacker, and JC was off to the races. Probably the best designed and best executed offensive play of the season for Texas.
Doubt about McCoy started to creep in after the Kansas State injury and subsequent letdown against A&M, but McCoy reminded us of why he's such a promising young kid. Watching him throw, it wasn't clear that he was 100% out there on Saturday, but he was close enough, and more than got the job done: Grade: A++
Running Backs Um...
The running game is broken. Which makes it all but impossible to evaluate the runners themselves.
So let's just say this: Davis didn't bother trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, instead abandoning the running game in an effort to keep Colt in the shotgun and give the offense the best chance to move the ball. He absolutely needs to fix this in the offseason, but at least for Saturday's purposes, that was the right decision.
Let's use this space, then, to send our best to Selvin Young as he leaves the 40 Acres. It's been a memorable, up-and-down career, highlighted by his solid-as-a-rock performance in the Rose Bowl. Selvin, congratulations and best of luck. I hope you have a prosperous career in the NFL, in some capacity.
Let's also take a moment to note that Sergio Kindle got his first taste at running back and absolutely bulled his way to a five yeard gain on a play that was busted at the line of scrimmage. A sign of things to come? Who knows? But it was a fun thing to see. I have a suspicion we'll spend a healthy amount of the offseason discussing running game possibilities, and EOB is right - it's probably the big question heading into '07 as the QB was heading into '06.
Charles, for his part, remains a special talent, although not particulary well-utilized this year. More offseason banter for us. It was delightful, though, to see Davis get him the ball in the open field on that wheel route. Like I said: probably the pass play of the year. Grade: B
Receivers Sir Michael had eight catches, Quan added seven more, and Colt found Limas Sweed in the end zone for a 20 yard score. Five other players caught McCoy footballs. Best of all, of course, is that these guys all return next year. Colt's got a dizzying array of weapons to choose from. Another reason why keeping him in the gun and being a pass happy team is not such a bad thing. The only real error these guys made was a couple of dropped balls and a handful of routes run a yard or two short of the line to gain. We're nitpicking, though. Grade: A-
Offensive Line Adam Ulatoski had another maddening false start penalty in the red zone that crippled a drive and forced us to settle for a field goal, but other than that, the line did a terrific job in protecting McCoy and allowing Texas to execute its pass plays. Yes, the running game's still broken, but it's not really these guys' fault. Anyway, that's old news.
The key to the game was giving McCoy time to do what he needed to, and they were outstanding in that regard. Along with the running backs, replacing Blalock, Sendlein, and Studdard remains the big question marks. The good news is that there's a LOT of elite talent waiting in the wings. We'll see. Grade: B+
Offensive Coaching As was mentioned several times above, this was sort of a microcosm of the season. Davis' scheme did not quite fit the personnel, in terms of developing a running game. Colt from the shotgun pretty much derailed any chance of us having a successful running attack. At the same time, it gave us one of the nation's best passing attacks. So, some good with the bad.
One big problem that this year's system provided was a weak attack in the red zone. That was problematic again on Saturday, and a huge need for improvement in the offseason. Sending McCoy to the gun and spreading the field is a good thing in a lot of regards, but Texas must be diverse enough to change things some in the red zone. Probably the biggest weakness in Greg Davis this season. Grade: B-
Later today: the defense.