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Bevo's Daily Round Up 1.05.09

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Horns_bullet_medium SI's Stewart Mandel believes McCoy will improve on his own record in 2009.

Colt McCoy will break his own NCAA completion-percentage record. With a current rate of 77.6 percent, Texas's Heisman runner-up will officially break Daunte Culpepper's 10-year old single-season record (73.6) once the Longhorns' Fiesta Bowl date with Ohio State is in the books.

Horns_bullet_medium The Horns hope to muddy the national championship picture.

If Southern California’s thumping of Penn State planted a few more seeds of doubt about whether the two best teams are playing for the national championship next week, Texas would not mind dumping a mound of fertilizer on that notion Monday night, when it plays Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Of course, in the Longhorns’ view, the Bowl Championship Series formula spit out the wrong name when it pitted Oklahoma against Florida for the B.C.S. title game.

Horns_bullet_medium"Three things can happen when you pass, and two of them are bad." This quote has been credited to both Darrell Royal and Woody Hayes. Times have definitely changed.

Texas QB Colt McCoy completed 78 percent of his passes this season. "Ten years ago, it probably would have been unheard of," said OSU coach Jim Tressel. McCoy was Texas' leading rusher, too. At that, Texas was almost stodgy compared with the statistical orgies of Big 12 rivals Texas Tech and Oklahoma.


The Longhorns

Inside Texas' columnist Drew Kelson knew Brian Orakpo at Lamar High School in Houston. His memories of Orakpo may surprise you.

Coming into high school, Brian was what you’d consider a bit frail, stiff and totally unaware of his potential. Freshman football was merely about playing in front of all your classmates right on the campus football field. Simply having a uniform and getting a chance to play was cool. The oblivious Brian Orakpo had no sack total goals or weight room goals. He wanted to be a part of a winning team but wasn’t necessarily determined to be one of the reasons the team won.

It wasn’t until after sophomore football season at Lamar that Brian began to understand what he could be on the football field.

But we know how everything turned out when Orakpo got to Texas.

Fun isn't what opposing linemen were probably thinking this season after facing Orakpo, who ranks No. 6 nationally with 10 1/2 sacks despite missing two and a half games for the 11-1 Longhorns.

When he did play, he was impressive enough to win the Nagurski Trophy (top defensive player), the Lombardi Award (top lineman) and the Hendricks Award (top defensive end). Not bad for an athlete whose first love was basketball and who didn't dedicate himself to football until his junior season in high school.

The Colt McCoy legend grows.

Twenty-two years ago, Brad and his wife, Debra, both from Texas, were living just across the New Mexico border in Hobbs. On the day Colt was born, Brad - wanting his son to be a "Texas native" - brought a shoebox full of dirt from his home state to the hospital and placed it under his wife's bed.

True or not, Colt has done much more to endure himself to Texas than simply being born over its soil. After his family relocated to Tuscola, Texas, Colt became a high school star and led his team to a state championship his senior year. He then moved on to UT, where he faced the daunting task of taking over for Vince Young, the winningest quarterback in program history.

The intense pressure and high expectations that come with playing quarterback for the Longhorns, though, have not shaken McCoy, and today he holds the title of winningest quarterback (31) in school history, along with 35 other school records.

McCoy knows why he is successful: His offensive line.

McCoy is completing 77.6 percent of his passes this season — the best mark in the nation — and is on pace to shatter Daunte Culpepper's NCAA record of 73.6 percent set in 1998.

“All I have to do,” McCoy said, “is stand back there and throw the ball.”

Because that's exactly what his offensive line allows him to do.

Henry Melton does not regret the move from running back to defensive end.

"I'm pretty happy how things worked out for me," said Melton, who will play the final game of his college career Monday against Ohio State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

"I got to experience playing running back and scoring touchdowns. I got to experience making plays on defense. I like where I am right now."

Fox Sports' Pete Flutak looks at the Fiesta match-up and believes that this is the Horns' time to show that they belong in Miami.

All the attention and all the focus can be on the Longhorns with a dominant win over Ohio State. Yes, the Buckeyes are having a hard time getting much in the way of credibility its way, but this really is a good team with plenty of big-time athletes, NFL starters, and veterans. A win over Ohio State really would be impressive, and a blowout would mean the Longhorns would be assured of the No. 2 spot behind Florida if the Gators win the BCS Championship Game, and it would get a few votes for the top spot.

Mack Brown asks Darrell Royal about anxiety before a big game.

Mack Brown still gets nervous, even if he doesn't show it. When Brown met the media this morning, the Texas head coach recalled a conversation he had with coaching legend Darrell K. Royal about managing anxiety before games.

"I asked coach Royal once, 'Did you have trouble sleeping the night before a big game?'" Brown said. "And at Texas they are all big. If you lose one, it gets real big. He said that unless you gag before you brush your teeth on Saturday morning, you are not ready to play.

"I gagged this morning. So I think I'm fine."

Brown gets a bonus of $100,000 for taking the team to a BCS game and possibly more, depending on the final season ranking.

People will not let Blake Gideon forget the infamous play in the Tech game.

Nonstop ESPN replays have made Gideon's task harder. Asked how many times he's seen Crabtree's play, Gideon estimated 50.Gideon said he refused to feel sorry for himself, saying it would be a selfish act after a difficult loss. He also credited his teammates for striking the right tone.


The Ohio State University Buckeyes


The Fiesta Bowl is Ohio State's chance for redemption for the Big 10 Conference. OSU's bowl record is 5-0 against current Big 12 teams. But this game could be a referendum on Jim Tressel.

Tressel and the Buckeyes are feeling loose about the game.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor looks a lot like another great QB.

When No. 3 Texas (11-1) meets No. 10 Ohio State (10-2) in Monday’s Fiesta Bowl, defenders will be asked to contain a freshman quarterback billed as college football’s next Vince Young. But with one additional asset in his arsenal.

"Terrelle Pryor is Vince Young, only thicker," said Mack Brown.

The OSU players to watch, which includes one of the best defensive players in the country, James Laurinaitis.

"When he first got here, he wanted to be able to handle the responsibility to uphold the great linebacker tradition," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "And he got into the hip pockets of A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel. Wherever they went, he went."

Laurinaitis didn't stop there. He also spoke with Ohio State linebacker greats of the past like Chris Spielman and Andy Katzenmoyer about what they did to make them great. "No matter how good you are, you're never good enough," Laurinaitis said.

Colt McCoy and James Laurinaitis have come a long way since that first meeting in 2006.

Laurinaitis was ushered into prominence in college football during that game his sophomore season when he intercepted a pass and forced a fumble during the Buckeyes' win over the defending national champion Longhorns in Austin.

McCoy was a redshirt freshman, starting a year sooner than expected after Vince Young left for the NFL after his junior season.

 "What I remember most from the Ohio State game is Laurinaitis picking me off. Coach (Mack) Brown kind of jokes with me all the time about how that is what started his All-American campaign," McCoy said. "I think both of us have grown and come a long way since that game."

That interception was the first of McCoy's college career.

Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins may be the biggest threat to Colt McCoy.

McCoy and Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis know it's going to be a challenge for them, too.

"He's the best corner we'll face all year," McCoy said. "There are real good corners in the Big 12, but there is no one who is real big and physical like Malcolm."

The match-up. Big 12 vs. Big 10. Pass vs. run.

"The Big Ten does like running the ball a lot more than we do (in the Big 12)," Texas quarterback Colt McCoy said. "They have a lot more big linemen pressing it in a smash-type of running offensively."

Offensive coordinator Jim Bollman is not happy that the word went out about the possibility of Terrelle Pryor and Todd Boeckman on the field at the same time.

Eleven Warriors profiles Jordan Shipley, Brian Orakpo and Colt McCoy. EW also takes notice of quarterback Pryor's absence at a press conference.

Pryor is your typical cocky confident freshman star and has already slipped by saying some very unsenatorial things this season. Whether it’s saying college football is like high school or taking shots at Mark May, he’s flashed his youth on more than one occasion. Why take a chance on giving the Horns any bulletin board material.


And one too good not to share...

Just keep talking, Franks. Sooners provide bulletin board material.

Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks, a sophomore from Tulsa, Okla., called Florida’s Tim Tebow the fourth-best quarterback in the country Sunday.

“Yup. I think our quarterbacks are better,” Franks said. “Just the way they conduct themselves and how they play on the field. I just think, playing against those guys, it’s a lot harder to prepare for those guys than it is for Tebow.”

Franks said devising a game plan for a quarterback who is going to throw the ball 40 or more times a game is more difficult than getting ready for someone like Tebow, who likely will throw the ball far less.