AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas could be the next to follow Big 12 brethren Oklahoma, TCU and Texas Tech in altering its quarterback plan due to an untimely injury.
David Ash did not practice Tuesday and continues to recover from head and shoulder injuries suffered against BYU. He could return to the practice field on Wednesday, but it seems increasingly likely Case McCoy could make the start against Ole Miss.
If that’s the case, McCoy will be ready and his teammates won’t consider it a setback for the Longhorns’ chances. They know the senior can handle the opportunity.
“I feel like we’re always really confident in our quarterbacks,” UT receiver Jaxon Shipley said Tuesday. “Obviously we’re not happy that David is out this week, but we’ve got Case and Case has done a great job over the years of coming in and just making plays. We’re getting our timing down with Case and really excited about the way this practice has gone today.”
Texas offensive lineman Trey Hopkins said he doesn’t expect any drop-off from the offense if McCoy is indeed at the helm, and said McCoy has earned his full confidence.
McCoy has made six career starts. He’s led big wins and comebacks. But don’t forget that, for all his experience, he's been asked to throw 15 or more passes in a game only seven times in his career.
The numbers in those seven games -- five in 2011, two in 2012 -- are indicative of the mixed results he’s had. McCoy had a TD-INT ratio of 8-7 in those games, his average raw QBR was 43.4 and Texas went on to lose five of the seven contests.
McCoy has thrown for 300-plus yards in each of his last two starts -- at Kansas State in 2012 and at Baylor in 2011 -- but that more aggressive passing came with a combined six interceptions. So there are pros and cons to what Texas coaches refer to as McCoy’s gunslinger mentality.
But rallying Texas against Kansas last year and making the key run to set up the victory over Texas A&M the year before has coach Mack Brown confident McCoy can be trusted to run the offense effectively.
“He's not new to this stuff,” Brown said. “He can step in and take over without any question.”
McCoy did, however, miss some team workouts in the summer while on a 10-week long mission trip in Peru. While Ash and the rest of the quarterbacks worked on mastering Major Applewhite’s new offense, McCoy was 3,000 miles away was trying to keep up as best he could.
“He’s a guy who, when he was over there, he had a new phone that he got there and he was calling me and asking about the new stuff they put in,” Shipley said. “While he was over there, he was doing a really going thing helping on a mango farm and helping people out over there. But at the same time, he was thinking about the people here and the stuff he’d missed. He’s always trying to get better, always thinking.”
McCoy found time to work out during his absence and surprised teammates and coached with the solid shape he was in when he returned.
If Ash can’t play on Saturday, Texas will prepare Tyrone Swoopes for the backup role. Applewhite would still prefer to not have to use the dual-threat true freshman as he continues to develop. Jalen Overstreet is also an option, but he has devoted most of his time and attention to running back.
That’s not an ideal situation by any means, but Applewhite and the leaders of his offense trust that McCoy can get the job done if he’s called upon.
“I've got a tremendous amount of confidence in Case and his team has a tremendous amount of confidence in him,” Applewhite said. “We'd like to play Case. We'd like to redshirt Tyrone Swoopes. Obviously, injuries will dictate that.”