June 1, 2007

Big 12 breakdown: Texas

There's a popular belief coming out of Austin that with a healthy Colt McCoy, Texas is nearly unstoppable. Case in point: Without a healthy McCoy, the Longhorns lost back-to-back games in the Big 12 last season. With a healthy and improved McCoy in the fall, the Longhorns believe anything - a Big 12 title, a national championship, an undefeated season - is within reach.

BRIEFLY: Can McCoy outweigh the question marks?

First, let's get this out of the way: In his first year as a starter, quarterback Colt McCoy lassoed every national award starting with "Offensive Newcomer" and "National Freshman" after he finished No. 8 nationally in passing efficiency (161.8), threw for 2,570 yards and a Texas single-season record 29 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. He established or tied seven school records and four freshman school marks, including becoming the first freshman quarterback in school history to win 10 games.

Guess what? Count on him being even better this fall.

"Colt looked as good as I've ever seen him," Texas coach Mack Brown said after McCoy wrapped up spring workouts. "He's just stronger, he's even more accurate if that's even possible and he obviously has a better feel with confidence and leadership and a better feel of the offense.

"Colt has a chance to be a really special player."

The shoulder injury that knocked McCoy out of commission in an upset loss at Kansas State (45-42) and hindered him in a loss at home (12-7) to Texas A&M and during a win over Iowa (26-24) in the Alamo Bowl (the Longhorns' third consecutive bowl victory) has healed. McCoy added weight and strength to his 6-foot-3 frame in the offseason, bulking up to 210 pounds from 195 a year ago.

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