Following a surprising run by Mack Brown's squad in 2008, the Texas Longhorns have their sights set on the ultimate prize in 2009.
Fresh off a stirring victory over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, the Longhorns head in to the fall as one of the favorites to challenge Urban Meyer's Florida Gators.
Over the next few days, I will be compiling a position by position breakdown of the 2009 Texas Longhorn football team followed by a complete schedule analysis and predictions for the 2009 college football season.
First up: Quarterback
When it was all said and done, Colt McCoy may have had one of the greatest seasons in Longhorn history.
The junior quarterback finished with 3,859 yards and 34 touchdowns to only eight interceptions. The most impressive statistic, however, was his 76 percent completion rate, which set an NCAA single season record previously held by Central Florida's Daunte Culpepper.
Much like his famed predecessor, McCoy also got it done using his feet, rushing for 561 yards and 11 touchdowns.
It was because of McCoy's bold leadership and coolness in the clutch that the Longhorns were able to complete one of the most brutal schedules in Texas history with only one loss.
Texas upended No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 11 Missouri, and No. 6 Oklahoma State in three consecutive weeks, and though the Longhorns would lose a heart breaker to the Red Raiders of Texas Tech in Lubbock, McCoy put Texas in a position to win with just under two minutes left in the game.
Instead of wallowing in pity following the late season BCS controversy, in which Oklahoma, not Texas, was selected to play for the national championship, McCoy rallied his troops and won a stunning game against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
McCoy put his Longhorns on his back and led a last-minute drive to win the game following an Ohio State score late in the fourth quarter. The Texas gunslinger hit Quan Cosby with just 29 seconds left to go in the game.
In March, the junior quarterback announced he would be returning to the 40 Acres for his senior campaign.
Mack Brown and company could not be happier—or surprised, for that matter.
Those closest to McCoy know he is a tenacious yet humble competitor who will not stand for anything less than perfection.
Despite the obvious Heisman hype McCoy will be receiving throughout the season, the Longhorns' leader has one goal in mind: win a national championship.
McCoy has bulked up even more this spring and is ready to hit the field and make things happen for Texas.
Coaches expressed the desire for McCoy to continue his progression in the pocket and not run as much as he did during the 2008 campaign, in which he led all Longhorn rushers in yards.
Lord knows the Longhorns couldn't afford McCoy going down with an injury.
Of course, the road will be perilous for McCoy and the Longhorns, and the media attention can become distracting too, but McCoy may very well be the best player in the country and he is fully equipped to handle any challenge that pops up along the way.
Obviously the starting quarterback position is set for the Longhorns, but looking down the depth chart, the situation becomes a little less clear.
Electric athlete John Chiles made the transition from quarterback to receiver this spring in order to see the field more.
Because of this move, senior quarterback Sherrod Harris will take over second string duties.
Harris hasn't seen a college snap since 2007 and has yet to take a meaningful snap at the college level. Harris is a versatile athlete, however, and his coaches have commended him for solid spring work outs following a knee surgery in February.
Harris' job may not be safe as the Longhorns are awaiting the full-time arrival of their prized recruit, Garrett Gilbert.
Gilbert was one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation and arguably the best prospect in the state of Texas.
Gilbert was named the 2008-2009 ESPN Rise Gatorade National Football Player of the Year following a record setting season, in which he threw for 4,827 yards and 55 touchdowns.
He finished his career at Lake Travis High School with a state record 12,534 yards and 136 touchdowns.
Look for Gilbert to either make a run at decent playing time this fall or opt for a red-shirt season to develop his skills.
Next up: Running backs
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