It's hard to imagine a scenario in which a legend could be replaced any better than Colt McCoy has replaced Longhorn icon, Vince Young.
The kid’s own name sounds like it came straight out of Texas folklore. Can’t you just hear the tall tales about Paul Bunyan, John Henry, Pecos Bill, and…Colt McCoy? It stands right alongside these fabled heroes pretty well, doesn’t it?
Think of all the times it has been tried in any sport, at any level. From coaches like Bill Walsh, Bobby Knight, and Tom Landry; to quarterbacks like Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, and Brett Favre. Although some of their successors certainly had a few shining moments, most of them were ultimately exposed as mere glimmers compared to the shining stars that came before them.
In most cases, the spotlight can be a very dark place, indeed.
However, on one of the brightest stages of all, otherwise known as Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, McCoy has outshined his predecessor in almost every way.
This tiny kid from an even tinier town (Tuscola, Texas) has won more games than any other quarterback in the history of college football.
In his career, he has thrown for more yards, more touchdowns, more 300 yard games, and more completions than any other quarterback in UT history.
As with all true Texas legends, McCoy has a flair for the dramatic, as well. In his redshirt freshman season in 2006, he was carted off the field and spent the rest of his afternoon in an Austin hospital after a vicious hit by Texas A&M defensive end, Michael Bennet.
Though he suffered a severe pinched nerve in his neck, he was back at the helm for the Longhorns just weeks later and threw two touchdowns to lead the ‘Horns to a come from behind victory over Iowa in the Alamo Bowl. The stage had now been set.
With unbelievable expectations stemming from this unlikeliest of freshman seasons, McCoy delivered again in 2007, although not without a few scenes that should have ended on the cutting room floor.
After a slow start, Sports Illustrated touted him as one of the 10 “Most Disappointing College Players” in 2007. That sure was nice of them considering one, the season was only half over and two, it was the hype created by the media, Sports Illustrated being among them, which led to the unrealistic expectations that caused the disappointment, in the first place.
McCoy silenced the critics, however; going on to lead the Longhorns to a 52-34 victory over Arizona State in the 2007 Holiday Bowl, and earning MVP honors, to boot. This shooting star was not going to fade easily.
What was beginning to fade in 2008; however, were the names in front of this growing Texas legend, in the UT record book. McCoy replaced Major Applewhite as the leader in touchdown passes, passed Ricky Williams in total touchdowns, and everyone who has ever donned a Longhorn uniform in pass efficiency.
He also brought the ‘Horns back to a number one ranking after defeating the previously number one ranked Oklahoma Sooners in the 102nd edition of the Red River Rivalry.
In 2009, all McCoy has done is lead the Longhorns to an undefeated season, a Big XII title, and an appearance in the 2010 BCS Championship game against The University of Alabama.
Granted, supplanting Young as the greatest legend in Longhorn history will depend solely on McCoy leading the ‘Horns to a victory over the ‘Tide.
However, with all that he has done, in the lead role of the most prestigious position in college sports, I think it’s fair to say that that will be a final moment in the spotlight where he shines brighter than anyone could.