Retiring McCoy’s number a bright spot in dreary year

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With the direction Texas football is headed lately, retiring Colt McCoy’s number might be the brightest spot of the season.

We all know his resume — more wins than any other quarterback in college football history, sixth all-time in passing yards and second in accuracy. He holds 47 school records and won a plethora of elite awards. But most importantly, he led Texas to a remarkable four years of dominance.

Right now, he’s far from those dominant days and backed into a hole. On Sunday, he’ll walk into Pittsburgh and try to lead the 1-4 Cleveland Browns to victory against the best defense in the NFL.

Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said McCoy’s first big-league start will be “quite an experience.”

People are making jokes about how he’s going to get murdered, and it’s tough to find an NFL pundit who thinks he has a chance. All of the doubt swirling around the third-round pick has to remind him of his early days at Texas. He was labeled undersized and unathletic, and every other line was, “Well, he’s not Vince.”

Remember the 2007 season? He had a few sophomore slumps and fans chanted for his departure. No one believed in him, but he pressed onward. His junior year, he lit it up and would have led the Longhorns to the national championship had it not been for that cruel night where he had to watch from the sideline as Texas Tech and Michael Crabtree thwarted his season.

His senior year, McCoy finally made it and led the Longhorns back to the promised land in Pasadena. But on his first drive, a freak nerve injury ruined his (and Texas’) chances at beating Alabama.

Fate never did McCoy any favors at Texas. He was twice robbed of the Heisman Trophy and twice robbed of a shot at a national title. The least Texas could do in return was put his No. 12 in the rafters, joining five other Longhorns to receive the highest honor.

“I was just overwhelmed, humbled and psyched when I was told about this,” McCoy said. “It’s a dream come true. I can remember when I started following the Longhorns growing up and then when I came here, seeing Earl [Campbell] and Ricky’s numbers up there on the stadium and dreaming of one day accomplishing something like that.”

When McCoy steps back onto the field at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Oct. 30 before Texas plays Baylor, the fans will be reminded of the glory days under McCoy. Just as he spoiled Texas fans with his winning ways, they have grown comfortable with losing already, less than 10 months after he last wore the Texas jersey.

Oct. 30 will serve as a reminder of what head coach Mack Brown and his offensive coordinator Greg Davis are capable of. There will undoubtedly be a highlight reel of McCoy dashing in the zone-read system or sitting in the shotgun and hitting Jordan Shipley deep downfield. Remember those days?

“We’re very, very proud of Colt,” Brown said. “Every time we look at his name up in the upper part of the stadium with the other great names that have played at the University of Texas, we’ll be proud of him.”