If you want to look at it through the rosiest-colored of glasses, Texas has upgraded at quarterback.
|Can Mack Brown work his magic with redshirt freshman Colt McCoy? (Getty Images)|
The new quarterback was 34-2 as a starter.
In high school.
We told you it was a rosy outlook. But since the shine of Pasadena hasn't worn off yet, why not?
"It's not like we're starting over," coach Mack Brown said.
Unless you consider that a legend, Vince Young, is being replaced by Colt McCoy, a redshirt freshman who hasn't taken a snap.
The name of Texas' quarterback-to-be is something out of a Hardy Boys book. His background is part of Texas schoolboy lore. His dad was his coach. His grandfather is a Texas rancher. He came from the tiny Texas town of Tuscola (population 719) as the state's No. 4 all-time high school passer.
But the task ahead might be bigger than the Hill Country that surrounds Austin.
Until further notice, it's McCoy's job to replace Young and defend the national championship. The 19-year-old was officially knighted when Young declared for the NFL Draft this week.
"He is on the clock isn't he?" said Colt's father, Brad. "It's been a fun week around the house. The coaches called him Sunday morning. Pretty much during the day he got calls from his teammates."
If McCoy wants to throw in a few 467-yard total offense games, that would be OK too. Up to this point, his experience involves mimicking Matt Leinart and Brad Smith as a scout-team quarterback.
The point is, Texas is thinner than a super model at quarterback. Never mind McCoy; no one on the roster has taken a snap. Whoever wins the job -- McCoy is no lock, but he's the favorite -- will be replacing an icon.
"He's already gained the respect of the guys," Young said. "I told him all year, that's the biggest key. ... He's been answering a lot of questions in meetings that when I was a freshman, I couldn't even answer."
Texas hasn't gone into a season with a freshman quarterback starter since 1993. That year Shea Morenz led the Horns to a 5-5-1 record. In 1998, then-redshirt freshman Major Applewhite took over in the season's second game. Texas finished 9-3. Applewhite set several school passing records.
"Colt's different from V.Y.," receiver Billy Pittman told mackbrown.com, "because he's quieter right now. ... All he needs to do is come into the spring and let 'em know he's ready."
It will be one of the more intriguing springs in Brown's eight seasons in Austin. McCoy, 6-feet-3 and 195 pounds, redshirted in 2005 after throwing for 9,300 yards and 116 touchdowns at Class AA Jim Ned High School.
Whether that translates into anything more than water cooler discussion, won't begin to be decided until Feb. 24. That's when Texas opens spring practice with McCoy and incoming freshman Jevan Snead battling it out. Snead, a top-10 quarterback from Stephenville, will enroll this month.
Another quarterback recruit, Sherrod Harris, isn't expected to enroll until the fall.
"In Colt's mind and in the minds of the players he's talked to, (he's the guy)," Brad McCoy said.
That's the way it is because even mighty Texas couldn't keep the pipeline fully stocked. In recent years, Oklahoma's Rhett Bomar, Florida State's Xavier Lee and LSU's Ryan Perrilloux turned down Texas. If any of them had come to Austin, the transition from Young might be smoother.
But as Brad McCoy pointed out, among those three, only Bomar is currently starting. That after a rocky beginning at OU in 2005.
"How do you ever know?" Brown said. "We didn't get them. We're really happy with what we've got. It will be different than what it was."
The zone read offense will not change, Brown said, but the emphasis will change. McCoy is a dual-threat guy who doesn't have the size or speed of Young but might be more of a refined passer. That's hard to imagine after Young led the nation in pass efficiency, but nothing McCoy does likely will measure up with the legend.
"When Vince started we were run, run, run and a little throw," Brown said. "Then we got so we were two-thirds run and a little throw. Then this year we throw 40 times to win the national championship game.
"A year and a half ago, no one thought Vince could play quarterback. Now everyone is shocked he's coming out early."
There are worse situations to inherit. Texas returns 15 starters if you count the three-headed tailback situation -- Selvin Young, Ramonce Taylor and Jamaal Charles.
The Horns have plenty of horses, then, but only one Colt.
"We've heard several (people named) Colt lately," Brad McCoy said of his son's unique name. "There might be a lot more."