More experienced and less turnover-prone, McCoy needs to start

Chris Hummer

The Case McCoy vs. Tyrone Swoopes debate is simple, and it just comes down to math.

If you were Mack Brown who would you start? The quarterback with four years of college experience and more than 2,000 career passing yards or Swoopes? The same quarterback with as many passing yards as an average internet puppy – you know which one I’m talking about, the cute one from that internet video.

Swoopes, a highly rated recruit from Whitewright, Texas, has yet to see a college snap. Actually, outside of Longhorn practices, he’s never played a full game against a competition level higher than 2A high school teams.

“[He’s] very talented, very strong arm,” Brown said. “Now that he’s well, he’s done a lot of what we saw in the spring game. He does a lot well, but still makes a lot of freshman mistakes.”

Not just a few freshman mistakes, a lot of them.

For a 2-2 Texas team that needs all the help it can get, even a few first-year blunders could cost the Longhorns a game. Texas has yet to lose the turnover battle this season, but with Swoopes, one could argue that statistic would likely shift.

Swoopes, a strong-armed quarterback with a smooth stride and Vince Young-like attributes, is still young and his ability to read defenses and dissect coverages is limited. Throw those issues into a Big 12 contest, and it gives Texas a recipe for disaster.  

McCoy, for his part, can’t be labeled the most stable quarterback either. He features a gunslinger mentality, keeping plays alive by scrambling around in the backfield. However, McCoy has an occasional propensity for turnovers, posting a mediocre 2-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (14 TD, 7 INT).

But the senior has shown constraint this season. He’s completed 63 percent of his passes and hasn’t committed a turnover. Co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite almost forces McCoy into positive decisions, limiting his downfield throws and placing an emphasis on establishing the rushing attack to begin games.

Perhaps this takes away from what makes McCoy special, but the tactic was reasonably successful in his start against Ole Miss and in the second half against Kansas State, while he filled in for David Ash, who will miss another game after suffering a head injury against Kansas State.

McCoy is an experienced leader and adept at managing the offense. The players lean on him, too, praising his leadership abilities. Actually, they don’t even see much of a difference between him and Ash.

“Both of the guys execute the schemes the same way and we do not have a special scheme for when Case comes in or when David does,” senior offensive guard Trey Hopkins said. “Besides Case moving around a little bit more, that is the only difference.”

The same can’t be said for Swoopes. Different is sometimes better, but in a time of upheaval in the Texas program, it needs consistency, and for once that means McCoy.