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  • Trials by fire part of Longhorn tradition

    Case McCoy knows trials by fire are part of Longhorn tradition
  • Among those things that are bigger in Texas are the pressures of being a quarterback and coach.
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  • Among those things that are bigger in Texas are the pressures of being a quarterback and coach.
    Case McCoy — the son of a coach and the brother of a quarterback — knew all about that when he signed on to play at Texas, and lately he and his coach, Mack Brown, became the latest Longhorns to get ground up by the locals as they prepare to face Oregon in the Alamo Bowl on Monday.
    McCoy is a Texas native who was a two-time all-state quarterback and prep all-American at Graham High School. He played for his father, Brad, who previously coached at Jim Ned High School in Tuscola, Texas.
    "I'm a coach's son and I have been in a family that has been scrutinized, but fortunately my father was a great coach who won a lot of games," Case McCoy says. "But I have woken up to many morning with a 'For Sale' sign in my yard and we packed our suitcases many times. That's part of coaching."
    During the past month, McCoy watched Brown go through a similar situation on a much larger scale before he announced his resignation after leading the Longhorns to an 8-4 record in his 16th season.
    "I understand the profession. When you don't win, the first guy to go is the head coach," McCoy says. "When you win, he is the first guy to get praise and it is the same with the quarterback position, you get too much blame or credit. It has been tough to see a man who has done what coach has done here go down the way he has."
    Case McCoy arrived at Texas in 2010, the season after his brother, Colt, led the Longhorns to the BCS Championship game before losing to Alabama. Case McCoy never reached such heights at Texas, serving mostly as a backup for three years until starting the final eight games of his senior year after David Ash was injured.
    "It would have been easier to go somewhere else, no doubt about that," McCoy says. "I never seem to take the easy route, I'm not sure why. I need to start looking at that."
    The 6-foot-2, 200-pound McCoy has completed 54.7 percent of his passes for 1,885 yards and 11 touchdowns with 11 interceptions this year. He has 3,641 yards and 24 touchdown passes with 18 interceptions in his career.
    Despite struggling to get on the field and facing comparisons to his brother, McCoy says he made the right choice to play at Texas.
    "I can go back and say I should have done this or that, but I had an incredible time here," he says. "This has been a blast and I built relationships that will last a lifetime. When it comes down to it, the world is not about football, although so many think it is. This was a small stint in my life and I was privileged to play the game I love.
    "I never questioned coming to Texas and playing behind my brother. There is no doubt it was tougher, but it made me who I am."
    Being a high-profile college football player will prepare him for life after football, he says.
    "That is part of playing at this university, I knew what I was stepping into when I signed the scholarship," he says. "Maybe I didn't always handle it perfectly, but it is a tough job for anyone on the team."
    McCoy started five games as a sophomore before backing up Ash last year. He finally became the No. 1 quarterback for the Longhorns when Ash had to miss the final eight games because of a concussion. McCoy led Texas to five straight wins, culminating with 283 passing yards and three touchdowns against West Virginia.
    "I've never been a fan of the two-quarterback system. I feel like you pick a guy and roll with him," McCoy says. "Guys start to follow him, and it not only builds confidence in the team but the player."
    McCoy admitted his confidence took a hit with a 30-10 loss to Baylor in the final game of the regular season. The Longhorns would have clinched a BCS berth with a win, but McCoy was 12-for-34 for 54 yards and two interceptions in the loss.
    "I've been more confident throughout the season, the last few weeks have been rough for everyone around here," McCoy says. "That makes us excited to get on the field again. Bowl practices have been great, and we have been able to have fun and enjoy the game one last time."
    Colt McCoy was a third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns who started 21 games in his first two seasons, but he is now a back-up in San Francisco. Case McCoy is not projected to be taken in the NFL draft, so the Ducks could be his final opponent.
    "We've been looking at Oregon; they are a good team," McCoy said. "They deserve all the credit they have been given, but I think our receivers are really good. They continue to grow up, and what better matchup for our guys than Oregon's defensive backs? Those guys are really good, no doubt."
    The Alamo Bowl figures to be filled with emotions, the final game for Brown and McCoy as well as the rest of his senior class. That group went 30-20 at Texas without a BCS berth and that forced the coach to leave with his seniors.
    "We've been trying to keep it together, but it is a hard process," McCoy said. "We all know this is a big-time job, well-magnified in the media, and we understand we have to win more games than we have.
    "That is not just on the coaches, but the players and the staff. They made a change and that is where they wanted to go with it, but as players we have to bond together and pull one out one last time."
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