Tracking the Longhorns: Dec. 9
Dec. 9, 2008
QB Colt McCoy
On the sites he would want to see in New York: If I get to go up there, I think it'd be fun to maybe go see the Statue of Liberty, possibly Ground Zero, maybe just look around. I have very rarely been out of the state of Texas, so if I get the chance it should be pretty fun.
On the possibility of winning the Heisman Trophy: It's going to happen the way it should happen. I've just played the best I can play all year. We'll see how it goes. I'm not going to worry about who gets what vote, if it happens that's great. I just thank God for the opportunity I've had to play and I'm excited for what's to come.
On whether he will put any stock into what the NFL evaluations tell him in the offseason: I've said all year long, I established that a long time ago that I was coming back.
On the abundance of Heisman candidates from the Big 12: That's awesome for college football but it's also great for the Big 12 to have guys like this from our conference and watch them be so successful. It's great for this area and especially for the Big 12. It's an honor to have my name mentioned with those guys and given the opportunity to go up there, I think it would be fun.
On watching Ricky Williams winning the Heisman Trophy in 1998: It was fun. I was actually at the game when he broke the NCAA rushing record. That was awesome. I think having the opportunity to play here, or any student-athlete that plays anywhere, that's the ultimate goal, to win the Heisman Trophy. Just being named to be able to go up there is pretty special.
On whether he pictured himself in his current position while watching Ricky Williams win the Heisman 10 years ago: As a kid, you always envision yourself playing quarterback. I was always wanting to play at Texas. Being able to play and having an opportunity here, once you start playing and you're in your third year, and all of a sudden some other things start popping up, you start setting your goals a little bit higher. You start realizing some things that maybe at first you didn't realize could come true, but now it's like you're living a dream. Every day, I'm thankful for where I am and I'm enjoying every part about it.
On whether winning the Heisman Trophy will dull some of the team's disappointment from not going to the BCS title game: [My teammates] are just as excited as I am about it. I talk to them a lot, they're fired up. They want it just as bad as I do, maybe even more. It's an exciting time around here. We've had a great season and we're going to a BCS game. So everything around here is positive and I think that would be just one more positive for the team.
On the importance of running the ball for him this year: I definitely think that helps. I understood the importance this year of using my feet when I need to. Anytime that you can move the chains and keep the ball on the field with offense by using your feet it's really important. I know (Florida QB Tim) Tebow does a good job of that and I think that I personally have understood the importance of that this year.
On taking the number of hits he has this season: That's just part of the game. You're going to get hit. I spent a lot of time in the offseason trying to get my body right, understanding that playing in the Big 12 you're going to play against solid defenses, you're going to get hit a lot. To be able to take them and play every game and finish the season, that definitely helps me a lot.
On the emotions of the last couple of weeks: It's tough. We feel like we did everything we could, but our focus right now is on Ohio State. What an opportunity for us, to be in a BCS game, to go out there to Arizona and play in the Fiesta Bowl. We're super excited, ready to start practice and ready to gameplan for Ohio State.
On whether he ever thought he'd play Ohio State again after the matchup in 2006: They have such rich tradition at Ohio State and so do we. They came here in the second game that I ever played in college. It'll be fun to get one more against those guys, especially in the setting that it's going to be in. It's going to be a great game, it's a great matchup. We're looking forward to it.
On the finality of knowing the team's bowl-game fate: We put those other games behind us a long time ago. We said we were going to be excited wherever we ended up, we're going to play the best game that we have all year. We had practice this morning, getting ready for that. Playing Ohio State out in Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl, it's going to be a great matchup.
On whether he feels close to the goals that he set at the beginning of the season: We have the opportunity to win 12 [games]. We haven't had that opportunity the last couple of years and we want to take full advantage of that, and play the best we can. That's all we can do at this point, go out there and win, and carry that on into spring practice, fall practice next year and into the season, like we did last year from the Holiday Bowl. There's a lot of stuff out there for us to play for. We have a lot of guys coming back after this season. We just want to make this our best game.
On the reputation of the Big 12: I don't think people realize how powerful the offenses are in the Big 12. At any point you're going to have to understand you've got to keep the ball in your hands, you've got to take care of the ball because that other team can score just as quick as you can snap your fingers. Being able to keep the defense off the field and being able to hold the ball in the Big 12 is really important. That being said, you're going to score a lot of points each game and that's why I think defenses can get overshadowed but at the same time they're solid. I think we'll see that in the bowl games this year.
On whether he will root for other Big 12 teams in their bowl games: I think so. Knowing some of the players from other teams, before and after the games and seeing them all the time, you want to root for them because that makes the conference that much stronger. I have no doubt that most of the Big 12 teams that are in bowl games will play really well.
On the matchup against Ohio State: It's going to be fun preparing for them because they have one of the best defenses in the nation. They're holding people to 13 points a game, so that's a challenge for us as an offense. We know that when we step out on that field that we're going to have to bring our "A" game, execute and take care of the ball. We're going to practice hard, prepare hard and hope to come out on top.
On the team's attitude heading into the Fiesta Bowl: We're excited. We can't be more pleased with being able to go out to Arizona and being able to play Ohio State and have one more chance for a win and have 12 wins in a season. We're pleased and we want to play the best game that we can play because that's the only thing that we can do. Everything else is out of our control. This is where we are, so we've got to be excited and get ready.
On the possibility of winning an AP national championship: Our main focus is on Ohio State. We're excited about the opportunity to go out to the Fiesta Bowl, to be in a BCS game and to have another shot at Ohio State. The last time we played they got us on our home field, that was the second game of my career. I personally am really excited about that and that opportunity. If we go out and play well, who knows what happens. We'll just have to wait and see. We want to play the best game we have all year on January 5 and we're going to prepare for that.
On Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis: The thing I remember about him is I threw my first interception of my career to him. I won't ever forget that. He was young at that point. I think it started him on his All-American campaign for sure after that. He's grown to be a great player but I'm definitely not the player I was at that point either. It's going to be a fun matchup, I enjoy watching him play. I think he's the guy of any college team I've actually kept up with and watched. He's done a great job. He's been great for their football team and I'm excited about having one more chance at him.
On Brian Orakpo winning the Bronko Nagurski Trophy: It's awesome. The best defensive player in the country. To have him on our team, our team feeds off of him and he does a great job for us, especially in his senior year. In his last go-round, to win an award like that is a great honor. Being able to have him on the other side of the ball means a lot to our team, especially to our defense. He's a playmaker, he gets after the opposing team's quarterback all the time and after me at practice so I know how that goes. He definitely is deserving of (the Nagurski Trophy) and we're thankful to have him on our team.
On how excited the town of Tuscola is about his success and potential Heisman Trophy: It's pretty special. I get a lot of calls, a lot of letters, saying they're behind me all the way no matter what happens. That means a lot. I wouldn't trade anything for where I grew up and where I came from. It's a special time for them too.
On his representation of Texas high school football and small-town Texas: I think it just shows kids that grow up in small towns, that play small town high school football, that there's a chance and an opportunity if you set your goals high and reach for the stars. You always hear that growing up and it's kind of cheesy, but at the same time, you can do anything you want if you set your mind to it and work toward that. I think the season that I've had, the career that I've had so far, lets those guys know that.
On how much fun this season has been for him: It's been a blast. I've had the most fun this year that I ever have playing football. I think if you ask anybody on the team they'd say the same thing because the chemistry that we have, the way that we respond to each other. We're excited with where we are and excited about heading out to the Fiesta Bowl and having a shot at winning one more game.
On how much he is recognized in public: In Austin, they do [recognize him], for sure. Anywhere you go, you'll meet people. That's the unique thing, the exciting thing about playing this position is you get to meet a lot of people. You get to be an example to a lot of people and people look up to you. It's fun. But on the national scene, I have no idea. I really haven't been outside of Texas that much.
On his parents' emphasis of school before sports: My parents were very harsh on me about that. They didn't want me playing sports if I was making C's and D's. I had to excel in the classroom before I could start playing. That's why I didn't play pee-wee football or anything like that. I didn't really get into playing football until my eighth grade year to show my parents I can do well in academics and athletics.
On his injury at Texas Tech: Obviously, when you get hurt you think about what might have happened. Around that time, I was very disappointed in myself because I didn't want to get hurt, especially at a crucial moment with Texas Tech. You're very disappointed for your teammates that you couldn't be out there and do what you've been doing all season and that's putting pressure on the quarterback. It doesn't define the success we had all season. We had a very successful season. After the Tech loss, we went on a three-game winning streak and won those games convincingly. We're playing a great bowl game in the Fiesta Bowl. I'm really done with talking about the injury and using it as an excuse because it really doesn't define our season at all.
On playing above preseason expectations: It's a wonderful feeling. How much work we put in and all the doubters and people saying that we're not going to be any good and we proved people wrong each and every week. I just thank my teammates for believing and sticking in there and not giving up on each other. That's the main thing teams tend to do throughout the season. We just dedicated it to all the work we did in two-a-days and throughout the summer. It was a long season and a long time to prepare but I guess we were ready and look how successful we were.
On what led him to choose Texas: Education is very important to me and my family. That was a key factor in me choosing to come here because The University of Texas was a great school as well as excelling on the field. I could kill two birds with one stone right there, so that's why I decided to come here and it felt great to graduate this past Saturday.
On winning the Nagurski Trophy and being nominated for other national awards: I'm just enjoying this experience. I didn't go in thinking I was going to win the Nagurski. They called my name and I was just as shocked as everybody, all my family and people that were there supporting me. I'm just enjoying this experience; it's an honor and a privilege to be a finalist of these awards. I thank my teammates for putting me in a position to be here.
On the possibility of being the first Houston native to win the Lombardi Award, which is held in Houston: It would be tremendous, a great honor. To have a chance to be the first Houston-area guy to win the Lombardi, which is held in Houston, it's a great honor. I started my career in Houston and I can end it there in Houston with winning that award. It would be a great honor. It's a privilege to be a finalist for that great award.
On the Big 12's defensive reputation: You can't get into all that. Obviously we are one of the best conferences in the country right now, especially the best division. With all these teams we have, these great quarterbacks and these great offenses. For Texas to even be the number one total scoring defense and everything else of the Big 12 is a great accomplishment, because like I said you have so many guys that are great quarterbacks in (Oklahoma QB Sam) Bradford and Colt (McCoy) and (Texas Tech QB) Graham Harrell, you can name them off. I don't get into all that. For us, we lead the country in sacks and we're very good in stopping the run.
On how competitive the Big 12 has been this season: It was like a gauntlet. Each and every week you had a premier quarterback. It was a whole bunch of quarterbacks, a whole bunch of great offenses, that you had to prepare for each and every week. That's why this conference is so great. You have so many great offenses that put up so many points.
On the uniqueness of bowl games: Playoffs are fun to talk about but these bowl games are very unique because these conferences forget about the rivalries and their hate for one another, call a truce and root for each other when they're out there playing another conference. It's a time where everybody can start rooting for each other and hoping for the best and make sure that their conference comes out on top.