Friday, January 8, 2010

Colt McCoy's Painful Blow Is Just Too Bad

He wasn’t scared to showcase agility, nor was he horrified in the national title game. Not when a game was considered the grandest of a four-year career at Texas, where Colt McCoy emerged and evolved into an endearing citizen.

That is, in a four-year period, he was the likeable athlete on campus as many became attached with a prosperous legacy that developed before their very eyes. For the folks in Austin, there’s much to like about McCoy; like the humbleness, poise, and passion for the most physical and famous sport in America.

When the winningest quarterback in college football history reached the final game dreaming to depart a relentless sport that constituted fame, winning the crystal ball would’ve capped a momentous career. But sustaining a critical injury, sadly, diminished belief and abstracted liveliness from an electric crowd that traveled from Texas to root on McCoy and the Longhorns.

The final game of his superlative career would’ve dilated a remarkable stint, where he has accumulated all the greatest deeds in sports. His goal, of course, was to win the national championship; a jubilant accomplishment that would’ve elevated an indomitable legacy, and mounted his draft status as he anticipates flourishing on the next level. Leaving the campus life to build a foundation in the NFL is a gigantic advancement.

However, to make such a transition, health is an element for forging a future in the pros. It’s emphatically mind-blowing to watch a career end in a despairing fashion. One win away from immortality, McCoy witnessed a nightmarish scene that drastically shifted momentum and spirit towards Alabama. It’s very sad to witness an impact player take a fall in the most significant showdown of an exhausted and tedious 12-game season.

It was painful to watch the final three quarters without McCoy’s presence. His absence killed the souls of the energetic and rambunctious Longhorns’ fans, a large crowd wearing orange to represent school spirit.

They suddenly turned petrified and perturbed, realizing McCoy stood as a symbol and a must-needed centerpiece to have a legitimate advantage against a fully talented Alabama. But, unfortunately on this night, he couldn’t be a savior in Pasadena, where the stars arrived to witness what was supposed to be the classic game of the ages.

Turns out, the Longhorns' weakest link is not having a well-experienced quarterback, engineering greatness with his masterful arm-strength and excellent precision. On the fifth play of the first quarter, a night suddenly declined.

By the end of Thursday night, the headlines focused strictly on the health of McCoy and draft status come April. Like an average quarterback would effectuate when in duress, he took matters into his own hands and carried the ball on an option.

At the time it seemed like a smart idea, until his body collided into the helmet of defensive end Marcell Dareus. From there a different outlook was cast on a team that could have beaten the top-ranked team in the nation. Moments later, he dropped to the beautiful turf at the Rose Bowl. His arm rattled in pain. He walked to the sideline as medical staff treated the senior quarterback.

The scary faces finally showed while despairing fans stared nervously as he walked to the locker room to have an x-ray on his throwing shoulder, the shoulder he badly injured. The saddest thing is, he never returned. Nor did he warm up on the sidelines for a potential return.

He was done, even though temptations were high. So for the first time in his career, McCoy had to painfully watch from the sidelines, and observe his teammates attempt dominance without him.

Only can we imagine it was painful to bear, after having a healthy career. His arm was wrapped. His teammates perpetuated a comeback, but it wasn’t enough to forestall the explosive and starved Alabama. Brave enough to survive late off of the heroics of the inexperienced and freshman quarterback, Garrett Gilbert, who wasn’t bad for a replacement. As confident and titillated the Longhorns seemed about winning a national championship, McCoy’s absence lowered their confidence level.

But more impressive is the fact that Texas hung in there, even though Alabama pulled away late to preserve a 37-21 victory to tell the world the prestigious program is back. Nick Saban, the coach responsible for retooling an unbalanced program, was drenched with Gatorade. It was a thrilling win for a school known for its dominance in the sport. But it was disappointing to watch the Longhorns in what became a long night, a game that didn’t finish in their favor. The Longhorns could have won, if the doctors and coach Mack Brown cleared him to play. But to be cautious, he noticed McCoy had severe pain in his throwing shoulder.

“He was in pain at halftime, and he and his dad were sitting in there with the doctors,” said Brown. “I never even asked the doctors because I could tell, he didn’t need to be back out on the field.”

It really didn’t seem like a serious hit, when McCoy suffered the contact. But it was, removing him from a night he had patiently waited to participate in. It hurt Texas’ offense mightily, unveiling when Gilbert heaved four interceptions on the night, with a few carrying towards the direction of Alabama’s All-American cornerback Javier Arenas.

There were times when he built up momentum and assurance to put aside the blunders. There were several plays where he found Texas’ top receiver Jordan Shipley, a reliable target that has dangerous speed and is great at spreading out the field. As we know, McCoy’s favorite target, roommate, friend and miracle performer who happened to catch McCoy’s accurate throw while riding in a boat on Lake Whitney, was involved in the offense and helped finish a few well-executed plays.

Shipley finished the night with two touchdowns and changed the complexion of the game. Suddenly, the lead was cut within three after the Longhorns trailed on the scoreboard. For much of the night, it was 24-6 before turning into a threatening situation when Alabama led 24-21. Momentarily, the frenzied crowd had a difficult time watching and accepting the latest comeback.

But when linebacker Eryk Anders eased the fear of losing, the crowd increased the intensity level. With three minutes left, he sacked Gilbert and forced a fumble. None of the Longhorns’ players were successful in recovering the loose ball, in which Courtney Upshaw recovered to relax a much-tensed crowd.

Wow. What a sigh of relief.

McCoy, a wise player, was supposed to win, to elevate a sheer legacy. But, unfortunately, it was heartbreaking as our country witnessed an Alabama team that appeared lackadaisical and careless in the first half.

Although he missed the critical part of the game, McCoy had his work cut out for him, meeting a dynamic defensive force that Saban has cultivated. By far, in college football history, we may have witnessed the best defensive class in Tuscaloosa.

Next year, the Crimson Tide may have a much-depleted defense if Terence Cody and Rolando McClain, a pair of powerful defensive stars, decide to declare for the NFL. Meanwhile, we never had a chance to really find out if McCoy could withstand the potent defense.

Early on, the Longhorns made a strong case by forcing the Tide to commit turnovers, which is why Saban’s team didn’t look prepared for the challenge until McCoy left for the night. There’s no doubt in our minds, we never expected the greatest quarterback to collapse. Despite predictions of Alabama trouncing the Longhorns, McCoy painfully going down was never forecast. His devastating loss completely hooked the 'Horns.

Sadly, we never saw this coming as it seemed too special to implode.