Mid-term enrollee Jevan Snead hadn’t been on campus two weeks when a Longhorns coach gave him a present. It was an hour-long DVD featuring 100 offensive plays.
Gosh, you shouldn’t have.
Before the Stephenville quarterback recruit could find the Student Union building, here was Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis expecting him to learn the meaning of “Gun Right Jack Short Scat Lock 133 Go.” That, of course, is long for a tight end with triple receivers formation, a 6-yard route for one receiver, 4-yard bend-out patterns for the tight end and another receiver, and a fly route by the third receiver.
Oh, that Gun Right Jack Short Scat Lock 133 Go.
Why didn’t you say so?
Talk about hitting the ground running. And throwing. A guy named Vince Young ran that third-down staple to perfection, completing 76 percent of those passes. He was a perfect 4 for 4 in that little Rose Bowl contest.
And here’s Snead having to learn it when he’s barely out of high school. Welcome to college, big guy. How well he soaks up Texas’ offense could well determine who has the unfortunate timing of having to replace arguably one of the greatest players in college football history.
Not that there’s any pressure attached.
At least, Snead’s competition is in the same neighborhood. Redshirt freshman Colt McCoy has never taken a snap in a college football game either. Nor has incoming freshman Sherrod Harris, who figures to redshirt.
It’s not entirely even Stephenville, though.
McCoy was tabbed No. 1 in spring drills because somebody had to be. Five of Texas’ 15 practices haven’t altered anyone’s thinking that both guys can do the job, starting in precisely 210 days.
“We probably will be playing both, ” said UT Coach Mack Brown, a guy who should know. “Most likely you don’t want the pressure at this place to be on just one of their shoulders. That is, unless one’s head and shoulders better than the other one.”
The Texas boss isn’t saying he’s going to alternate quarterbacks every play or every series or every other game. He’s just saying it’s realistic to expect both to show up under center at some point in 2006, because the Longhorns need two quarterbacks to be ready.
One quarterback was fine in 2005 because he came with a cape. The expectations of that position will change next fall, but the expectations of the team will not.
No freshman quarterback has taken a team to the title since Oklahoma’s Jamelle Holieway in 1985. The only other to do it was redshirt freshman Bernie Kosar at Miami in 1983.
The last first-year starter to win it all was junior Tee Martin, who succeeded Peyton Manning at Tennessee and claimed the 1998 title after throwing just 16 passes in his first two seasons.
So can Texas repeat as national champs with McCoy or Snead at quarterback?
“Absolutely, ” Davis said. “One thing we’ve learned is you don’t have to have All-Americans at every position to win a national championship. Now, you’ve got to have some, sure enough.”
Here’s a prediction: Whoever wins the quarterback job won’t make All-American, but safety Michael Griffin, defensive tackle Frank Okam and offensive tackle Justin Blalock will.
Blalock said neither young quarterback’s voice has cracked in the huddle but avoids further evaluation. “If I could look over my shoulder and still block, ” he said, “I wouldn’t still be here.”
For sure, McCoy and Snead only have to be steady with so much talent around them. But they’ll most certainly have to make a few plays, especially in mid-October.
“I don’t think it’ll change that much, ” top receiver Limas Sweed said of the offense. “I think it’ll be similar.”
Yeah, sure. They’ll have 11 on the field on Sept. 2 against North Texas, just like they did against Southern California.
Oh, it’ll change — big-time. More power running, fewer zone reads, shorter passes.
Whereas Davis estimated the offense ran its bread-and-butter zone read play 180 times last year, with Young keeping on 50 of them, Texas may call the play on 60 snaps and let, uh, McSnead run it on 15.
Both McCoy and Snead are more than capable runners. McCoy broke off a 30-yard run on a zone read play during practice Saturday. Snead went for 15 yards on a quarterback draw.
McCoy‘s a little quicker, but Snead has such a strong arm that Davis said it’s “darn close” to the best he’s had at Texas, even in Chris Simms’ range.
McCoy has been described by some in the football offices as “Major Applewhite with athletic ability, ” a super-bright guy who is a very accurate passer with good anticipation. Snead has the better arm and a competitive streak that jumped out at Southlake Carroll coaching genius Todd Dodge at the U.S. Army All-American Game.
They’ve both got game. But don’t expect a starter to be named this spring.
“I doubt it, ” Davis said. “You want one as soon as you’ve got one. But you don’t want to declare one just to declare one.”
For now, declare the position in good hands.