AUSTIN, Texas -- The comments don’t come off as angry or mean-spirited. They’re wrapped in defiance -- that much is obvious -- and clearly some sense of pride.
Case McCoy feels disrespected. He made that clear Monday in the Texas quarterback’s first non-postgame meeting with reporters since the season began. Two days after being named the starter for the Oklahoma game, McCoy was ready to speak his mind.
He wasn’t aiming to inspire. No, it seemed more like he was trying to unload some of his irritation. All it took was a question about Mack Brown’s job safety to get McCoy going. What followed might be a window into the mentality he and his teammates are taking up to Dallas this weekend.
The first question about Brown’s hot seat was received with a winding response nearly two minutes in length.
He began by noting that he and his teammates read everything and are well aware of what’s going on, and that they shouldn’t feel much pressure since they're 0-3 against OU and there’s nowhere to go but up. But he’s not too big a fan of outsiders who, in his opinion, are trying to put more pressure on the Longhorns.
“Everyone outside thinks there a lot of pressure and they’re trying to put pressure on us, but the bottom line is, we’re a team and we’re a family,” McCoy said. “All the outsiders can say what they want to say, but we’re going to play on Saturday.
“None of y’all are going to play. The only guys that are going to play are us suiting up, and we’re the only ones who can determine that. Coach Brown is not going to play, Coach Applewhite is not going to play. None of these coaches are going to play.
“The guys that are going to play are the guys that are going to suit up in their uniforms. That’s the mentality that we’ve finally gotten to and understand.”
And then, he brought a little levity. McCoy joked that this isn’t the NFL. Nobody is getting cut or losing their scholarships over one game.
“We’ve got our scholarship, we’re going to play and we deserve to play for the University of Texas and give back to these people that encourage us and have fought with us and are still showing up, day after day, to watch us play,” McCoy said. “I think that’s where we’ve gotten right now.”
Shortly after that, a national columnist in attendance reminded McCoy how long he and his family have known Brown and posed a question about their relationship. And that set McCoy off.
“Bottom line is, I like y’all. Y’all are my friends here,” he said. “When I play bad, y’all aren’t my friends, and y’all really don’t have a clue what goes on inside, what that man puts into this team, what our team is fighting for day in and day out.
“I mean, do y’all really think we want to go out and lose to BYU? We fight nonstop year-round to go play 12 ballgames. To go out there and not play well kills us and kills our coaches. This is their livelihood and what’s feeding their kids.
“So bottom line is, when it comes down to it, y’all don’t really have a clue what’s going on inside of there. People are fighting and scrapping and trying to do whatever they can.
"I think the way it’s coming around is, maybe losing those first couple games was the best thing that could’ve happened to us this year. It put pressure on us -- according to y’all it put pressure on us -- and when it comes down to it, we’ve got to beat OU. Y’all know that. I think we know that. Now it’s time that we go do it.”
McCoy wasn’t trying to be impolite. He was being honest. He’s fed up with people doubting and questioning his team and he knows the only way to shut anybody up is to win the big one.
He looks at Oklahoma as the legacy game, the one he’ll remember forever if he wins. McCoy will go down in Longhorns lore as the quarterback who rallied to win the final Texas A&M game (at least, until they meet again someday). He wants to go down as the guy who led his senior class to a win over the Sooners.
And maybe he’s right. Maybe this team really is tired of being mocked, tired of seeing its head coach being underestimated. Maybe the Longhorns show up angry and punch OU in the mouth and exorcise their demons and take back their season.
What’s clear is that McCoy is the one leading the way this week. Win or lose, he’s not going down without a fight.
“The bottom line is we’ve got to win,” McCoy said. “How it’s going to happen and what it’s going to look like, I don’t care if we win 3-0. We’ve just got to win the ball game.”