He’s real McCoy when it comes to making TDs
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Mike McCoy’s numbers from 2006 look ordinary at first glance – 23 catches for 346 yards.
It’s not until you move your finger over a little to the right on the stat sheet that you see how truly amazing his sophomore season actually was.
McCoy, the Pack’s sure-handed junior wide receiver, reached paydirt nine times last season, tying running back Luke Lippincott for the team lead. That’s what you call production when nearly 40 percent of your touches wind up getting your team six points.
It almost seemed like McCoy and Jeff Rowe were communicating verbally while the play was going on. McCoy certainly wasn’t the Pack’s go-to guy last season, but he made his catches count as evidenced by his two-touchdown efforts against Fresno State and New Mexico State.
“I don’t know,” McCoy said when asked about his ability to get into the end zone. “I guess it was just being in the right place at the right time.
“Sometimes I’ve changed my routes when I got down near the end zone. Fortunately, Jeff (Rowe) knew what I was doing. If it was an 8-yard route I would cut it to 4 just to get the ball in my hands in front of the end zone.”
Scott Baumgartner, the Pack’s wide receivers coach, said that route running sets McCoy apart from others.
“He’s an extremely good route runner,” Baumgartner said. “He’s quick. He does a good job of setting up the defender. He’s a clean route runner. He has a plan for what he’s doing before leaving the line of scrimmage.
“He finds a way to get it done (score). Look at the Fresno State game. He weasels his way through the secondary and all of a sudden he’s wide open near the goalline. Look at the Vegas game. The third play he catches an 80-yarder (actually 79). There was no way you expect him to run away from those guys. He just works real hard to get open.”
That’s a key in being a wide receiver, knowing where you want to go. It also takes enough experience of working with a particular quarterback, who has good enough field vision to know what his receiver is going to do in certain situations.
Now, McCoy is working with sophomore Nick Graziano and redshirt Colin Kaepernick in game situations on a regular basis. He’s had a spring and a fall camp to get accustomed to his new QBs, and he hopes to have that same type of communication he had with Rowe.
“We’re working on it,” McCoy said. “I worked with Jeff Rowe for three years. I did catch Graz’s only touchdown pass last year. They will definitely come around. We’ll get it down. They have both worked hard.”
So has McCoy, though he claims not to be any better than when he first arrived in Reno back in 2004.
“The game has slowed down a lot for me,” he said. “I feel way more comfortable than I did when I first got here. I’m playing football like I did in high school.”
That’s a telling statement. At Colfax High, where he helped lead his team to a Sac-Joaquin Section championship, McCoy played for Tony Martello, who coached with Chris Ault many years ago.
“That was a big help,” McCoy said. “At Colfax, we threw the ball quite a bit. We ran a lot of the same plays, and some of them were even called the same thing. That made the transition (to college ball) a lot easier.”
Baumgartner has a somewhat different theory, a simpler one, for McCoy’s success. The junior receiver said the game has slowed down, but he hasn’t.
“It’s just maturity and experience,” said Baumgartner. “He’s a good competitor. He wants to be a good football player.
“He’s not going to be the fastest in the 100 or the 40. He plays fast all the time. He plays quick and he plays fast.”
And, that’s what WAC cornerbacks have been finding out the last two years.
THE McCOY FILE
year in school: Junior
Position: Wide receiver
Major: Speech communications