05 July 2008
| Mike McCoy - #80 – WR – 6-3 – 199 lbs. – Rankin, MS – Northwest HS – 2 Varsity Letters
For the second consecutive off season we’ve heard rave reviews about Mike’s progression. This spring he shared (with Drew Davis
) the Bart Starr Most Improved Player Award. It is crucial for Bama that someone step up and be the go-to guy for this offense, having lost DJ Hall
, Keith Brown
and Matt Caddell
, all of whom ended their careers with more than 1,000 yards receiving.
The key for Mike will be consistency, something that severely lacked in 2007. After catching 19 passes in the Tide’s first 5 games, he basically disappeared from the offense, catching just 9 passes over the next 6 games, and none in the Auburn or Colorado games.
It was probably a bit unfair to Mike to expect so much from him last season, though. Despite being a Sophomore on the roster, he played only 8 snaps in 3 games during his Freshman season. So 2007 was really his first real opportunity at playing time. And the struggles for Bama’s offense during most of those last 8 games went far beyond just Mike McCoy.
: Considering the fact that despite the rough end to his season Mike ended the 2007 season as Bama’s #3 receiver, he has to be the favorite to start at Split End. Part of the reason that he disappeared over the 2nd half of the season was his inability to carry out the aspects of the receiver position not related to catching the ball. Those aspects of his game improved considerably in the spring.
Unlike last season where one guy had to be the “go-to” receiver, Alabama will likely spread the ball around considerably more this season. Instead of having one guy with 67 catches, another with 40, and no one else above 30, you can expect Jim McElwain
to ensure that the ball is distributed throughout the receiving corps.
It is important that Mike become a leader, however. Even if no one player is going to have considerably more catches than any other, it is crucial that someone step up and be a consistent threat when a reception is an absolute necessity. In that regard, you do need a reliable option, and in the best case scenario you end up with 2 or 3 of those guys. As the team’s leading returning receiver, and now an upperclassmen, it falls onto Mike to become one of those guys.
He’ll be pushed for playing time by Nikita Stover
and incoming freshman phenom Julio Jones
. Because Jim McElwain
loves to use 3 and 4 WR sets, there will be room for all 3 of those guys, plus an additional 4 or 5 to see heavy playing time. Barring and injury, it is likely that Mike will again end the season as one of Bama’s leading 3 receivers.