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 AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -Colt McCoy arrived on the Texas campus in 2005 as a skinny, small-town country kid.
He weighed about 180 pounds and looked even smaller than that. Slender shoulders, skinny arms and legs and a wide-eyed expression made some teammates wonder whether he could play.
``I'm a city guy from Houston,'' senior running back Chris Ogbannaya said. ``Colt comes up to me and the first thing he says is, 'Hi, I'm Colt McCoy.' I am just like, 'Where are you from?' He had a West Texas accent.''
Nobody questions whether McCoy can play anymore. The confident kid is now in his third season as the Longhorns' starter. Hard work in the weight room turned him into a solid 6-foot-3, 215 pounds athlete with a strong arm and speed to outrun defenders.
uld make him a top contender for the Heisman Trophy.
``I think everybody understands who their bellcow is, who their leader is, and they get on his back,'' Sooners defensive coordinator Brent Venables said.
Many Texas fans figured McCoy was just an insurance policy when the Longhorns missed signing to recruit Ryan Perrilloux in 2005.
``If you saw where I played high school, you'd know why I wasn't a (big) recruit,'' said McCoy, who played at Class 2A Tuscola Jim Ned High School, just up the road from Buffalo Gap.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown saw past the small town to see a big-time player.
``We saw the same things in high school you're seeing now,'' Brown said. ``The questions we had were: Could he get bigger and stronger? We never questioned his ability to play. He has worked really hard to answer every flaw ... He's played as near perfect as you can play.''
M and a chance to defend its Big 12 title.
Today, McCoy runs with power and confidence. Against Rice, he bowled over two defenders at the goal line for a touchdown. Against Arkansas, he outran the Razorbacks' secondary in a 35-yard burst to the end zone, Texas' longest scoring run of the season.
to find a No. 1 tailback, McCoy is averaging a nifty 7.0 yards per carry, most of it coming on designed runs. That gives Texas a flavor of the dual threat QB the Longhorns had with Vince Young in the 2005 national championship season.
McCoy ran for more than 400 yards last season but said he finally realized he could do some real damage when he went 70 yards against Texas' first-team defense in a preseason scrimmage.
``When I can use my feet I'm going to use them and just like Coach Brown tell me everyday, ``When you can go make a first down, go make it.'' McCoy said.
Just as important is that the mistakes that plagued him last season when he threw 18 interceptions have not shown up through the first five games. Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis said McCoy now understands the defenses he's facing so well that he often anticipates the play before Davis calls them.
Oklahoma won't be like Rice, Arkansas or any opponent Texas has faced this season. The Sooners will bring a big and fast defense to the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. The Sooners chased McCoy all around the backfield in last season's 28-21 win.
``He's much faster and more accurate. That guy, he's a real good player, so we're going to have a task ahead of us stopping him,'' Sooners defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said.
.
He wore a smile wide as a country mile after throwing two touchdown passes in Texas' 28-10 win as a freshman in 2006, a victory that propelled him out of Young's considerable shadow. He played well again last season but Texas lost and McCoy seethed as he stalked off the field clenching both fists in anger.
Minutes later, an impassioned speech to his teammates in the locker room established him as a leader not just of the offense, but the entire team.
McCoy's name is showing up on early lists of Heisman contenders along with Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford and Missouri QB Chase Daniel, McCoy's opponent next week. Wins against those two could make him the front-runner for a trophy that even Young couldn't win.
``I love this game,'' McCoy said. ``I love this week. I can't wait till Saturday.''
---
AP Sports Writer Jeff Latzke in Norman, Okla., contributed to this report.

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