Alabama Coach Nick Saban has sent the message. He repeated it prior to the start of Alabama fall…
McCoy Hopes For Increased Role
Three years later, Mike McCoy's time is almost up in Tuscaloosa.
Due in part to the phenomenal Alabama freshman season of Julio Jones, McCoy didn't jump out to Tide fans even though he was the team's number three receiver statistically. His final numbers of 16 catches, 191 yards and one touchdown were not as good the previous year, when, as a sophomore, the 6-2, 205-pounder grabbed 28 balls for 207 yards and one score.
McCoy wouldn't mind a senior season at Alabama like the one he had for Northwest Rankin (Miss.) High School, when he caught 42 passes for 821 yards and seven touchdowns. He also wouldn't mind helping take some of the defensive pressure off Jones.
"I feel like I could have been that guy last year," said McCoy, "but I got hampered by a hamstring (pull), so that played a huge role in my (lack of) confidence in what I could do. If it's God's will, we'll see."
McCoy hauled in three catches for 53 yards and six points at A-Day, and accurately predicted pre-game that his pal Marquis Maze would be MVP, an honor Maze shared with quarterback Greg McElroy. Those are two of McCoy's closest friends on the team.
One thing McCoy thinks will make him a better receiver is practicing daily against one of the SEC's (and nation's) best defenses.
"I think it helps us a whole lot," said the rising senior, "because of the simple thing that I feel like we have probably the best defense in the country.
"Going against (cornerback) Kareem Jackson every day...(cornerback) Javy (Javier Arenas)...(nickel back) Marquis Johnson...Ro (middle linebacker Rolando McClain)...T.C. (noseguard Terrence Cody).
"I mean, if you're going against them every day, if you can make plays against them, I think it will be a lot easier against other teams."
McCoy says the team as a whole needs to work on one thing between now and August, and it's a big reason the whole team stays around for summer school.
"Closeness. We have got to have more sense of togetherness. Chemistry. We have got to have each other's backs.
"That develops over the summer, and every year it's something new (to work on). We have to have that common goal of having each other's backs. We have the same time (to work together), and we have the same goals, and this year I think we're going to finish (the season) better."
McCoy knows that he and others will have to step up and assume new roles, like leadership.
"This is a new team. We've got new guys at new positions."
McCoy is playing the same position – wide receiver – but he hopes the combination of hard off-season skeleton drill and weight room work, a lack of injuries, and the chemistry he has on and off the field with McElroy will combine to allow McCoy that breakout year he has always felt he's capable of.
And that will be just fine with Head Coach Nick Saban, Offensive Coordinator Jim McElwain, Receivers Coach Curt Cignetti, McElroy, and the Bama nation.
Like McElroy himself tells anyone who will listen; "We expect BIG things out of Mike McCoy."
Thing is, so does McCoy.
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