Who’s the best Navy quarterback to run the spread option? Among the old tales being retold when two or three of us meet, that’s a fairly common one. Some point to Kaipo’s grasp of the finer points of the offense. Some point to Craig Candeto’s leadership or Ricky Dobbs’ passing and toughness. Others remind us that the team went 10-2 behind Aaron Polanco. My moment of clarity came as I was scanning through the postgame media notes handed out following the Mids’ 38-37 win over Central Michigan in 2010. Kriss Proctor started that game in place of an injured Dobbs, and did so in grand fashion, running for 201 yards on only 20 carries. One of the notes was on the ten best rushing performances by a quarterback in Navy history. Kriss was on the list, as was Alton Grizzard, Ricky Dobbs, Brian Broadwater, and Brian Madden. There was one player, though, who claimed half of the list all for himself. Five of the ten best QB rushing performances in Navy history (including #1 and #2) were turned in by Chris McCoy.
McCoy started his first game as a sophomore against SMU in 1995. I was a plebe that year, and as such I was forced to make a bet on the game. My second class wanted me to lay a “motivational” 99 points for Navy, since I was in the class of 1999. That didn’t seem very sporting to me, so I offered a compromise of taking Navy -28 instead, since we were in the 28th company. He graciously accepted, figuring it was almost as safe a bet given Navy’s recent football fortunes. The Mids won that game 33-2, led by McCoy and his 273 rushing yards. I won my bet and had my floor waxed. Chris McCoy earned himself the undying gratitude of a mediocre plebe.
As a runner, McCoy was a special talent. Nowadays, the only time we see a quarterback sweep is when the backup is in the game and the coaches are trying to run out the clock. With Chris McCoy, that play was a staple of the offense; anything to get him out into space with the ball. He was the master of turning sideways and scooting through a hole in the line, and nobody was better at the fake pitch. As a passer, McCoy wasn’t great, but he was better than a lot of people remember and made some huge plays with his arm.
He ran for 273 yards in his first game, and capped his career by running for 201 yards against Army. In between, he was a big part of making Navy football a lot of fun for one lifelong fan in the Brigade. For that, he is granted entry into the Birddog Hall of Awesome.