Friday, January 06, 2006

Now All Vince Young Needs Is a More Distinctive Name

Yes, University of Texas QB Vince Young should turn pro. Even if he'd lost the Rose Bowl, he should have turned pro. Probably lost a little in all the hoopla of Young's astounding BCS Championship game performance—267 yards passing, 200 yards rushing, 3 TDs scored—are the equally amazing stats he'd already compiled during the regular season. Young's quarterback rating pre-Rose Bowl was 163.9. I've never been sure how they figure this stuff out, but the highest rating a QB can have in the pro game is 158.3. Whatever. The guy's a stud athlete no matter how you slice it, but it's important to remember that the Rose Bowl performance was something new only to those who haven't really been following Young's exploits. He also averaged 6.8 yards per carry during the regular season. He threw for 3,036 yards (26 TDs) and totaled 993 yards on the ground (12 TDs). The guy's absolutely ready for the NFL, and it would be a big mistake for him to return to college. He can complete his undergrad degree whenever he wants. Meanwhile, millions of dollars await him, and whoever drafts him better be prepared to shell out the dough.

Fact is, Young might be worth every penny. He's like a Michael Vick, only with an upside. That is to say, Young's talents are demonstrably superior to Vick's, which is saying something considering that Vick was seen as a New Generation athlete when he came out of Virginia Tech. Vick has proved to have feet of clay in the NFL, and it's still an iffy proposition that he's going to become a top-rank QB. He seems to be getting worse actually, and five years into his career he's probably not as optimally strong or fast as he was when he entered the NFL in 2001. It's hard to believe how soon another college player has eclipsed Vick's promise, but there you have it.

There's been a tendency to over-analyze the Rose Bowl, with critics saying that USC's defense had a lot to do with Young's numbers. It was a little puzzling on that final Young TD—Where were the Trojan linebackers? Well, they were in the middle and on the left side of the field, presumably covering Texas receivers. That makes sense since Young throws a wicked pass and seems capable of hitting receivers from anywhere on the field. But the play only pointed up what a dangerous player Young is. He only needs a small window of opportunity to allow his feet to make the big play, and once he gets up a head of steam, he's a 6'5," 230-pound juggernaut, with quickness to boot. Maybe USC should have assigned a couple of guys strictly to follow Young wherever he went. But I dunno. In that case, he might've just thrown more TD passes.

I will say this about Young: He doesn't operate out of the backfield with a typical technique. His handoffs are eccentric, to say the least, and one can only assume this has everything to do with the general option style of offense that is built around him. He'll need to work on that in the pros. But, heck, thank God he'll have to work on something in the pros. The Rose Bowl exhibition he put on was so good that it dwarfed the excellent performances of USC stars Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, both of whom are guaranteed first-round NFL draft picks.

And by the way, enough of this crap about Leinart and Bush "choking." They both had excellent games, and clearly the Trojans had a lot more weapons than Texas, especially when you throw in RB LenDale White and WR Dwayne Jarrett . The Trojans' balanced, pro-style attack was a joy to watch, and they put plenty of points up against a physical, psyched-up Texas defense. No, I don't know why SoCal was favored by a touchdown. Probably the so-called experts went with what they knew they had in USC. They knew Vince Young was gonna show up as well, but what they didn't know was that he'd put on his Superman costume.

It was a great game. For once, the BCS plotters and planners looked like geniuses.

Now we need to work on Young's Web presence. Believe it or not, there's a Melbourne, Fla., media wannabe named Vince Young (right), who has a Web site ( I guess if the guy's shrewd enough, he can sell the domain name to the real Vince Young's "people," once the QB signs his pro contract.

But wait: There's another Vincent Young. He's a celebrity of some kind. He's pictured here (left), and he's what you get if you Google "Vincent Young." I'm probably out of it where pop culture is concerned. I have no idea who this guy is. He looks pretty "Magoo," if you ask me. You can bet that if he's an actor or a singer, he probably sucks.

Oh well. Maybe Vince Young the football player should find a new name and make all this silliness go away. How about Clark Kent?

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