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Still the one

No reason for Young's stock to fall since Rose Bowl

Posted: Friday April 14, 2006 12:04PM; Updated: Friday April 14, 2006 5:11PM
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Vince Young rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 267 yards to help Texas beat USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl.
Vince Young rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 267 yards to help Texas beat USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl.
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"The trouble with you is the trouble with me. You've got two good eyes but you still don't see...."
 -- Grateful Dead, "Casey Jones"

Back when he was at UCLA, my father took a final exam in which the professor presented only a single hypothetical question requiring a yes or no answer, with the addendum, "If yes, explain."

Reasoning that the basic setup of the query begged for an affirmative response, each of my dad's classmates began scribbling furiously -- but my father simply sat at his desk and stared at the test. After a couple of minutes he went with his gut, wrote "No" in his blue book and, to the amazement of his fellow students, walked out of the room and headed straight to Santa Anita to bet on the Daily Double.

It was a hell of a gamble, and it spoke to a basic premise that applies to the NFL's bizarre courtship of former Texas quarterback Vince Young: If the available evidence tells you something is so, there's no need to overthink the question.

Or, to put it another way: Why do so many teams at or near the top of the NFL draft seem to be going to such great lengths to talk themselves out of picking Young?

Yeah, I know, Reggie Bush is fantastic, and his fellow ex-USC backfieldmate, Matt Leinart, is a ballsy leader who's probably going to be a heck of an NFL player. And while I can't say I've watched a whole lot of North Carolina State football recently, I'm sure 6-foot-7 defensive end Mario Williams has the potential to be a pass-rushing beast for some lucky team.

I'm also well aware that at the combine, Young reportedly had a subpar showing on the Wonderlic test, the same faithful measuring stick of intelligence that rated Ryan Leaf 11 points ahead of Dan Marino. And no, Young does not fit the traditional drop-back profile of a classic NFL quarterback, and he'll certainly have to adjust to the speed and complexity of pro defenses and may take some lumps in the process.

Fine. All of those points are valid. Now let me start by offering a two-word rebuttal: Rose Bowl.

Oh yeah, remember that game? My new friend LenDale White does -- more on our burgeoning relationship later -- and the ultra-confident former USC running back is still haunted by the sight of Young snatching a national title from the Trojans by the sheer force of his talent, will and poise.