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Texas Time
TIM LAYDEN
August 15, 2005
It's been 36 years since the Longhorns finished at the top, but the relentless Vince Young could be the guy who finally gets them there
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August 15, 2005

Texas Time

It's been 36 years since the Longhorns finished at the top, but the relentless Vince Young could be the guy who finally gets them there

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"Because you're funny," she said.

Kattie Edmonson, project coordinator for the program, says, "Vince was the first one here every morning and the last one to leave. He worked in the classroom like he was a regular teacher. He never raised his voice, but he kept their attention. He told them all, 'Guys, right here in this school is where it all starts.'"

Says Vince, "I was blessed with a lot of talent. I'm also trying to be a strong, humble man."

Sitting in a film room in the Texas football building, 160 miles from his father's prison, Vince says that every day he thinks about the void in his life. "I've been hurt so much by not having my father around," he says. "I've heard teammates talk about all the things they learned from their fathers. They all had great relationships with their fathers. I just sit around sometimes thinking, Man, I wish I had that."

Vince's eyes water. "God says we have to forgive. I know that," he says. "We'll have to sit down one of these days, my father and me. But I'm not there yet."

from the first day Vince Young set foot on the Texas campus, there was little doubt he would dazzle teammates and opponents alike with his running skills. Even as he has undergone the customary bulking up through weightlifting, from 200 skinny pounds to a hard 230, he has remained quick and slippery. "Quick and fast, but also very powerful," says Kansas coach Mark Mangino. "It's a pretty tough combination when you're trying to tackle him."

Says Simms, "From Day One, if the pocket was collapsing, he could tuck the ball away and use his athletic ability to do pretty much whatever he wanted. Not many people can do that. I know I can't."

Young won the starting job in the seventh game of his redshirt freshman season, and Texas has since gone 17--2. The coaching staff has modified the pro-style offense to suit Young's talents, adding a quarterback draw, the zone read (in which Young puts the ball in the tailback's belly, reads the outside defender and either gives the ball up or runs with it himself) and several bootlegs. On many plays he's a running back who happens to take the snap.

A hopeful Longhorn Nation--and cynics nationwide--await the day when his passing skills catch up. In two seasons his touchdown-pass-to-interception ratio is an ugly 1 to 1 (18 of each). He throws from off the front of his shoulder, like a shot-putter, and that's when he isn't dropping down to throw sidearm. "We talked about making a lot of changes in his delivery," says Davis, the offensive coordinator, "but Vince is probably never going to have a classic motion."

As Mack Brown points out, "So many young guys come up now through the quarterback camps, where they're taught the perfect motion. Vince never went to those camps."

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