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'06 NFL Draft Interview: Vince Young
By Jeff Fuqua
Posted March 16th, 2006

Between now and draft day, goTitans.com will do an interview on the candidates most likely to be chosen by the Tennessee Titans with the third pick of the 2006 NFL Draft. The first in the series is with Suzanne Halliburton who covers the Texas Longhorns for the Austin American-Statesman. Halliburton has covered the Longhorns since 1997 and did her first article on Vince Young in December of 2001.

Among the rumors circulating about Young are those which say Mack Brown simplified the Longhorn offense this season because Young had a hard time reading defenses. Is this true?
Those are out of date rumors. Texas changed its offense to reflect Young's talents in mid-October, 2003. They retooled the offense some more in October, 2004, dropping some of the pass plays and adding more runs. It was all back in the playbook for last fall. Young's long touchdown pass to Billy Pittman late in the first half of the Oklahoma game was an example of a play that had been added back.

Why, in your opinion, did the Longhorn's simplify their offense and what was the result?
It wasn't so much that Texas "simplified" its offense with Young in the backfield. In 2004, Young's first full year as a starter. the Longhorns were thin at receiver, but had Young, the best running quarterback in the country, and tailback Cedric Benson. They beat teams by mashing them, and Young rarely needed to throw much. That's why the Longhorns ranked second nationally in rushing offense. Last fall, the receivers found their stride, and the Longhorns opted to run most plays out of the shotgun with one back, three wides and a tight end. Texas was third in the country in rushing, but threw enough to rank sixth nationally in total offense. They also led the nation in scoring, and Young ended up third nationally in pass efficiency. In one of those statistical quirks, Young completed 75 percent of his passes against USC, but dropped from first to third in efficiency.

Why was Young always in the shotgun and does this point to an inability to take a snap from center?
Texas didn't run all their plays under shotgun. In 04, it was almost even shotgun to under center. I haven't seen the breakdown of 05, but I imagine Texas tilted more to the shotgun. The Longhorns believed the shotgun was the best formation to showcase all their offensive talent. Young got better at reading defenses as the season wore on. But his passing always was accurate.

Did Young show the skills to make adjustments to defenses and work through his progressions?
Go back to the Ohio State game last September. UT started the game in an empty set, then would use some four wides to keep the Buckeyes linebackers on their toes. Ohio State eventually adjusted and Young made some turnovers. However, on the winning drive, he was perfect in reading a defense that will have a good number of draftees in April, including the top linebacker prospect.

Do you feel the Longhorns had the offensive weapons Matt Leinart enjoyed at USC?
A friend of mine who played in the NFL for a decade and who was a two-time All-American free safety in college, told me the Trojans likely had the best offense ever in NCAA history. So no, Young didn't have the same level of weapons Matt Leinart did. However, the Texas offense had fabulous talent, especially on the offensive line and at tight end.

Much has been made of Young's throwing motion and arm strength. Should either be of concern to the Titans?
Young uses the throwing motion needed to complete the pass. His arm strength is fine. I've seen him make too many great plays to ever doubt him.

Do you feel Young would have benefitted staying in college another season?
Yes. Young would have benefitted from staying an extra year. I'm one of those archaic types who think prospects should stay in school as long as possible. Young's passing has been consistent for one year. That's why NFL types have doubts. If he had stayed for another year, there would few, if any, doubts. I'm told he'd never be more marketable than he is now, which is why he came out.

There are natural connections between Young and Falcon's QB Michael Vick. In your opinion, are people justified in comparing the two? Can Young be better?
Young's bigger and stronger, and I bet, more flexible. He's never been injury prone. It's a natural comparison, saying one running quarterback is like another. But Young also has shown an uncanny knack for pulling out victories, whether it's converting a fourth-and-18, scrambling for 80 yards or throwing a 45-yard ling wheel route.  He's literally the best kind of dual threat quarterback.

The relationship between Young and Titans QB Steve McNair is well-known. In  your opinion, how would Young be impacted learning under McNair?
Young has known McNair since high school. The families are tight. It's akin to McNair tutoring his kid brother on the nuances of playing quarterback.

Do you think Young would do well with the Norm Chow-designed Titans offense which calls for shorter, quicker passes?
I think Norm Chow would have a good time with Young in the backfield.

What was your reaction when you heard the rumors of Young scoring a six on the Wonderlic test?
I still don't know the entire story on what happened, just a lot of conjecture. I was stunned that the score reportedly was so low.

Assuming his Wonderlic score is a 16, should the Titans be concerned that this is an indication that Young may not be able to handle the mental aspects of being a NFL quarterback?
Young made decent grades while attending three-plus years at Texas and according to the coaches, was on track to graduate next spring if he hadn't come out early, Stupid people can't do that. The Texas offensive playbook is as thick as the Houston phone book. He'll be able to handle the mental aspects of being an NFL quarterback.

Do you think Young should have done more at the Combine?
I think Young has an incredible set of skills and that he should have flaunted everything. It's his athleticism that separates him from Matt Leinart or Jay Cutler. Young should be doing everything the scouts want.

What perception of Young do you think will change after the Longhorn's Pro Day on March 22?
Scouts will get a better gauge of Young's arm strength. I still don't know if he'll do anything more than throw. Jerry Rhome, who tutored Steve McNair when McNair was a rookie, will decide how much Young does at pro day.

What do you feel are Young's strengths? Weaknesses?
Strengths = He has the type of running ability that makes the best defenders look like junior varsity benchwarmers.  He also makes everyone around him play better. His confidence is unmatched.
Weaknesses = He's been a complete quarterback for only one year.

Are there any indications that Young may need more than a year to be ready to start in the NFL?
Yes, he's said it himself. I don't think any rookie quarterback is ever ready to start.

Where do you predict he'll be taken in the draft?
I don't think anyone will know until the week leading up to the draft.

What do you see as far as the amount of success Young will have in the NFL?
He'll either be wonderful or a flop no in between.

What is something which might surprise Titans fans to know about Young that they might not have heard?
Young is very proud of his pump fake. During time outs in the Rose Bowl, he was so relaxed, that he'd sing and dance.

Visit the Austin American-Statesman at http://www.statesman.com.

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Titans 17
Seahawks 13
V. Young:
17/28, 171 yards,
1 INT, LG 29,
RT 63.2
C. Johnson:
36/134, 3.7 AVG, 2 TDs, LG 12
N. Washington:
6/83, 13.8 AVG,
LG 29

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Total Offense
Total: 351.4
Passing: 189.4
Rushing: 162.0
Scoring Avg.: 22.1
Total Defense 28th
Total: 365.6
Passing: 258.7
Rushing: 106.9
Scoring Avg.: 25.1

V. Young
Attempts: 259
Completions: 152
Yards: 1879
Touchdowns: 10
Interceptions: 7
Passer Rating: 82.8
C. Johnson
Carries: 358
Yards: 2006
Average: 5.6
Touchdowns: 14
K. Britt
Receptions: 42
Yards: 701
Average: 16.7
Touchdowns: 3

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