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Those are out of date rumors.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