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|04-06-2006, 10:36 AM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
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Praise heaped on Vince Young...
Trying to show a little balance here (Since I've been repeatedly accused of "hating Vince Young")
By Clark Judge
CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
Tell Clark your opinion!
Vince Young is no draft risk.
I didn't say it. Jerry Rhome did. And you better pay attention because not only was Rhome an accomplished quarterback and rock-solid NFL assistant, but he's now Vince Young's tutor.
He has been the past two months, flying from his Atlanta home to Houston to work with Young on his passing, his footwork, his drops from center, his decision-making, you name it. When I caught up with Rhome he was packing Monday for another trip -- this time to work with Young in preparation for a workout Friday with the Houston Texans.
Everyone knows VY can run, but questions remain about whether he can throw. (Getty Images) The Texans aren't expected to draft him; they seem zeroed in on Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush instead. But that's not the point. There are many, many others willing to spend millions on Vince Young, and Rhome is here to tell them they should be.
In fact, he's here to tell them more. Much more.
"I'd be excited if I were the club that had a chance to draft him," said Rhome, the 1964 Heisman runner-up, "because of all the upside he has. He hasn't even scratched the surface. I just think you have a guy where it's all in front of him."
Rhome isn't alone in his opinion. Two weeks ago Young held a workout attended by more than 100 NFL scouts, coaches and executives. Among them was Houston owner Bob McNair, who introduced himself to the quarterback prior to the 30-minute session.
All were there to see what Young had to offer. They'd seen videotapes of his astonishing Rose Bowl performances, but Young didn't throw at the February scouting combine, and there were all these questions ... OK, all these doubts ... about the guy.
Could he take a snap from center? How comfortable was he out of the shotgun? How quickly could he make decisions? And what was up with that awkward throwing motion?
Then Young went through the drills. He threw from three-step drops. And five. And seven. He threw short passes. He threw deep passes. He threw to the sidelines. He threw across the middle.
In all, he threw 57 passes and completed all but a handful.
"It was a great workout," said Rhome. "I said a little prayer before it all happened, and I was proud of him. He had fun with it. You could see it. The guy rises to the occasion when the pressure is on him. He put on a show."
The workout was a microcosm of Young's illustrious collegiate career. Rewind the tape to the 2005 Rose Bowl, and you find Young producing 372 yards and five touchdowns in a come-from-behind 38-37 win. Then fast-forward to this year's national championship game, and there is Young again -- this time running for 200 yards, throwing for another 267 and scoring three times in a 41-38 come-from-behind victory.
"That," USC Coach Pete Carroll said afterward, "is an extraordinary football player."
Nobody questions Vince Young's athletic abilities. What they do question is how those abilities translate to the pro game. Some people continue to wonder if can operate over center. Others aren't comfortable with his delivery. Still others point to his Wonderlic score at the February combine as a warning that he might struggle with the information overload about to engulf him.
Relax, people, and tune in again to Jerry Rhome.
"When I first started," he said, "I was like just about everyone else: I wanted to see what he was all about. Most of the negativity was about his throwing motion, but that actually is a positive. He gets rid of the ball quicker than anyone I've seen. It's not as if he throws side-armed; it's that he just doesn't take the ball back -- and, as a result, he gets rid of it quickly. It's like a three-quarter whip motion, and it reminds me a little of Kurt Warner. He takes the ball back, then -- boom! -- it's gone."
Well, then, what about that Wonderlic whiff?
"A mistake was made," said Rhome, "so he retook it, and the score he finished with wasn't bad. Listen, he's not getting ready to be an English teacher or a math expert. He's learning individual throws, protections, audibles, when to throw and when to take the sack because that's his business. If the question is: Is he brilliant enough? There's no doubt in my mind that he is."
OK, let's move on. There's Young's history with a shotgun-offense. Alex Smith played in one at the University of Utah, and it didn't stop San Francisco from making him the first pick of the 2005 draft. But look what happened: In his rookie year, Smith threw one touchdown, 11 interceptions and fumbled 11 times.
Who's to say Vince Young is different? Let me introduce you again to Jerry Rhome.
"He can do anything you ask him," he said, "and he proves it over and over. All he needs to do is get in a system and have someone coaching him. He did what he was asked to do at the University of Texas, and he did it very well. The criticism really isn't fair because all he was coached to know was that offense. I'm very, very impressed with how quickly he adapts."
As an example, he cited Young's work on three-, five- and seven-step drops. When Rhome first demonstrated for his understudy, showing him how to retreat seven paces before steadying himself to throw, Young shook his head in disbelief.
"Man," he said, "that seems like a long way back there."
And it was. Especially after Young tried it. Where Rhome wanted him to set up eight-to-eight-and-half yards behind center, Young was taking it to 10 -- largely because he has such an enormous stride.
No problem. The two made corrections, and Young began to get his steps down. He shortened his stride. His confidence grew. Setting his feet wasn't an issue. Neither was delivering the football, and don't take it from me. Ask the people who attended his workout.
"If anyone is going to make a mistake on him," said Rhome, "it's because they're looking at him on film. He's not the most polished guy on film. But look at him now: He's such a quick learner. He did what he was asked to do.
"All I know is he's proved it. I'm not a magician. You can take him and coach him, and he responds. Would I have any reservations about drafting him? Absolutely not."
|04-06-2006, 03:09 PM||#2|
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dale City, Virginia.
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Re: Praise heaped on Vince Young...
Vince Young a perfect fit for the Raiders with their first round pick.
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