Texas quarterback Vincent Young stood and watched from the sideline.
While the 6-foot-6, 237-pound Jones earned USAToday.com National Player of the Week honors and showed every bit of his potential as a dual threat, Young was relegated to cheerleader behind then-junior Chance Mock. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Young might've possessed the same characteristics and play-making ability as Jones, but didn't play a down against the Hogs as a redshirt freshman.
"It was hard, but things happen," Young said. "Coaches make their decisions and you've just got to go with it. It hurt. But you just have to move on."
A year later, the athletic Young will get a chance to square off against his equally talented counterpart Saturday night at 7:45 when Arkansas and No. 7 Texas meet in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The quarterbacks stand as focal points for similar offenses and have drawn plenty of comparisons early this week.
"If you blitz guys like Vince and Matt, you better grab them," said Texas coach Mack Brown. "If you're in man coverage they can hurt you when they move. And if you've got that many (defensive players) that have to worry about the run, there's some guys that are going to be open in the passing game.
"We feel like an athletic quarterback that can throw can really deal you misery and that's what Matt did to us last year."
Jones has caused plenty of headaches throughout his career because of his ability to sprint past defensive backs or roll out and find open receivers. Brown knew Jones was a play-maker, but the Longhorns didn't fully understand the Ft. Smith native's talents until he was running through Texas last September.
And Jones began his senior season in dominant fashion last Saturday, completing 13 of 16 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown in Arkansas' 63-13 win against New Mexico State. He also led the Hogs in rushing with 38 yards and a touchdown on eight attempts despite playing just one series in the second half.
"You may think you can hit him, but he has deceptive speed," said Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson. "He can burn a (defensive back). He's the type of quarterback that you always have to be on top of your game because he can break out at any time."
Said Brown: "Matt was so fast and so strong and powerful we couldn't get him down (last season)."
But the Longhorns are equipped with a similar athlete in Young, who completed 14 of 21 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown in Texas' season-opening, 65-0 win against North Texas. Like Jones, Young added 49 rushing yards on his fleet feet and continues to earn his teammates' confidence.
Young played in every game except the Arkansas loss last season and replaced Mock in the starting lineup against Iowa State. He guided the Longhorns to a 6-1 record in seven starts, threw for 1,155 yards, ran for 998 more and combined for 18 total touchdowns (11 rushing, 7 passing).
He was the first player in Texas history to run and pass for more than 900 yards in the same season. Young fell two yards short of becoming just the third freshman in NCAA history to record 1,000 rushing and passing yards.
"I think (Young's) a lot like Matt," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "He runs around with great speed and boy he can throw. We remember him in high school. We recruited him. He's one of the best we've seen when he came out of high school so he's very good."
Brown didn't play Young in the Arkansas game because of his youth, opting to lean on the more experienced quarterback in a big game. It became even more difficult for Brown to insert Young as the day went on because he said the Longhorns were "in trouble the whole game."
The decision was questioned after the Longhorns lost. Even a few Arkansas players wondered why Young didn't play after preparing for him most of the week.
"I kind of was surprised," said Arkansas defensive end Jeb Huckeba. "I'm not sure who the better quarterback is overall, but I was surprised they didn't put him in at least for a little bit just to kind of see how he'd do."
They'll see plenty of Young on Saturday because he is Texas' unquestioned starter.
Brown said Texas typically works its starting defense against the first-team offense on a regular basis and it'll come in handy as it prepares for Jones. The Hogs rarely practice starters against each other, but Nutt said there will be more one-on-one work this week in anticipation of Young.
Huckeba said they'll still have their hands full with Texas' "unbelievable weapon."
"(Young and Jones are) very similar in the way they play," Huckeba said. "They can break it on you quick for a long run or they can complete several passes on you. We'll go against Matt more and that'll help us get a feel for the way Vincent plays. But I don't know if you can prepare for the way he plays, spontaneous and running and doing his own things.
"If we sat here all day and chased around Matt, that may not make a difference."
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