Will It Be Vince Or Chance in the Cotton Bowl?

The question subscribers asked me most during the preseason was when I thought backup QB <B>Vince Young </B>would earn his first start. I always said it would be the Saturday after the Oklahoma game. There&#146;s just been something about the Sooners that has forced head coach <B>Mack Brown </B>to suddenly trust his raw talent the following weekend.

"Vince played better in a ballgame against a really good (Kansas State) defense than we knew he was ready to do," Brown said Monday. "We didn’t play him against Arkansas because we didn’t think he was ready to do that yet. He raised his level of play on Saturday and we’re really excited about that."

But what will Saturday’s annual Hate Fest against the Sooners bring for Young and starting QB Chance Mock (No. 5 this week in NCAA passing efficiency)? And how tender is the redshirt-freshman’s ankle?

Although recent legislation regarding student privacy limits coaches comments on the playing status of injured athletes, Brown said, "Both (QBs) will play" against Oklahoma.

"Chance is a real good player," Brown said. "He’s thrown 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s done really, really well so we’re going to continue with both."

Brown met Sunday with both quarterbacks, who told him, in essence, "You figure out you want to do it. We just want to win. It’s not a problem for us."

For Brown, that means scripting the substitution patterns and, presumably, naming a starter.

"We’ve just got to figure out the balance," Brown said, "but Vince hasn’t had Chance’s experience. He doesn’t have the whole package in hand right now, and Chance does. But he did make progress Saturday. We did more of the same stuff with both of them Saturday than we have in the other four games."

Despite Young’s limited experience, his performance Saturday (to be frank) probably surprised the coaches more than it should have.

"He surprised me Saturday, to be honest," Brown said. "He threw the ball with so much poise and composure under pressure. He’s been a work-in-progress and every time he steps out there, he seems to make more progress. We’re really, really pleased with how he handled the day, and he didn’t seem to be any different on the last drive than he was on the first drive."

That last drive, covering 88-yards in the waning minutes to cap the comeback win, not only sealed the deal for No. 11 Texas but also reignited questions about which quarterback will lead most of the charge against the Sooners.

"At North Carolina, nobody had opinions about quarterbacks," Brown said. "It wasn’t an issue."

But at The University-of-By-God-Texas, the questions (and preferences) are so boisterous that Mock commented Monday that he knew the DKR crowd clearly favored the understudy. To his credit, Mock has handled the situation with maturity beyond his years. Still, Brown does not want the junior to pay any heed to public opinion polls.

"Chance needs to quit listening," Brown said. "I make that decision; they don’t."

Added Brown, "It’s my job and I’m going to make the decision like I did Saturday, and I’m not going to worry what everybody else thinks. I don’t have enough time to worry what everybody else thinks."

Orangebloods seems to have a natural penchant for their second-team quarterback resulting in many a bruised psyche among UT signalcallers over the years.

"I worry about everybody’s psyche," Brown said. "That’s why I don’t sleep very much. I’ve got 85 psyches that I worry about. Chance is tough. He’s been around here a long time through all the Major-and-Chris thing. He’s tough. He’ll do fine."

SE Roy Williams was asked if there is an appreciable difference when Young is under center.

"With Vince in, I pretty much run my route and then he’s going to take off and run," Williams said. "So I block my dude."

Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

"That’s just the way he makes his big plays, with the defense dropping back in zone and he just picks his spots," Williams added.

Bottom line: Texas has not one but two quarterbacks who give the team a better chance at upending Oklahoma than you-know-who did the past couple of years.

"I don’t think it’s a huge issue," Brown said. "They (Sooners) are going to prepare for both of them either way."

Prepare for both of them? Sure. But able to stop both of them? He, he, he.


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