Fans and members of the sports media, including Inside Texas, have marveled at Young's explosiveness when he carries the ball but have questioned if -- after two seasons -- his passing skills have improved to the point where they at least complement his ground game.
Brown's response, in essence: Patience, grasshopper. Young is a work-in-progress and on schedule to become a Longhorn "great" by the time he departs the Forty Acres.
"Vincent will be a great quarterback before he leaves Texas," Brown said. "He's so talented and he made such great plays last year that I think we forget that he was a redshirt freshman. Vincent's got three years left to play."
(Check that: he's got three remaining years of eligibility, but will one that has 'future NFL draft pick' written all over him stick around for what would eventually be his fifth collegiate season? Young has made no public declaration of any intent to leave early. And if Brown has been consistently impressive in one area, it is the fact that no other D-I coach has had upperclassmen talent defer lucrative NFL careers at the level that he has.)
However, there is one area in the passing game where coaches are looking for marked improvement.
"The dropback passing game is the thing we need to work on the most because we've got new receivers," Brown said. "We lost three guys that are going to be in the NFL. When you lose a guy like Roy Williams, it changes your go-to guy."
Texas' go-to-guy, at least in the early going, will be senior Tony Jeffery.
"Tony Jeffery is the only guy with any experience," Brown said. "He's the older leader of that group, but he's also a guy that hasn't played as much in a key role as those other three guys (Roy, B.J. Johnson, Sloan Thomas)."
Jeffery was just the eighth-leading receiver in 2003, with fewer total yards (91 on eight grabs) then even a pair of running backs (Benson, Brett Robin) and tight ends (Bo Scaife, David Thomas). And don't be surprised if the tight ends each have more total receiving yards than any WR during pre-conference games. Brown trusts experience almost to a fault. His tight ends have it; Jeffrey doesn't. And if there is as much emphasis during the regular season on tight end as there was during spring drills, the ball will go to Thomas and Scaife early and often.
Yet those who have seen Jeffery can argue that the former Houston Klein QB may have been the most acrobatic WR in Burnt Orange during the past three seasons. Case-in-point: his gravity-defying 52-yard grab on the game-winning drive against Kansas State midway through the fourth quarter. Jeffery went airborne as if sprung from a catapult to pull down one of Young's tosses. Other than the fourth down quarterback sneak at the goal line, Jeffery turned in the most significant offensive play of the 24-20 comeback win over the eventual Big 12 champs.
"We're excited about where we are," Brown said, before adding, "We're not as good of a team as we've been this time of year right now, so we've got a lot of work to do and a tough schedule next year. It's going to be a fun team to watch. They've worked really hard."
This time last year, Brown said the freshmen defensive backs would need to contribute early. Now, he is expecting nothing less from the talented group of receivers that he inked last February.
"That was one area where we felt like we had an immediate need so we're going to have to look at those (receivers) as soon as they get here," Brown said.
Two-a-days kick off in three-and-a-half months in early August and the '04 opener against North Texas is set for Saturday, Sept. 4 in DKR.