VY, Mizzou QB Former Roommates But Now Opponents

Less than three months ago, Texas QB Vince Young met with Missouri QB Brad Smith to go over their respective playbooks. <I>What's this? </I>Orangebloods need not worry. The signalcallers, considered by many as the two top running QBs in D-I football, were roommates at Steve McNair's annual football camp held last July in Mississippi.

Just off his hernia surgery, Young was a counselor-coach for the four-day event. It just so happened that he and Saturday's opposing QB shared a room during that stint.

No, no, no, Young insists. There was no divulging of either program's game plan -- as if either was a secret. The MU offense is predicated on Smith making plays while on the run. And run he does. The junior enters the Texas game with 2,735 rushing yards, just 464 yards shy of the program's career rushing mark (Jeff Handy, 1991-94). The rub on Smith is that he's a freakishly gifted runner, excels at the zone read but that he, ahem, can't throw.

Both QBs are still trying to put crushing losses behind them. While the 12-0 downer against OU is still fresh on VY's mind, the Tigers are still looking for a quality road win after falling to Troy (a program that has played D-I football for less than four years) on September 9. Smith was 25-of-46 for 224 yards in that one, including one TD and two INT. Since then, Smith has six scoring tosses and no picks. The MU passing game is averaging 215 ypg (NCAA No. 50).

"Brad has obviously played a lot more (than Young)," head coach Mack Brown said. "This is his third year. He's started every game so he's stayed healthy. The difference I see from where he has started and where he is now is he's so much better as a passer. He can drop back, he can sprint out, he can do the bootlegs. He can sprint and hurt you very easily. I've seen people hit him, time and time again, so he's really tough. He's grown into a great quarterback."

Young believes comparisons to Smith are not limited to the field.

"We're both humble guys and we're leaders," he said. "Everybody on each other's team looks up to us. We play hurt. Everything just falls into place if both of us do it. It's gonna show out on the field this weekend."

For now, scout team QB Eric Foreman is responsible for providing his best impersonation of Smith to prepare the Texas D for the real deal Saturday.

"He's out there doing a great job getting the guys prepared," Young said. "He's running the ball well and throwing the ball well. He's going through everything: play fakes and getting those guys ready."

Young, meanwhile, is taking extra steps this week to get inside WLB Derrick Johnson's head concerning his former summer roommate.

"I've got D.J. in the locker room, still sitting right beside me, and I mess with him every day. I tell him there's a guy out there similar to me, so what are you gonna do? I say little things like that to get those guys pumped up and ready to play."

Johnson's response.

"He just laughed."

Texas and Missouri are slated for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff at DKR. ABC will televise the game regionally.


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