No Doubt For Davis: Young A Better 'Pocket Passer'

For weeks, Longhorn fans and sports reporters have tossed around the idea that QB Vince Young might be more effective as a rollout passer rather than in the pocket. Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis met those notions head-on Tuesday.

"The interesting thing, and we’ve discussed this as a staff, there is probably a common belief that we don’t share that, with Vince, you need to get him on the run," Davis said. "He played much better in the pocket (at Colorado). For the most part, he’s played much better this season in the pocket. Because of his skills, it’s easy to say, ‘Oh my god, let’s get him on the run.’"

Continued Davis: "What happens is, when you get him on the run, things don’t happen rhythmically as often as they do in the pocket. Things are happening: you’re adjusting, you’re sliding, and you basically limit the field from a full-field to a half-field, so things are happening that you cannot see nor do you know exactly how they’re happening. We’ll continue to run him, obviously, because he’s a great athlete. And you always want to have that ability so the blitz can’t zero-in on the pocket. But he’s performing pretty well in the pocket."

The Texas passing game is ranked last in league standings, averaging 138.1 ypg (NCAA No. 110). Young is also rated last among Big 12 starting quarterbacks in per game passing average but is No. 6 in total offense with 191 ypg. He is 80-of-143 for 971 yards, including nine TDs and six INTs. He is the Big 12’s second leading rushing QB with 557 yards on 96 attempts (trailing Texas A&M’s Reggie McNeal by 10 ypg).

Young was just efficient enough against Texas Tech that the Red Raiders started dropping defenders off the LOS by the end of the second quarter. He, of course, followed that outing with two INTs and one fumble in the first quarter against Colorado.

"The thing that I told him on the phone was that the best thing that happened in terms of his growth after the second interception, he came right back and performed really well," Davis said. "I thought that was a sign of growth. I told him that there are times when the defense wins the play. Their call was better than my call, their execution of their defense was better, there are times when they win the play. And when they win the play, let’s get out of bounds, let’s throw it away, let’s reserve the right to kick."

Young attempted just three pass plays during the entire second half of Texas’ 31-7 win Saturday.

With three games left in the regular season, there’s not going to be appreciable development in any phase of the passing game. The tight ends will remain reliable targets (who disappear from the game plan only against OU), RS-freshman SE Limas Sweed will continue his gradual emergence, FL Tony Jeffery will drop a ball that hits him squarely between the numbers and then make amends with a clutch grab later in the game, true freshman SE Nate Jones will still get ever-so-close to having that breakout performance, Young will still release the ball as if he’s throwing a dart, and defenses will still put seven-to-nine in the box until the passing game becomes a reliable threat. More often than not, Young and RB Cedric Benson will run right through them.

With a league-leading rushing offense (304.8 ypg, NCAA No. 2) and a league-leading scoring defense (13.4 ppg, NCAA No. 8), that’ll win you 10 or 11 games this season. But it won’t win you 13 and it may not win you 12. It should, however, make for a double-digit win against No. 19 Oklahoma State and its suspect run defense (NCAA No. 68, 158.2 ypg) at DKR Saturday.

The Horns kick-off against the Cowboys, 6 p.m. in a TBS national telecast.

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