It Takes Three, Baby

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- So, how did USC find a scout team player capable of simulating Vince Young's size, speed and fluidity. The Trojans didn't. Instead, they found three. Apparently, it takes three humans to collectively complete the package that is Texas' extraterrestrial quarterback as the Trojans prepare for a third straight national title.

TE Fred Davis, QB Mark Sanchez and TB Mike Coleman are making cameo appearances this week, alternating on down-and-distance situations, to prepare their defense for the nation's most efficient passer who also runs the zone read like he invented it.

"We've never done that before," said USC coach Pete Carroll.

Various Trojans evaluated the effectiveness of the scout team's ability to approximate Young in practice.

Said SS Darnell Bing; "I think Fred Davis has given us a good look because he's big, fast and strong. We have Mike Coleman out there doing the same. He's big, as well, has speed and he likes to run people over."

Said DE Frostee Rucker: "I don't think anyone in the country can play like Vince does, and that's why he was up for the Heisman. We've been trying to simulate Vince the best we can, but Mike gives us the best look running around the corner as fast as he can and running some guys over. That's what we're going to have to deal with. Vince is a big, strong guy. I sized him up the other day at Disneyland, and he was looking eye to eye with me. He looked like he weighed as much as I do, too." (For the record, VY is listed at 6-5, 225 while Rucker stands 6-3, 260.)

Said MLB Oscar Lua: "Fred Davis gives us more of a size aspect (6-4, 225) to simulate Vince and Michael gives us more of the running ability that Vince has, trying to break tackles and running around really fast. We're getting a great look having those two guys back there servicing our defense. I think we're more than ready to see Vince Young."

Sanchez has done the majority of the throwing in practice, Carroll said, but the most difficult part of his team's preparation is scheming for an ad-libbing quarterback who makes plays with his feet.

"The really mobile quarterbacks are the most difficult to defend," said Carroll. "It's hard enough to defend the design play, let alone the ones that happen after the fact."

The three-pronged approach has it limits, Carroll added, simply because of the inherent difficulty of simulating a dual-threat All-American QB.

"It hasn't helped us very much in the play-action game because the defense can tell (which scout team QB) is in the game during practice," Carroll said, "but, quite frankly, it took three guys to do this. That just shows you about the kid we're up against. We'll have to adjust at game time. There's only going to be one guy back there doing all that stuff."

Meanwhile, Texas' simulation game involves Jamaal Charles subbing as Reggie Bush and Henry Melton filling in for LenDale White.

"They're two explosive running backs," said SS Michael Huff. "Reggie Bush is his own guy and he has different moves. He's probably going to try to hurdle and jump over you. I think they did a great job but they can't do as good a job as Bush."

The Horns practiced Sunday morning at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. The final workout in preparation for Wednesday's Rose Bowl is set for Monday morning.

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