Selvin Young To Start At RB

CARSON, Calif. -- Selvin Young will get the starting nod at RB against USC in the BCS National Championship game, freshman Jamaal Charles said Monday following Texas' final practice of the 2005 season.

It will be Young's first start since the Oklahoma State game on October 29 and fifth of the season. Ramonce Taylor started the last four games of 2005, notching 344 yards on 58 carries (5.9 ypc) after both Young and Charles battled nagging ankle injuries. However, Charles reports that he is now fully recovered from the injury suffered against Oklahoma ("I'm ready to go") and that he has been drilling as Young's No. 2 backup during bowl preparation.

Charles' statement, if it holds true, confirms what Inside Texas reported last week: Mack Brown would love to start Selvin at RB. The oft-injured junior has four years in the system and, presumably, a more complete grasp of the offense despite his on-again, off-again status. It's been well documented that Brown places a premium on upperclassmen in his starting lineup, although Charles was clearly pivotal in a couple of scoring drives at Ohio State in just his second collegiate game. Once the Buckeyes adjusted to the zone read, the Horns were able to move the chains at key moments when Charles collected 36 yards through the air on six catches.

"The Ohio State experience was my first big game," Charles told Inside Texas, "so I tried not to be cocky and just try to play a small role and maybe try to step up. But I was still kind of scared because I had never been in an environment like that before. But my teammates were all around me, and they really made me happy, because they were like, 'It's your time to step up' when Selvin went down. 'It's your time to show everybody what you've got. You're on national t.v.'"

Brown has emphasized the concept that there are no starters, per se, on a team that is two deep at nearly every position. This has especially been the case at RB, where four ball carriers have been credited with starting assignments this year. Selvin Young is Texas' fifth-leading rusher, with 416 yards on 89 attempts. QB Vince Young and Charles are neck-and-neck as the team's rushing leader: VY has 850 yards on 136 runs while Charles has netted 844 yards on 114 rushes. The Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year is averaging 7.4 ypc.

"It's not really about me," Charles said. "It's about our team."

The speedy Charles has been simulating Reggie Bush during post-season workouts, even wearing No. 5 in practice.

"Nobody can play like Reggie so I'm really just trying to play like me," Charles said. "Coaches told me I have the moves, just go out there and be you but try to be like him, too. I did good. I outran the defense."

Rather than perceiving himself as a scout-teamer, Charles took it as a compliment that he was called on to serve as a proxy for the Heisman winner. It also whets his appetite for the coveted hardware.

"I want to be in the Heisman race one of these years," he said.

Texas will journey approximately 30 miles north on the San Diego Freeway Wednesday morning as they move from the practice facility in Orange County for a walk-through at the Rose Bowl.

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