It's Decision Time For Vince Young

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Texas QB Vince Young had become such a deft decision-maker that, during the 2005 national championship run, he would go through multiple progressions even before the snap count by reading the defense. Now, the two-time Rose Bowl MVP plans to think long and hard about a life-choice that, for him, is anything but a snap. In short, should he now declare for the NFL?

The last time we saw stock rise this fast was when Google went public. Following his record-setting performance in Pasadena, NFL pundits are reconfiguring their Draft day analysis. Two weeks ago, they said Young was a work-in-progress. Following Texas' 41-38 national championship win over top-ranked USC, Young is now prominently mentioned as a top pick by his hometown Houston Texans, no less.

Less than 10 hours removed from the national championship bout, Young reaffirmed his intent Thursday to confer with family members as well as Texas coaches about whether to announce for the Draft within the next 10 days. He also reiterated the high level of trust he has in Brown in helping him reach an informed decision.

"Coach Brown and I are best friends," Young told the media before speaking directly to Brown, "We can go fishing if you want to, baby."

Brown was asked earlier this week what he would do if Young left after winning the national championship.

"I'd kiss him," Brown said.

It's another way of asking what more could the junior possibly do after handing Texas its fourth national title, but just its first in 35 years. Well, plenty, actually.

While not publicly lobbying for an encore performance, Brown had this to say about the upside of Young's return for one last roundup: "He'll be the frontrunner for the Heisman if he comes back. We'll have a great chance to go the Fiesta Bowl (national championship game) next year if he comes back. We'll be sitting there with him breaking all kinds of records. He's 30-2 right now. The other side of that is he could be the first or second pick in the Draft and make millions of dollars the next day. A lot of his decision will be based on what's best for everybody because he's really a caring person. That's why he'll want to get information. He's not going to make a foolish statement today to make everybody shut up."

Brown has an unprecedented track record during his eight-year Texas tenure: not one of his standouts from a powerhouse program has left early for the Draft. Not one. Brown believes Vince will return, but is determined to support him if he does not.

"We have a number of juniors that the NFL would love to have," Brown said. "One of the great things that has happened with the Draft is that guys can get insurance if they decide to come back. The second thing is that you have until January 15 to make the decision. Our job is to help the families understand as much as they can about the options that are available. Vince and his family, like the other juniors will make the decision that is best for them. We would be ready for that decision, whatever it is."

Brown emphasized, time and again, that his intent is not to try to 'get' a high-profile junior to return for his senior season.

"The worst thing that could possibly happen is for a coach to try to convince a young guy to try to come back when it wasn't best for him," Brown said. "Vince is very bright, he's got a wonderful family and he's got a great support system. He's done as much for The University of Texas as any student-athlete in any sport that's ever come. It would be ungracious of us to force him into making a selfish decision. If he comes back and is unhappy, that's the worst thing you could possibly have. What we want is what's best for Vince, and that will be what's best for The University. "

By now, Young has picked the brains of former Longhorns in the NFL as well as USC QB Matt Leinart to help forge his choice. There can be little doubt regarding the sentiment of the Longhorn faithful at the Rose Bowl. Less than 30 minutes following the final whistle, the Burnt Orange section of the end zone chanted in unison, 'One more year! One more year!' Young clearly takes to heart the sentiment of Horn fans, particularly those in Austin and Houston. Yet, one gets the sense that it's Brown's direction that he prizes most.

"There's a lot of trust that y'all don't understand that's behind the scenes that Coach Brown, Coach (Greg) Davis and I deal with," Young said.

This much is certain: that which remains "behind the scenes" will become evident in less than ten days. Regardless of the outcome, Vince Young has forever left his mark on Texas football.

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