Huff brings attitude, heart to Oakland

Michael Huff is fitting as an Oakland Raider. He is aggressive, is not afraid to lay a lick or two on an opponent and has the speed that Al Davis craves.

But it isn't just the speed with former University of Texas defensive back Michael Huff. He combined great numbers with even better production.

Although it was Vince Young who emerged as a hero in the Rose Bowl in leading the Longhorns to the national title over USC, he couldn't have done it without Huff. It was Huff who stopped 250-pound Trojans running back LenDale White on fourth down to set Young up for the game-clinching touchdown.

Running his forty-yard dash in 4.34 seconds was just icing on the cake for the 6-foot, 205-pound defender.

"Blitz, cover, whatever the defense needs is what I am going to do," Huff explained of what he expected to be doing for the Raiders. "I can play anywhere, depending on the scheme and what the defense needs."

What he is referring to is his ability to play multiple positions. He could be back at safety, patrolling the backlines and aiding in run defense, or they may seek to place him at cornerback, covering the tight ends in nickel or getting the tough assignment whenever he is called upon.

Huff is no stranger to work. He skipped the Longhorns' congratulatory White House trip to begin training in Arizona for the draft. That didn't surprise his father who was informed by his son at age 8 that he wanted to play in the NFL.

And he plans on calling the film room home when training camp practices end.

"Being a safety, you need to know what everyone is doing on the field," said Huff. "I pride myself on watching film and knowing more about than the opposition than they know about me."

And pride has been an element missing from the defense over the last few years.

As a senior last season, he recorded 109 tackles, 10 for losses, two sacks, 14 pass deflections and one interception. The former track star also holds the Texas school record with five defensive touchdowns, four on interception returns.

With Oakland dismal last season and netting just five interceptions, the selection of Huff was a no-brainer.

"We are excited about Michel Huff," head coach Art Shell offered.

And they should be. Huff plans on wearing number 24 last season and hopes to carry on the tradition of Charles Woodson – the early years. He has the confidence down and in 2006 he will get to show it on the field in many roles.

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