Too much speculation has me tired and feeling like we've gotten away from what we like to do here at Burnt Orange Nation, so as we've iterated before, we'll just be reporting news as it comes out and limit the speculation as much as possible.
In that spirit, it's time for a look inside Mack Brown's latest press conference, with quotes and commentary on the highlights.
A well-deserved standing ovation indeed. One of the downsides of being in The Game Of The Millennium (until the next big game) is all the off-field crap that gets swirled around. I'm not going to complain too much; it's part of the small price you pay for huge success. Still, with all the "Heisman pouting," "Gangsta," and "victory guarantee" stories that have dominated the "news," it's time we just recognize Vince for the remarkable season he had.
Playing quarterback at the University of Texas is a bit like being President. Your every little move is scrutinized inside and out. Every word you say, every pass you throw, and every mistake you make is analyzed and re-analyzed over and over and over. It's not unique to Texas--SEC schools love their football just as much--but his success should be appreciated in that context. (To give credit to the USC players, their successes are equally impressive, as everything they do is scrutinized under the pressure of being the defending champs and #1 team in the country.)
Vince's final season stats: He led the nation in passing efficiency (168.56 QB rating), completing 182 of his 285 pass attempts (63.9%) for 2,769 yards, with 26 TDs against only 10 INTs. On top of the gaudy passing numbers, he rushed 136 times for 850 yards, including another 9 TDs.
Wow. I think I'll stand up and clap, too. Thanks for a one-of-a-kind season, Vince.
For those that want to characterize Vince as some kind of selfish brat. It's simply not true. Is he competitive? Absolutely. Should he have been more gracious to Reggie Bush when the trophy was awarded? Fine, if you need to see that. But let's not confuse competitiveness for a lack of character.
This seems pretty standard and reasonable, but you have to bear in mind how attractive UT assistant coaches have been for other jobs over the course of Mack's tenure. This is something I'm happy to hear. We don't need any more distractions than those that already come with being in a game of this magnitude. (The Griffin/Taylor story is enough all on its own.)
We just learned that Reggie Bush will be turning pro after this year, and questions will be swirling about Vince's future, too. I have mixed feelings on this. If Vince is going to stay, and he's sure of it, I'd rather him come out tomorrow and say, "I'm coming back. Period. End of story. Move on to something else." If he's ambivalent, then I can understand Mack's wishes. You can count on one hand the number of players that haven't stayed four years for Mack Brown, so my guess is Vince returns, but anything is possible.
Yep. We've been warning our readers for weeks now: Don't underestimate the USC defense. Pete Carroll is a defensive specialist. It just gets overlooked because their offense is so strong. I also think that it's reasonable to expect their defense to play better in this game than in the regular season. They're going to have a full month to get healthy and game plan. They'll be ready; no question about it. Vince Young and the Texas offense won't get any freebies.
Amen, Mack. It's been tremendously difficult, but we've managed to root for USC all year here at Burnt Orange Nation. (Most of us, anyway.) If we're going to win the title, we want to beat the best, and USC is clearly the best. If we're going to lose, we want to lose to the best. We've proven, without a doubt, that we deserve our spot in this game. We'll find out if anyone can actually beat USC, but at least we get to play them. It's good for the team, the fans, and the sport. This is a dream come true, and we're going to enjoy it.