National champion Texas honored at White House

WASHINGTON -- The White House took on a distinctive burnt
orange tint Tuesday as President Bush honored the national champion
Texas Longhorns.

With the U.S. Marine Band playing "Texas Fight" and the "Eyes
of Texas" and attendees flashing the "Hook 'Em" sign, Texas
players filled the outdoor staircases leading to the first balcony
of the White House South Portico.
Bush, who wore an orange tie, was dwarfed at the podium by the
brawny and well-dressed players as he looked out at the South Lawn
with a Longhorns banner hanging behind him.
He declared Jan. 4, the day the Longhorns defeated No. 1
Southern California 41-38 in the Rose Bowl, "a day that a lot of
Texas fans will never forget."
Bush, at his Crawford ranch when the game was played, fell
asleep during the game but woke up in time to see quarterback Vince
Young scramble for an 8-yard touchdown with 19 seconds left that
won the game.
"I remember they started calling you Mr. February," Bush told
Texas coach Mack Brown, referring to the name given Brown for being
able to recruit great players in February but not win big games
during the season. "Well today, Mac, you are giving the title Mr.
February a whole new meaning.
"This February, you brought the national champs to the White
In return, Brown presented Bush with a white 2005 National
Champion football jersey with burnt orange lettering. The number
"1" was emblazoned on the jersey with "President Bush" above
the number.
Bush noted the celebration had brought a sizable crowd, which he
attributed to the many Texans living in Washington, including him.
First lady Laura Bush, who has a master's degree in library
science from the university, sat in the front row wearing a burnt
orange coat. Daughter Jenna, who attended UT, was not at the
celebration, but plenty of other Texas Exes were, including Sen.
Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican, and former U.S. Commerce
Secretary Donald Evans.
Bush singled out several players for their community work,
including fullback Ahmad Hall, a former Marine who served in
Afghanistan and Kosovo and has started a care package program for
overseas troops.
While praising Hall, Bush dispensed a little coaching advice to
Brown: "You need to get him the ball more," he said.
Quarterback Vince Young, who had 467 total yards and three
rushing touchdowns in the Rose Bowl, tried to keep a low profile
behind some of his larger teammates.
But when Bush singled him out, Brown admitted: "He didn't bring
his suit." Later Brown said a relative failed to get it to Young,
who has been traveling.
Bush was forgiving, and after Young emerged, the president
praised his work as a mentor. He also later noted that 28 of the 32
Longhorn seniors will have earned their degrees by the end of the
"One of those who hadn't quite earned it yet made a promise to
his mother, and Vince, I suggest you honor that promise to your
mother and get your degree by the end of this summer," Bush said.
Young decided to skip his final year of eligibility and is
expected to be one of the top picks in the NFL draft in April.
Bush lingered with the crowd and players after the event, saying
hello to old Texas friends, signing autographs and snapping photos.