|Wednesday, September 7
Updated: September 14, 4:42 PM ET
Young's two-step gives Texas much-needed swagger
By Kirk Herbstreit
Special to ESPN.com
The Texas Longhorns and head coach Mack Brown often have been ridiculed for tightening up in big games, but last Saturday quarterback Vince Young proved that this is a different Texas team. Young is the difference-maker for Texas in terms of the mind-set of the team. He's the X-factor because he takes the pressure off Brown and puts it on his shoulders. Young has that charismatic way of dealing with pressure and the people around him believe he will make a play. And more often than not, he does. Last Saturday, Young faced a lot of adversity on the road and came up with the drive and plays to get Texas a victory. This is a very special Texas team for what it overcame in Columbus.
That's the easy thing to say after a road win like that and I completely disagree. The reason, again, is Vince Young. In the past, that would have been a fair assessment, but I don't think Young will let that affect Texas this year.
He will eliminate the mentality of playing not to lose. The mind-set and mental hurdle that Brown has struggled with in the Red River Shootout against Oklahoma will be a non-factor all because of No. 10. Young has a swagger and mentality in which he doesn't let the hype and pressure affect him or his team.
That said, I'm not ready to give the Heisman Trophy to Young. It would not be fair to compare any active quarterback to USC's Matt Leinart in any way. He has experienced things that very few quarterbacks have at any level. I will forever put Leinart with the elite players in the history of college football.
Leinart has the two things that all NFL head coaches and general managers look for: accuracy and decision-making. When you thrown in the poise, arm strength and experience Leinart possesses, you are talking about a guy at a whole different level.
If you ask Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel, the two decisions he probably would like to have back would be the amount of touches Ted Ginn Jr. had and the way he used quarterback Troy Smith in the second half.
Ginn had a couple of drops and his head wasn't quite where it needed to be. The first two games, Ginn has not looked like, well, Ginn. Against Miami (Ohio) he tried to make every play a touchdown, make every touch a huge play. He hasn't let the game come to him which is a huge mistake. Against Texas, Ginn looked like he got so caught up in the magnitude of the game and maybe the coaches saw that.
Can BC run with ACC?
Boston College traditionally has been a fundamentally sound team; if you make a mistake, the Eagles will capitalize on it. But we are going to find out Saturday against Florida State whether the Eagles have the speed to compete in the ACC.
Early Season Surprises
Oklahoma's inability to throw the football has been glaring in its first two games (18-44, 170 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT). The more the quarterback position continues to struggle, the more pressure there will be on running back Adrian Peterson to produce yards. It's one thing to do it against Tulsa, but when Oklahoma starts conference play, the Sooners aren't going to be able to win games by lining up and just running the ball.
Notre Dame might be a surprise to many but not to me. I liked this team even before the year started. Notre Dame has been an example of what a new head coach can do when he has the chance to put in his own system and teaches his team about what it takes to be a winner. The Irish have validated that with some big wins and head coach Charlie Weis has them playing with a lot of confidence. When you win a couple of big games, all of a sudden what Weis has been preaching no longer sounds like just talk. There's proof behind it (2-0 and ranked No. 10) and that is what we are seeing right now out of Notre Dame.
Beware of the Bears
Kirk Herbstreit is an analyst for ESPN "College GameDay" and a regular contributor to ESPN.com during the college football season.