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Youth served: Young to start Sunday for Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Rookie quarterback Vince Young will make
his first NFL start for the Tennessee Titans on Sunday against the
Dallas Cowboys.

The first quarterback taken in this year's draft at No. 3
overall, Young had spot duty in the Titans' first two games. But
the winless Titans are 0-3 and hoping the quarterback who led Texas
to the national title in January can provide a spark to their
offense.

The Titans said they chose Young over Matt Leinart or local
favorite Jay Cutler in the draft because of his potential. Coach
Jeff Fisher promised he wouldn't start Young until the rookie was
ready, and Fisher said Monday that veteran Kerry Collins would
start against Dallas (1-1).

But Collins, who was not signed until Aug. 29, has struggled to
pick up the offense. Collins has been intercepted six times with
only one touchdown and a passer rating of 42.3 -- less than Young's
58.8 rating in spot duty.

Young left Texas after his junior season and a brilliant
performance in the Rose Bowl against Southern California. The
6-foot-5 Young made attending all of training camp a priority, and
he agreed to terms on a contract the day the Titans reported for
camp in July.

The quarterback who went 30-2 at Texas doesn't believe starting
a rookie quarterback is a sign a team is giving up on a season. He
often has cited Ben Roethlisberger, who set a record by winning his
first 12 starts as a rookie, as an example he'd like to follow.

"If you think like that, it will be like that," Young said.
"But if you have confidence that this rookie guy is going to come
in and make plays like Matt Leinart or Jay Cutler or any of those
guys, if you believe in those guys, you can win ball games."

Young is 10-of-23 for 133 yards with a touchdown and an
interception. He played one series in the Titans' opener, and he
played one series in the first half and the entire fourth quarter
in a 40-7 loss at San Diego.

The Titans did as much as possible since the Miami loss to prep
Young for his debut. Offensive coordinator Norm Chow said Young has
made tremendous strides because he is very determined to be a great
player.

"He studies, he works and he's disciplined. He has great
leadership skills. He's determined, and because of that, the work
ethic comes along with it. If you're willing to work at it like he
is, you continue to get better," Chow said.

The Titans almost forced themselves into this decision with the
way they have handled the quarterback position this year.

They traded Steve McNair, Young's close friend and mentor, in
June after not allowing the former co-MVP to work out on their
property. They made Billy Volek the starter at that time, then
brought in Collins after their third exhibition, and Volek demanded
to be traded that same day.

Tennessee finally traded Volek to San Diego on Sept. 19. Collins
played better last week in a 13-10 loss at Miami, but Young's
athleticism, confidence and knowledge of the offense already has
his teammates looking forward to what he can do.

"He settled down really quickly," receiver Drew Bennett said.
"He's picked up the offense really well, and I think everybody
thinks he's on the brink of being a really great player."