Vince Young was a fan favorite when he was on the field for the Texas Longhorns. Nine years after leaving school early for the NFL, he wishes he had enjoyed that status one more time.
Young told Alex Loeb of 104.9 The Horn on Wednesday that if he had known the Houston Texans, who had the number one pick in the NFL Draft in 2006, would pass on the Longhorn quarterback, he would have returned for his senior season.
This revelation probably got quite a few Texas fans thinking “what if”. What if Vince Young was under center for the 2006 season?
The 2006 team finished 10-3, 6-2 in Big 12 play. Texas lost the second game of the season to the Ohio State Buckeyes before running off eight straight wins, including victories over conference powers Oklahoma Sooners and Nebraska Cornhuskers. Texas went into a night game in Manhattan, KS versus the Kansas State Wildcats as the nation’s No. 4 team. On a cold, blustery night the Longhorns dropped a heart breaker to the Wildcats. Texas then laid an egg at home against hated rival Texas A&M Aggies.
Looking back, this roster was loaded with NFL talent. Would Young have made a difference in those three losses? Let’s explore the possibilities.
The quarterback that season was redshirt freshman Colt McCoy. McCoy would eventually become one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever wear the burnt orange. But in 2006, he was learning on the job. McCoy had talent around him, however. Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles were in the backfield. Wide receivers Limas Sweed, Quan Crosby and Billy Pittman had very good careers at Texas. The offensive line had returning players like Kasey Studdard, Justin Blalock and Lyle Sendlein. It is probably an understatement to say the offense would have been much better with Young at the helm than McCoy.
Could Texas have beaten Ohio State that year? The Buckeyes had this game circled on the calendar after Young and Texas beat Ohio State in the Horseshoe. I was in Columbus four months before the 2006 game and watched a Buckeye fan become increasingly boisterous and enraged when he found out I was from Austin. It’s hard to say what the outcome would have been, but Young would have greatly improved the odds.
There is no way Texas loses to Kansas State. The Wildcats came into that game 6-4 and 16 point underdogs. McCoy was injured early in the game. Jevan Snead came off the bench, but could not pull out the victory. This was one of those games where the quarterback needs to save the day. McCoy might have had he not been injured. Young would have.
Against Texas A&M, McCoy and Snead combined for four turnovers in a 12-7 loss. McCoy had a crucial interception at the Aggie goal line late in the first half that negated a scoring chance. It was a game that Texas could have and should have won. It would have also been the final home game for Young. I doubt he lets the Aggies spoil his home finale.
They say hindsight is 20/20. It is easy for Young to say today that he would have returned to Texas in 2006 had he known the Texans wouldn’t draft him. The young man had millions of dollars staring him in the face. Plus, he had just won a college football national championship. No, I don’t think Young gave returning to Texas much thought.
Nonetheless, it is interesting to think what this Texas team could have done that season with No. 10 on the field.