Thursday, January 05, 2006

Hook mE!

Wow. What can you say? A game that finally lived up the hype. The result of the Rose Bowl between USC and Texas was not decided until Matt Leinart’s 40th pass attempt sailed over the outstretched hands of Dale Jarrett, and the Longhorns ran out on the field to celebrate a 41-38 victory over USC.
For one month, we had the “pleasure” of listening to every sports talk host dissect the Rose Bowl and who they thought would win. We enjoyed one full month of coverage from ESPN touting this USC team as the best, not just for the year, but EVER! Apparently Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns were listening too.
Vince Young felt snubbed by the Heisman voters, but vowed to let his playing on the field do the talking for him, and it did. Young accounted for 468 of the 558 total yards for the Texas offense. But equally impressive was how he did it. Nobody could tackle him. Heck, nobody could catch him. It looked as if he were jogging by defenders for most of the night. Two of his three touchdown runs resulted in him standing upright in the end zone. This was one of the most dominant single game performances ever. Sure, we have more touchdowns thrown or more yards rushed for in a single game, but not on stage like this.
After the game everyone wanted to know Young’s plan for returning next year. He spoke of speaking with his family, and coyly stated “we” as in Texas, will be back next year. Lee Corso of ESPN suggested Young should leave now and enter the draft, as GMs would be crazy to pass on him as the #1 pick. I am not sure I would go that far, but he certainly makes the draft more intriguing with him in it.
What does this mean for the 49ers? Frankly, nothing. At #6 or #7 in the draft they will miss out on the frenzy of the first three picks, most likely drafting an offensive tackle or defensive back. In hindsight, I would trade in the last victory vs. the Texans for the #3 pick in the draft. The first 3 picks will have some real value. More value than the experience the young niners had in collecting a 2 game winning streak.
In my mind, Reggie Bush still goes number 1, but Vince Young has leapfrogged Leinart and will play for the Saints (assuming he comes out) and Leinart will be reunited with his former offensive coordinator, Norm Chau in Tennessee. None of these players will make a big impact on their teams next year. Reggie Bush will be playing behind the worst offensive line in the league and Leinart and Young will find themselves on the bench for a year, if they are lucky. Who will make the biggest impact next year in the NFL? LenDale White will emerge from the group as the best rookie player next year in the NFL, benefiting most from being a later draft choice, while playing with a team with fewer holes and a better offensive line.


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