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December 31, 2005
Q. In a way, are you guys almost tired of hearing about how great USC's offense is?
VINCE YOUNG: Basically we've been watching TV.
BILLY PITTMAN: A lot of cartoons. I don't see hem on The Cartoon Network.
SELVIN YOUNG: I've been watching ESPN. I don't know about them. I've been watching Ali fights. They've been on ESPN Classic all last week, so I've had a chance to watch that guy. I don't have time to look at SC, I change the channel.
VINCE YOUNG: Beyoncé videos.
Q. Vince, we all talk about and ask these guys about you being the leader of the team. How do you shoulder that responsibility and how has that made you a better player as you've become the leader of this team?
VINCE YOUNG: It's just pretty much my calling. I'm meant to be a leader, so you either do it or you're going to get hit in the face. I don't want to be hit in the face by the man upstairs, so I took my calling. I learned a lot from them and they learned a lot from me. Us being a family like this and out here in LA having a good time and guys being relaxed while they're playing the game that they love, it's a real blessing just to see the guys having a good time. We don't have to be all uptight.
Just like the coaches, they relax, and you see Coach Davis and Coach Brown doing a little wiggle, that brings excitement to all of us, so we're just having a good time as a team right now.
Q. How would weather play a factor if indeed it was raining on this game? How does that change the game plan, the cleats, any of that kind of stuff?
VINCE YOUNG: It changes a whole lot. Selvin Young will be getting a whole lot of carries (laughter).
I'm pretty sure Coach Davis, he's been coaching for a long time and he's a great coach, so I'm pretty sure he'll get us prepared. All we have to do from an offensive standpoint is go out there and execute the plays. I mean, rain, snow, whatever it takes, we have to go out there and win this ballgame.
Q. Obviously you want to win the game for yourselves, for your teammates and your families. Can you talk about what it would mean to the common Texas Longhorn fan if you guys were to win the national title?
SELVIN YOUNG: I think it would mean a lot. Our plan is to bring this thing back to Texas where it belongs in the south. Growing up, I've always been a believer that real football is played in Texas, starting in high school, starting in little league. I mean, to be able to bring it back to where it comes from, that's my plan.
BILLY PITTMAN: I think it would mean a lot, too. Growing up in Texas, like all the hype Texas gets, they say we can never win a big game. To be at the National Championship, now we're here, so I think it would mean a lot to us and prove all those critics wrong.
Q. Vince, I know you and Selvin are pretty tight. What does it mean to you to see Selvin bounce back from what he went through last year and become one of your feature backs? And Selvin, if you can follow up what the season has been like and now you're here as one of the future backs?
VINCE YOUNG: There were trials and tribulations that my brother went through. He went through a whole lot, but just to see him keep fighting, I mean, he could have just quit it, but he's still here, he's still on the sidelines with his little hopping ankle and he's still coaching them guys. For someone to do that, you've got to respect a guy like that.
To see him back on the field right now playing in one of the biggest games we'll probably ever play in together, for a lot of memories, to see how excited he is right now to play, to see him walking around in the hotel right now, I mean, I'm just looking forward to handing the ball off and sitting back and seeing the different moves and seeing him being explosive and making big plays. I'm very proud of him, how much hard work he did to get to this point. I'm proud of him a whole lot.
SELVIN YOUNG: To me, it's almost like a storybook that I'm living right now. I mean, I came out here last year and I had broke my fibula last season, second game of the season starting off a good season. The team made it to the Rose Bowl and I come out here and I'm walking out of the tunnel while they're running. I'm watching the jets fly over. It was one of the biggest games I've ever seen in my life, the best game I've probably ever seen in my life.
It was tough just watching the game and I wanted to be part of it, especially when it was crunch time. I could get those yards, I could get that 1st down, I could do that, I could do that. I just dedicated myself, and I thought my goal was to do what I had to do for myself and to available to this team and get the guys in the same mindset I'm in because I want to come back here, come back to the same game and the same place and play. It's almost going to be like a dream come true. Right now I'm just living it. I'm walking but I feel like I'm floating. I can't believe it's really happening.
I mean, with these guys, offensive line, on defense, everybody on the same page just working for the same goal.
Q. For Vince, what, if anything, did the offense do to cut the number of fumbles from early in the season, and if you did anything, has there been a refresher course heading into a team that leads the country in turnover rate?
VINCE YOUNG: Well, high and tight, holding the ball high and tight. Doing a lot more fumble drills, holding the ball tight, different things to protect the ball. That was the biggest key with Coach Brown and Coach Davis was protecting the ball. The biggest thing we do is try to win the turnover margin and make plays, so that's what we've been focusing on a whole lot for finishing out the season.
Q. Vince, how much influence have you had on this offense just kind of getting to know Greg Davis and him getting to be more comfortable with you? How have you been able to change things to work in your style?
VINCE YOUNG: The biggest thing was I didn't know Coach; he was my first white coach and I was his first black quarterback. We wasn't on the same page because of where I'm from. Just sitting down right now, right now we're best of friends. If anything, if I want to go and just get away, just go to Coach's house and just talk and sit back and relax, we're just like that right now. From him teaching me the football standpoint of the game, it helped me out a lot this year, and it kind of took off a little bit just going in and learning the game of football. It's not all about the physical ability, and he taught me a whole lot.
Coach Davis is a great guy. He's a silly guy. He has jokes for us every day. If you see him, pretty much you can ask these guys, we're pretty much similar. We talk the same now and everything. Me and him are just best friends. I love Coach Davis a whole lot. He taught me a whole lot.
Q. You kind of joked about it, but what was that relationship like in the beginning? Did Coach Davis not understand what you could do on the field or what?
VINCE YOUNG: No, it was just trying to understand each other's character. At the time a couple of jokes that he was saying, I didn't feel that and I didn't think it was funny (laughter). Some of the things that I was saying, he didn't think it was funny. So right now, now we understand each other more. Our chemistry, our communication is real high, and I can go to him and talk about anything, and at the time I couldn't do that because I didn't know him for one, and I was still in the learning process. Like as a freshman, you don't want to come off bad to your offensive coordinator because you're trying to play.
But we both understand each other now and we understand the different situations, that it's not just all about me and him; it's about these guys right here. So we had to put aside our differences and come together like father like son. He's like my father from an offensive standpoint of football right now.
Q. I think I read somewhere that you have some tattoos of roses on one of your arms. Is that so?
VINCE YOUNG: Yeah, it's the rose bush of the women in my life, though.
Q. Do people misconstrue that? Can you talk about what they do represent and when you got them?
VINCE YOUNG: When I got them, people were like, "oh, is that because you won the Rose Bowl from last year?" No, it's just the respect of the women in my life that got me to the point where I am today. I wanted something that I could just always look to, and why not get a tattoo. I can turn to it and see it all the time.
Q. Is it your right arm?
VINCE YOUNG: My right arm.
Q. And you got them after the Rose Bowl last year?
VINCE YOUNG: I got it like in the summertime.
Q. Billy, Greg was joking that after the Big 12 game you were just excited as everyone else even though you didn't catch a ball. You've had your moments, OU game, as Limas has had his. Talk about the receiving corps. You've gone from being a maligned bunch to now. Who's going to step up and have a huge game?
BILLY PITTMAN: Well, this is a story like in the spring. We wanted to step up coming into the season because all of us were tired of hearing we had a weaker offense. I mean, these two guys right here, Selvin and VY, they gave us all the confidence in the world. Even when Selvin was hurt, he was still trying to pull up the receivers. All the things they've done for us in the spring and summer is carrying over into the season, and I think that was a big part of it stepping up, and I think we're going to step up this game, too.
Q. Vince, if you could follow that up, how confident and proud are you in the way the receivers have played this season?
VINCE YOUNG: I'm proud. I knew -- I mean, I knew how talented they were, just like I was when I was young, how much time it's going to take you to sit yourself down and understand the game. And they did that, and now they're having a good time and making plays, and that's how we all learned, all three of us. We weren't just like, I'm going to go out there, I know the route I'm supposed to run. I know if I don't see nobody downfield, take off running. It wasn't all about that.
We had to go in and really study the game of football for us to excel like we're doing right now. I'm pretty proud of each and every one of those guys for taking the time and going and getting that extra fieldwork in or getting that extra day in the summertime of working out. It paid off a whole lot and it got us in the Rose Bowl Championship, so I'm pretty proud of all of that.
Q. Can you talk about how Coach Brown has changed over your time in Austin, and also how important was last year's Rose Bowl game in terms of maybe taking some of the pressure off him?
VINCE YOUNG: Coach Brown changed a whole lot. I just believe that he's not worrying about winning anymore, he's just worried about whatever it takes to keep us happy. To get us prepared for the next level, for the real world that we're going to be seeing in a little while, you have to make a lot more decisions. Just basically he wanted us to be happy. He's not worried about winning or losing, as well as we give it all that we've got, as long as we go out fighting, as long as we're smiling and happy, that's how he feels. For him to do the different things and understand us more as players and the next generation that's coming up, for him to go sit down and listen to the music we listen to, we all respect that a whole lot.
I kind of took that in a whole lot for me to respect him more and trust him a little bit more to say, hey, Coach, for someone to do that, and it turned out to be real well for all of us for him to do that.
Q. How much did winning the Rose Bowl last year play into that at all?
VINCE YOUNG: Well, just going out there and winning that big game and finishing as a team, as a University, I mean, it helped out a whole lot. Coach Brown, he was already changing at the time. But now -- he's just silly right now, but he's still the head coach and he always gets focused. He knows when it's time to get real focused. But just to see him having a good time and loving the job that he's doing, I mean, it brings almost tears to my eyes to see a coach dancing like that. I'm excited about Coach Brown.
Q. How does he dance?
VINCE YOUNG: He dances like Billy, horrible (laughter).
Q. Vince, USC obviously has received tremendous attention obviously individually, Leinart, Bush, LenDale White, Dwayne Jarrett, but nationally, outside of Austin, at least, this team and your offense, basically all the focus is on you. Is there a little bit of unfairness there? Do some of your other teammates deserve a lot more credit than they've been getting?
VINCE YOUNG: Well, I'm going to start off say this: Our defense, without them guys right now, we wouldn't be getting the big numbers that we're getting right now. They are not getting any credit, and I'm kind of mad about that. Our defense is great, they have great speed. I really think that USC does respect that. I think they really see that.
I see as an offensive guys that go up against guys every day, and it kind of runs me out a little bit that they don't say anything about our defense, and they have done a lot of things with turnovers. They're like on the top of everything in the nation right now. They don't say anything about them guys.
From an offensive standpoint, I think, those guys know what it takes to get us the ball. That's why I'm saying it's our defense that's going to take to win this game. All we have to do from an offensive standpoint is be patient and believe.
Q. Should some of your offensive guys be getting more attention than they are?
VINCE YOUNG: Yeah, I mean, all of us. Me, I don't really care about the hype. I'm going to always play hard. I mean, Billy, what he did, he's been hurt for two years, and for him to come be the leading receiver right now, Selvin Young, all the things that he's been there, Ramonce Taylor, David Thomas, that's one of the best tight ends in the nation, and they don't say anything about him. For a guy to catch the balls that he catches and get 13 to 14 knockdowns every game, they don't say anything about him.
You've got Quan Cosby coming from baseball, coming in making plays. They don't say anything about him. We've got five of the best offensive line in the country. They don't say anything about them. But who am I to run my mouth about something like that (laughter)?
But them guys are very respectful and I love them guys a whole lot. So for them guys to do what they're doing and not caring about that and just keep playing and knowing that their teammates and their family and their coaches respect them a lot whole, I really applaud them for doing that.
Q. I was just about to say something about David Thomas. Tight ends have had some success against USC this year. It's one of the kind of trends coming in. Can you talk about David, and Neale has emerged as a weapon as the season has gone on, what kind of role they can play?
VINCE YOUNG: Coach Chambers has brought them guys a long way. David Thomas, he's the leader of all them tight ends that we have. David Thomas is a great guy, I mean, just to hang around him, being in the locker room, being here with him and learning him, his character off the field is beautiful. He's the type of man that all men need to be. I mean, I can't say too much about him, man. He's a real special guy and everybody on the team respects him a whole lot. I just love him a whole lot. He's the best tight end I've ever played with in my life.
Q. You've had some success with tight end sets this year. Is that something has evolved?
VINCE YOUNG: We did the same thing last year. That's pretty much our offense. Whatever it takes to give different looks, both of them guys block well, both of them catch the ball well. Just getting the ball in them guys' hands, they make big plays all the time, especially David. And to see Tweedie in that big game, make the two big catches and the touchdown, just to show how much they pay attention in that meeting room to go out there and make plays.
Q. Can you elaborate more about what your mother means to you, your grandmother, what you've been through growing up and now to the point where they've coming out here to watch you play in the Rose Bowl for the National Championship?
VINCE YOUNG: Well, my grandma, she means a whole lot to me. She used to have to work at the graveyard shift, go in real late at night and then come home in the morning and take us to school, cook breakfast. She's done a whole lot. And my mom at the time was doing different things, hanging out. She was still working but she was doing her thing. She wasn't hardly around when we were young. Just to see my grandmother take over and raise us well until mama could get a point in her life out of her system, she did a great thing.
And then to see my mom make that big change; she had been in the streets for like ten years and now she's been clean. I'm proud of her and happy to see her being able to be a mom for me. Selvin can tell you, as well, she's a beautiful mom; just to see that the different things that she went through, but also right now, she's at another level. She's a pro warrior, and she gets me and Selvin through our days. They helps us out a whole lot, and I love her and my grandmother a whole lot.
Q. Are they coming out here today?
VINCE YOUNG: They won't be here until Tuesday. They've got to work.
Q. How did you develop your throwing mechanics, and over the years have guys tried to alter them or were they smart enough to leave you alone?
VINCE YOUNG: That was one thing I was doing. I was trying to do what everybody wanted me to do. I kind of just, like I said, me and Coach Brown and Coach Davis said, man, just be yourself. It's not about how you throw the ball. I mean, everybody -- there's a lot of guys that have some terrible throwing motions, worse than mine, but they still get the ball downfield. That's all that matters. You know when you see a guy blitzing, hit your blitz guy. That's what it is, and they're reading the defense, and then your receiver is on the same page making different plays at the line of scrimmage.
Q. When was it you guys decided not to try to mess with the mechanics anymore?
VINCE YOUNG: It was after the Missouri game last year.
Q. Vince, what's the number one thing you learned from Coach Seals back in Madison, and how has that helped you become a better quarterback here in college?
VINCE YOUNG: That you're going to make mistakes as a quarterback is how you take it after you come to the sidelines. You're going to get frustrated and throw your helmet around, or you're going to sit there and take the criticism that coach is going to give you and try to learn off that mistake. The bigger key when I was a sophomore, he said you're going to make a lot of mistakes, but we're behind you, man. After that I kind of just took that in and like would go out there and make plays and whatever happens, happens, but do not get frustrated and let your teammates see you frustrated. So he helped me out a whole lot with that.
Q. If indeed the USC has the greatest offense in the history of college football, where does that put the Texas offense?
VINCE YOUNG: We're great or greater; a greater, greater offense (laughter).
Q. I talked to Limas just a few minutes ago and asked him if he was licking his chops a little bit at the Southern Cal secondary that's had its struggles at times this year. He said yes. Are you licking your chops, also?
BILLY PITTMAN: I'm licking my chops every game. This is another opportunity to go out and win another game. They've got a pretty good secondary. I mean, they're playing against some of the best offenses in the nation. I think they deserve more credit. I mean, we see Michael Huff and those guys every day. I mean, they've got a good D, but they're not the best.
Q. Let me follow that up. Are you saying you guys are the best?
BILLY PITTMAN: Our secondary? Oh, no doubt, we're the best in the country, I think (smiling).
VINCE YOUNG: I think, too.
SELVIN YOUNG: I concur (laughter).
Q. For all three of you, you've been through a Bowl week in San Diego a couple years ago and the Rose Bowl last year. How different is the attitude and the personality and the enthusiasm on the team because it is for the National Championship this year?
VINCE YOUNG: Well, me, I feel like the guys know what it takes to win right now. I just know on the team there's no individual guys. The bonding that we do off the field, bowling, going out to eat, I mean, everybody knows what it takes to win. At the time we were young and we were thinking about just going out to play. But now that we've all been in the big games, even the young guys, they understand that you have to learn the game of football to be to the point where we are right now. It's all about physical ability. That's how I feel about it. We're all bonding a whole lot and working to get to different levels at this point in our lives right now.
SELVIN YOUNG: Just what he said. I mean, a lot of guys, we basically took it upon ourselves, if we want to do something special, then it's right there to do. Vince came in, and the class of '02 was the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. We had plans of winning two or three National Championships. Some of the guys faltered along the way, but it's just been a growing process. It's like brothers, we grew up together and watching everybody fall and come back up and stand tall.
We are still here. There's nothing that we can hide from each other. We've all seen each other's back sides and front sides. There's no shame in anything. When a guy goes and he's not giving his all, I mean, he can't turn around and look at us and look in our eyes and not know that we're not mad at him. That's basically what it is, everybody taking it upon themselves that you've got to do what you're going to do. That's basically what it is. Our motto is go eat, and we're hungry.
Q. Do you all see a different attitude than two years ago going to the Holiday Bowl?
SELVIN YOUNG: Totally different. Those guys on that team were guys that said we want to be totally different from. We thought we were going to have a totally different practice ethic, this is going to be totally different. We're going to respect our coaches, show up, do what we have to do, be respectful, just going to smile and have fun. I feel like those guys were putting too much pressure on themselves to go out and have a big game every game and do everything big. We feel like if we do it all together we don't have to worry about anybody because we've got each other's backs. That's basically what it's evolved to.
Q. The other three guys said they're going to sleep. What are you guys going to do New Year's Eve?
BILLY PITTMAN: I'm going to watch cartoons and go to sleep.
VINCE YOUNG: Talk to my girl. She ain't going to be around.
SELVIN YOUNG: I hope they've got some more Ali fights on TV.
Q. You mentioned earlier how kind of amazing it is that Billy is now your top receiver after not playing his first couple years. When did you start to develop this rapport with him do you think?
VINCE YOUNG: Every day I used to go in and have a little meeting with Coach, and I used to say, "Man, Billy, he's looking nice out there, Coach." We have to get this guy involved as often as we can. Coach Davis, the first day of camp, Billy was out there tearing our defense up, and I was like, "Coach, I told you."
He kind of took off from there. We already knew the type of skills that he had. It was in him to go and sit down and understand the game, the mental part of the game, and he did that. Once you understand the mental part of the game, you just have so much fun knowing what you're supposed to do out there on the field, not just being like, "Oh, what am I doing."
You go out there and win the game like Billy is doing right now, he's not selfish. Like the guys said earlier, he didn't get any catches in the Big 12, but he was still out there blocking, excited for everybody else. I think that's a real special thing, not being an individual guy. That's why I love Billy. Billy P., I love you.
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