Fearsome Freshmen Phenom Fantasies
By Joe O'Connell,
1:27PM, Mon. Sep. 24, 2007
In the old days before scholarship limits, the University of Texas fielded a separate freshman team that played its own schedule, kind of like a junior varsity high school team, to smaller but no-less-boisterous crowds. That crazy nostalgic Mack Brown brought that old tradition back Saturday as the UT freshman team wiped the field with the poor, poor, pitiful Rice Owls.
What? You missed the coming out party for dreamy John Chiles? He’s Vince Young without the long legs. But give him the ball and watch the backup QB dance around defenders like they were, well, from an egghead school like Rice. Tell me this isn’t the quarterback controversy you’ve been waiting for all season? Sure, Colt McCoy was gracious about it. After all, McCoy had a great night passing for 333 yards and three touchdowns in the Horns 58-14 win and finally discovering the long pass to a re-energized Limas Sweed. But you can’t blame fans for dreaming of a return to the days of Vince Young’s mambo moves. And let’s not forget the 2006 Kansas State game where McCoy was sidelined with a stinger. Who are the Horns playing this Saturday? Oh yeah. Kansas State. Now if only Chiles could slow down enough for us to decipher his ability to throw the ball.
Most exciting on Saturday, Chiles made us misty-eyed behind a squad made up completely of freshmen or redshirt freshmen. Fresh meat that confused, befuddled, and trampled Rice. Perhaps the bigger controversy is at running back where 5’10” Vondrell McGee — when Chiles would loosen his grip on the ball — sliced through the Owls. McGee scored his first touchdown against TCU, but this was his real coming-out party. His 84 yards on eight carries eclipsed Jamaal Charles’ 74 yards on 14 carries and he didn’t fumble the ball once. Charles can’t say the same. His oopsy early in the game could have proved deadly against a better team. Sure, Charles scored three TDs, but he continues to prefer running around instead of through defenders and is looking like the third best back on the field — Chris Ogbannaya may be the best, but he was busy catching passes instead of running against Rice.
Ah, the freshman bounty. Combined with a stout Texas defense that limited Rice to minus 11 yards rushing, it’s truly the stuff dreams are made of. And the Oklahoma Sooners have their Dallas hotel reservations set for less than two weeks from now. Let’s hope that’s not the grown-up nightmare.