I was finishing up an interview with Longhorns great Cory Redding after Saturday’s Orange-White game when Vince Young walked up.
Since Vince hasn’t really given an interview to a local writer in quite some time, I thought I had better take my shot while I could. VY had a group he was guiding and looked busy, but shoot, my passport expired two months ago and who knows if I’ll ever get a chance to see his Saskatchewan Roughriders live?
So I took my shot.
Me: Hey, Vince. How excited are you to go to Canada?
Vince: I’m excited, very excited. It’s a great opportunity.
Me (as he walks away): When are you leaving?
Vince: I have mini-camp next week. Good to see you.
Me: You, too.
Total time of the interview: 15 seconds. I felt like Chris Farley interviewing Paul McCartney on SNL. “Hey Vince, remember winning the 2006 Rose Bowl over USC? That was awesome.”
As far as his new gig is concerned, Young is entering camp as one of five quarterbacks on the roster, including G.J. Kinne, who spent the 2007 season with the Longhorns before transferring to Tulsa, and 37-year-old Kevin Glenn, who has played in at least one CFL game every season dating back to 2001.
Roughriders head coach and general manager Chris Jones is calling it an open competition at quarterback, and the fact Young agreed to the deal without a signing bonus indicates that his winning the starting job is anything but a slam dunk. His name will put some butts in the seats, though, if he makes the team.
Did you notice the tough love coming from Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, who pulled no punches when discussing defensive tackle Jordan Elliott’s need to improve his conditioning? Elliott is listed at 6 feet, 5 inches and 330 pounds, which ties him with Chris Daniels as the heaviest player on the roster. Expect that number to come down by the fall if Orlando has anything to do with it.
“Jordan can play both (defensive tackle and nose tackle),” the coach said. “I’d just like to see Jordan slim down just a little bit. There’s some things around his belly that’s not muscle to be honest with you. In this game to be able to go consecutive plays … he’s not like Poona Ford (who) can run all day.”
Orlando said this is where strength and conditioning coach Yancy McKnight’s role becomes even more important over the next six or seven weeks. That’s especially true concerning the big guys, who will have to watch the scale now that they aren’t in football practices every day.
Elliott had his moments last season and when motivated was a handful to block. With Ford and Chris Nelson up front, he gives Texas a nice nucleus against the run, where the Horns will surely be tested.
I’m sure Dallas Mavericks fans rolled their eyes as Memphis coach David Fizdale railed on the referees for sending San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard to the free throw line 19 times in Game 2. That’s child’s play compared to what Miami’s Dwyane Wade did in the final two games of the 2006 Finals: 46 trips to the line, 37 makes.
I’ll never forget walking to the media shuttle 90 minutes after the Heat closed out the Mavs in Game 6. A bitter Dallas fan walked by and yelled, “Hey, media, write this down: Wade just got fouled again.”
Dallas got its revenge in the 2011 Finals, but I know the fan base has never forgiven the refs for what they believe was their part in helping the Heat rally from a 2-0 series deficit to capture their first title. … Props to the Grizzlies players for picking up their coach’s $30,000 fine. He went to bat for them after a tough loss and should not have been made to pay for being right, especially when the two players he defended by name — point guard Mike Conley and power forward Zach Randolph — made a combined $36.5 million this season. They can pay that fine with their breakfast money.
No real surprise about what the eighth-seeded Chicago Bulls are doing to the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the first round. The pace of play slows down in the NBA playoffs and that really brings the big guys back into play. Particularly in the Eastern Conference, where there aren’t as many superstar guards as compared to the West, which includes James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry and Portland’s Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
Boston’s Isaiah Thomas has shown amazing resolve to play through the tragic loss of his sister in an automobile accident, but when a team is so dependent on a 5-9 guard, it can be vulnerable. Chicago’s Jimmy Butler is a nightmare cover, and Wade still has a little bit of juice left. On top of that, Rajon Rondo has turned back the clock five years. It’s still a six-game series, but I see Chicago advancing.