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Three Quarterbacks Busting Down Doors and Collecting Wins
By Clayton Ruley
 

Many college football teams didn't accept blacks as part of their organization until the 60's. Even then they were usually playing positions that exploited their athleticism because it was thought that the Black man couldn't play the quarterback position.   It was considered a "smart man's" position and therefore no way a Black man could be a leader.

Fast forward to the college game of today and you'll see the Black quarterback is doing big things and in fact leading his team to national prominence. Take three glowing examples: Vince Young of the University of Texas, Troy Smith of Ohio State University, and Michael Robinson of Pennsylvania State University. These three quarterbacks waited patiently while being backups for a while. They are also learning when to use their athleticism and when to stay in the pocket and get their skill position players involved. For these three players it continues to be a learning experience that time and time again rewards them with accolades and allows them to pile up win after win.

Vince Young

For Vince Young, it's capped off with a national championship for his Longhorns! Their first in more than thirty years and he did it in thrilling fashion beating USC the two-time defending national champions, almost single handedly throwing for 267 yards off of 30-40 passing and running for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns! Yeah, he was that bad going through the staunch 'SC defense like swiss cheese. For the season, Young was simply amazing,   breaking opposing teams backs however, they wanted to let him. Through the air he completed 212 of 325 passes for 3036 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

The Longhorns finally beat Oklahoma under head coach Mack Brown 45-12 on October the 8 th going 14-27 for 241 yards. Young has continued to grow as a player and showed it this season in several ways. Against Oklahoma State Young passed for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns while rushing for 267 yards and 2 touchdowns. Against Colorado in the regular season Young threw went 25-29 for 336 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran for 3 touchdowns.

A 6-5, 225 lbs. junior, Young has the right combination of speed, elusiveness, and a gun for an arm. In fact, he reminds many of tall Michael Vick, just not as fast. He too, has had the opportunity to leave school and will undoubtedly be pressured to do so again after his sparkling Rose Bowl performance but, continues to say he will return to attempt a repeat. He brings confidence to his team that can be seen in the way the players around him believe and play hard for him. Against USC, Texas was down double digits and could have folded but Young's energy on the sidelines was contagious and kept the team believing.

Michael Robinson

The same can be said for Michael Robinson. The 6-2 220 lb. Robinson is perserverance in a nutshell. After playing wide receiver, running back and backing up other quarterback Zach Mills, Robinson, in his fifth season finally got the chance to run the show. He has had a great season and will look to be a middle to late round pick at least. A tough runner who has a running backs frame, Robinson has willed himself into Joe Paterno's starting lineup at QB and hasn't disappointed, only losing to Michigan in a heartbreaker after going 19-34 for 239 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. A late minute Michigan touchdown prevented the Nittany Lions from giving the BCS some serious fits.

For the season, Robinson went 162 for 311 with 2350 yards and 17 touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions. In the teams triple overtime win versus Florida State for the Orange Bowl win, Robinson threw for 253 yards and a touchdown helping Joe Paterno capture his record 21 st bowl win. Florida State did a good job stopping his running game but he like any good player, found a way to get the victory.

Once again, always an underdog, Robinson could be found on the sidelines during the game rallying the team to keep on plugging until they finally made enough plays and after two misses in the big game Kevin Kelly finally knocked home a game winning field goal to lead the team off the field victorious.

Troy Smith

Troy Smith has game and put on a showcase at the Fiesta Bowl against the upstart Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The 6-1 215 lb. Junior went 19-28 for 328 yards and 2 touchdowns. While not a prolific passer (Ohio State is a power running team) Smith will only get better as this was his first full season starting after splitting time last season. This season he went 149-237 for 2282 yards, 16 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. He ran for 11 touchdowns as well.

Oh and let's not forget West Virginia freshman quarterback Pat White who lead his team to a victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.White started for the Mountaineers and went 11 for 14 for 120 yards and 1 touchdown.  He also ran for 77 yards and helped a pro-Georgia crowd go home unhappy! Keep playing like that and get some full-time starts instead of splitting time with tow other quarterbacks and I'll have to choice but put him on my new list next season and give him a pic too!

Many people want to say that the black and athletic quarterback have little place in football when it comes to wins and that they bring excitement to the table at the expense of winning. This season these three quarterbacks threw that myth in the trash and stepped on it like Rick James did Eddie Murphy's couch. Let's hope the change continues and we see more teams taking a chance on debunking old school myths!

              

Any questions, comments, suggestions email Clayton at clayton@geoclan.com.

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