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ROSE BOWL | USC VS. TEXAS | TEXAS JOURNAL / MICHAEL
HUFF

Containing Leinart Is Only One Key to Stopping Trojans

January 03, 2006|MICHAEL HUFF

Texas' Michael Huff is a senior All-American safety. He e-mailed The Times on Monday, writing about the difficulty of facing a quarterback such as USC's Matt Leinart.

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Matt Leinart is a great leader. The offense wouldn't run as smoothly without him. His leadership ability is incredible, just putting his teammates in the right play and getting the right personnel where they're supposed to be for what the defense is in. He has a great ability to audible, and that comes with the experience he's had. He has been around this game for five years and knows the ins and outs of that offense. He implements great plays at the line of scrimmage, so he is one of the biggest keys to their offense.

It's hard to say that we have faced anyone like him because he's won 34 games in a row. The closest we've come to facing that is facing our own Vince Young in practice.

Vince has won 19 in a row and is 29-2 overall. They're both in the top 10 all-time in winning percentage in the NCAA. If I had to make a comparison to someone else, I would probably say Jason White of Oklahoma. They both manage the game very well, make good decisions, and both were Heisman Trophy winners.

Matt is tough mentally and physically, and he has deceptive speed. I think he's a lot faster than he looks on film. I don't think anyone can question his toughness. He's great at limiting the hits he takes because he's so quick and decisive with the ball. That makes him tough to blitz and it helps him avoid sacks. Plus, with the play of their offensive line, not many people have been able to get to him very often.

Probably no play has stood out more this season than the fourth and nine at Notre Dame. He dropped it in the perfect spot (to Dwayne Jarrett), right in stride and did it in that situation on the road. It's the same kind of playmaking and leadership Vince brings to our team. The pass at Notre Dame is really similar to Vince's pass to Limas Sweed at Ohio State. They have the confidence and ability to make everyone around them better and give confidence to the entire team.

With all of that said, at the same time you can't really say you're just going to key on Leinart to beat USC. They happen to have another Heisman winner (Reggie Bush) in the backfield, and they have other great running backs and if you focus too much on their passing game, they have other ways to beat you.

We just have to keep our composure and execute the game plan Coach (Gene) Chizik, Coach (Duane) Akina and the rest of the coaches give us.

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