Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Young Competitive, Impressive at RB
Selvin Young overcame shortness of breath in his first NFL start to piece together a decent outing.
By Christopher Smith
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Selvin Young listened. And listened. And listened. Selvin Young, running back, Texas. Selvin Young, running back. Say Selvin Young.
The draft stage was an endless turnstile of picks and celebrations. Dreams came true. Friends, teammates and rivals rejoiced.
Yet no matter how many times Young murmured his name, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell never announced it aloud.
That was six months ago.
He fancied himself a starting running back in the NFL ever since he started writing down his goals. Monday night he was just that.
Starting in place of the injured Travis Henry, Young was one holding call away from over 100 yards rushing and a spot on SportsCenter.
Trailing 13-10 in the fourth, Young blazed to the left sideline, picked up a few blocks and skirted down the sideline 48 yards to the 4-yard line. Brandon Marshall was flagged for holding. It appeared Marshall's man wouldn't catch Young.
The flag slashed 30 yards off the play and the Broncos eventually punted.
"I thought I was gone," Young said. "I saw a flag and felt a little slow motion going on. We've got to make plays and we've got to cut down on the penalties and we've got to punch it in when we get the opportunity."
Young's electric preseason earned him playing time from Week 1 at Buffalo, but Sunday's start fashioned a faster cadence for his pulse and a thicker coat of adrenaline for his blood stream.
"I felt -- not jitters, but a little breathing, techniques I've got to learn early in the game," Young said. "It's been a long time since I carried the load for a team. But I felt like I sunk in. I feel like the future's going to be bright, as long as I continue to get a chance to help myself."
Other than a couple of first-quarter goal-to-go runs on which he lost seven yards, Young fed fans an enticing appetizer. He improved his average every quarter, finishing with 18 rushes for 71 yards. Young led the team in receptions, catching six passes for 49 yards as well.
"I thought he did a very good job for his first game. I thought he came back in the second half and made some plays," Head Coach Mike Shanahan said. "Of course that one penalty we had took back a long yarder. You're not going to get big plays (against the Packers), but every once in a while you've got to take advantage of it. I thought we had one but they called it back."
Young's eyes twinkle with compassion, uncovering a rookie still filled with dreams and unconscious of the ceiling on his abilities. After the game, they were etched with as much agony and disappointment as anyone.
Ironically, injuries gave Young a shot to make the roster in the first place. Henry, Andre Hall and Mike Bell were all bruised heading into the preseason game against Cleveland, and Young wowed Shanahan with a 91-yard, one touchdown performance in another close loss.
"Man, I can't stand losing, period. I'm probably the sorest loser around here. When I lose, I go home and I feel sad, and I even go run in the middle of the night, wondering if I could've done something -- could've been in a little (better) shape, if I could've done a little something to help win.
"I always feel like I've got to think to myself, 'What can I do to help this team win,' then go out there and try to do it for the next week," Young said. "I feel like if everybody had that same mindset, there won't be too many more (losses)."
Whatever Henry's status, Young's proven a knack for hustling in and performing at the last minute.
"Travis didn't practice all week," Young said. "In my mind I was ready to go, regardless if they came to me and said, 'Selvin, you're starting,' or, 'Selvin, you're not starting.' They never told me I was starting, and they didn't have to tell me I was starting."
Young's burst in open spaces shines especially on screen passes and runs where he gets to the edge, but he also has a propensity to break tackles. He generates momentum like a waterfall careening down a steep ledge, turning his five-foot-11, 207-pound frame into a mini bowling ball.
If given the opportunity to tote the load this year or in the future with the Broncos, Young's aggressive, self-evaluating and confident mentality will only help him.
"There's really no such thing as getting nervous with me. It's all about, 'Can you do it, or can you not? Are you prepared, or are you not prepared?' I feel like I've been prepared for a very long time to play football and to go out and look like I belong on an NFL field with a team."
_________________“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11