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Texas Longhorns Get Tough and Shed 'Soft' NFL Reputation

Brian Orakpo: Making me sad as a Cowboys fan, and happy as a Longhorns fan.
Brian Orakpo: Making me sad as a Cowboys fan, and happy as a Longhorns fan.Al Bello/Getty Images
Keenan WomackContributor IIISeptember 15, 2010

After players like Cedric Benson and Derrick Johnson were called busts, and after Ricky Williams was thrown out of the league for hitting the bong instead of hitting defenders, Texas began to develop a reputation for sending 'soft' players into the NFL: players that didn't have a strong enough mental make up to succeed in the premier sports league in America.

Lately, however, Longhorns have been exploding all around the NFL and further proving the magnitude of the Texas football program.

Most recently on Monday Night Football, Chiefs runningback Jamaal Charles, the last 1,000-yard rusher to play for the Longhorns, had 100 all purpose yards including a 56-yard touchdown rush in the first quarter. Charles gets off to a strong start after his near-record breaking game against Denver to end last season, a game in which he rushed for 259 yards on 25 carries with two touchdowns.

In Washington, second-year defensive end Brian Orakpo made life hell for Alex Baron and Cowboys fans in general, recording a sack and multiple quarterback pressures, including the final pressure where he was held by Baron, a penalty that cost the Cowboys the game. After recording 11 sacks in 16 games in his rookie year, he finished second in NFL Rookie of the Year voting to 'roid head Brian Cushing. Orakpo could be the best player from the Mack Brown era down the road—but only if he continues to dominate like he has been. 

Tennessee Titan quarterback and Texas legend Vince Young, is finally beginning to find his stride after going 6-2 as a starter last year. He went 13 for 17 with 154 yards and scored two touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders. Despite the weak competition, Young looked great, and is now 7-2 as a starter since the middle of 2009. Hopefully, he can continue to be as accurate with his passes as he is with his punches in Dallas strip club fights.

Now, while Texas hasn't quite become the premier pro-factory in the NFL yet (although it does have the most active alums in the NFL), they are certainly making strides in that direction. Give the younger players time, like Michael and Cedric Griffin and Aaron Ross, and they will become perennial pro-bowlers for their careers.


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