Game of the Week: Arkansas vs. Auburn
Because of some difficulties I will not be doing the review of the Wisconsin victory over the Buckeyes, as I was unable to see the game or get a copy of it. Instead I will be reviewing the Auburn win over Arkansas, which proved to be a very entertaining game.
First off my thoughts on the Badgers victory over the Buckeyes, as I mentioned in my preview Ohio State had not yet played any team of substance all year and were playing a Wisconsin team with one lose on their record and needing a victory to stay on pace with the rest of the Big 10. Combine this with the fact that Ohio State had to go on the road to a rowdy night game at Camp Randall, all the pieces were in place for a Badgers win and that is just what happened. The Badgers were able to hold Pryor in check and their offensive line was able to impose their will over the Buckeyes defense. The Big Ten will be decided in Iowa this year as Iowa faces Wisconsin and Michigan State in each of the next two weeks and then on Nov 20th the Buckeyes travel to Kinnick stadium for their only other test of the year. So while the Buckeyes may not control their own destiny anymore, if they can win at Iowa on Nov 20th and the Spartans lose at some point they will still have a shot at the Big Ten title.
T-Magic – To the people suggesting that T-Magic should be replaced by Zach Lee, did you even watch the game? Nebraska was let down by their sorry excuse for receivers, not T-Magic.
Gators – 7 points against Mississippi State?…it is time to either completely change the offense or make Burton your QB.
South Carolina – The lose was not unexpected considering Kentucky has played well this year and the SEC is a grind week in and week out, except of course when Vandy is your opponent.
Arkansas vs. Auburn
Big shootout with a lot of bad defense being played on both sides except if your name is Nick Fairley. Other then Cam Newton, what I took away the most from this game is the Bobby Petrino System, and how it really makes QB’s shine. It got me to thinking especially once Mallett got injured and Wilson stepped right in and threw for over 300 yards, is it the QB or just the system? If one is to examine Petrino’s history his offences have produced everywhere he has gone, however, not a single one of his quarterbacks Brohm, Redman, or Ragone, have translated well to the NFL. Therefore, if a team’s passing offence continues to produce year after year with the quarterbacks racking up big yardage but never any of them producing in the NFL, I have to think it is the systems and not the players. Mallett in my opinion looks to be in the same category as those other QB’s, a great statistical quarterback in college who will be unable to perform in the NFL. This becomes even more apparent when you consider his statuesque mobility and his questionable personal issues. For Kyle Wilson’s sake I hope he will be the anomaly under Bobby Petrino’s quarterback friendly system and not the norm.
Cam Newton – What an amazing display of athleticism and literally controlled the game from start to finish. Now I will be the first one to say he needs another year of seasoning but does this kid have potential or what. At 6-6 250 lbs, he can making DB’s miss in the open field and is a better passer then one might think. Watching the game vs. Arkansas, nearly all of his passers were on target, I thought he placed the ball well, he did not throw a pick the entire game and showed he has the arm to make all the throws. Yes, he does have to work on his mechanics (throwing motion and footwork), staring down his receivers and progressing through his reads, but the physical gifts are immense and I think he shows more promise than any other quarterback in the nation not including Andrew Luck. If he were to come out this year (something by all accounts he won’t do), I have no doubts that some team would make him a first round selection. However, for his long term career development I think he would be much better served by another year focused on throwing the football, improving his mechanics, football IQ, and all the intangibles that are required to be QB in the NFL.
Nick Fairley – Absolutely dominant game, especially in the first half when he made just about every play on defense for the Tigers and really pressured Ryan Mallett eventually knocking him out of the game. Seemed to lose a little steam in the second half but aside from when he was double teamed, the Arkansas line was not able to handle him. Fairley possess an excellent frame at 6-5, 298lbs, and has the ability to put on much more weight if necessary. Exhibits a good first step, explosive off the line and is constantly using his hands against his blockers. In the pass game, he showcases the ability to slip blocks or bull rush defenders, closing in the pocket. In the run game, demonstrates the ability to anchor at the point of attack as well as the skill to stack and shed. Now he can move down the line laterally quite well for his size, but he does not demonstrate the capability of a Marcell Dareus in this respect. Definitely a first round pick who I think, if he plays well the rest of the year could possibly break the top 15 pick.
Greg Childs – Really liked what I saw from Childs. He has a nice frame at 6-3, 217, showcasing excellent agility, balance and body control, he is at his best when the ball is in the air. He appears to be a cerebral player, demonstrating very good route running ability and an understanding of where to be against zone coverage. While he is not a burner and lacks elite level explosion, he does have enough speed to be productive in the NFL. Childs does not possess the top level skill sets of the other talented junior wideouts and projects as a 2nd to 3rd round pick who could eventually become a very good number 2 or alternative number 1 receiver on a team.
DJ Williams – I thought played well and showed he can be a target in the NFL. Williams is a guy that can get down the field he is definitely more of a pass catching TE or H-back in the mold of a Dallas Clark or Chris Cooley. He comes in at 6-2 251, so he is smaller than your prototypical tight end. In the pass game shows the ability and awareness to find soft spots in zone, possessing strong hands demonstrating the ability to pluck the ball. However, he is not an elite route runner or speedster and creates little separation from linebackers. Additionally, Williams is not explosive in the open field and demonstrates little in the way of shiftiness or agility. As a blocker he is able to anchor well at the line of scrimmage when required and can pick up blitzes but is relatively ineffective when required to block on the move or in the open field. To me he is more of a system guy that will only be drafted by a team looking at an H-back, off the line TE. A 2nd or 3rd round guy at this point who I see being just a solid NFL player.
Guys that did not impress me
Neiko Thorpe – Did not have a very good game against Arkansas as he was unable to stop Childs the entire game. Possessing a tall body at 6-2, 186 he plays hardnosed and is not afraid to sacrifice his body in the run game. Considering how tall he is, he shows a nice bend and exhibits fluidity in his transitions. Against Childs his faults were magnified especially on the first touchdown where his lack of elite speed was demonstrated as Childs was able to get by him, when Thorpe made his transition to chase Childs he got up right, leggy and took a couple false steps and once the ball was in the air he did not even look back to find out where the ball was. Throughout the rest of the game, Childs made play after play until Thorpe was eventually switched to the other side. Nice frame and length but his speed, lack of technique in his transitions and lack of balls skills would worry me. Until he cleans up some of his deficiencies he looks like a low roster or depth guy in the NFL.
Mario Fannin – In my opinion he is having a similar season to Evan Royster of Penn State and long term projects as a guy who has some power, has some shiftiness but has exhibited no elite level skills in watching him on Saturday. He possess good size at 5-11, 225 is thick and is muscular through his lower half but only demonstrated average ability in the way of explosion, acceleration, vision or instincts. He appears to running without confidence at this point seeing his role reduced with Cam Newton, McCalebb and Dyer now running the ball. He also has a propensity to put the ball on the ground (which he did on his touchdown even though it was not called back) which is not encouraging if he is trying to get a spot on an NFL roster. I think his stock has dropped significantly since the beginning of the year and looks to be at most a 3rd round guy at this point.
Jake Bequette – I have seen him a couple times now and I must say I was more impressed with him against Alabama then I was on Saturday. He was not a factor at all in this game, and while I think he is a nice player who appears to have a good motor and can set the edge, he disappeared in this game and was handled rather easily by Lee Ziemba. I would have given him a higher grade after the Alabama game, but after Saturday’s performance he is at best a middle round guy who does not offer much of an upside as he is rather limited athletically.