Who stood out at the East West Shrine game?

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For this article I ignored the potential draft position of the players and rated their performance on the field on game day. Let me say up front that I do not agree with the “experts” that watch the practices and leave on game day. In my years of coaching, I have seen a lot of guys that looked like Tarzan in practice but when the pressure was on in a game they played like Jane.

Blair White WR Michigan State 14 points (4th round)

Blair gets open, has very good hands, and can adjust to bad balls (because he has had so much experience with bad QBs). He was a 4th or 5th projection before the EW game but with a very solid game he has moved into the 4th. The one question about him is speed. He is projected to run a 4.52. At 6-1 200 lbs, that is just OK. If he gets under 4.5 he could get into the 3rd.

Rahim Alem DE Louisiana State 13 pts (3rd)

Alem is 6-3 and 262. That is too light for a starting DE in the pros. He doesn’t really look like he can put on another 30 pounds and keep his speed. He is expected to run a 4.7 40 and depends on that speed to be effective. He could be a pass rush specialist at the next level. He had 2 hurries and caused an interception in the game. He needs work to develop something other than a one move outside rush.

Freddie Barnes WR Bowling Green State 13 pts (5th)

Barnes is one of my favorite value picks. He is only 6′ and 206 and runs a slow 4.58. But he is the prototype slot receiver. Ask Tom Brady how valuable WR Welker is to his offense! Barnes is a high motor guy that will block for the run, get open on short routes, catch the ball in a crowd and will be a pain to any D trying to cover him. He was one of the few weapons at BG and still drove Ds nuts.

James Ruffin DE Northern Iowa 13 pts (5th)

Ruffin is another too light DE. But at 6-4 he has the ability to add bulk and be a starting DE. He played really well and got a hurry and a sack. He also caused a penalty and got a couple of other pass rushes. He is not good at anchoring against the run but more bulk will help. He could be a value pick in the 5th and could go higher if he puts on some good weight and still runs a 4.75-4.8 40.

O’Brien Schofield OB Wisconsin 10 pts (3rd prior to injury)

Schofield reportedly tore his ACL which is a real shame. He had never played LB until the EW game but picked up the position very quickly. He got an interception, had the speed to get wide to stretch out the run, and covered receivers well. Given the injury, he will fall to the 7th round or may not be drafted. He will be an outstanding value for someone but not until 2011.

Andrew Quarless TE Penn State 9pts (6th)

This is a very deep TE draft. As a result, Quarless may drop to the 6th. He is a decent blocker but a good receiver. He gets open, and had 3 nice catches in the game including a TD. He is 6-5 248 and should be able to run a 4.7 40. He will be a nice 2nd TE and does well on special teams.

Doug Worthington DT Ohio State 9pts (7th)

Worthington was a mainstay of the Buckeye D. He had a solid EW game as well. He was doubled a number of times, got half a sack in my grading, and was solid in rushing the passer. He is decent against the run but at 275 could add some weight to get better.

Lindsey Witten DE Connecticut 8pts (4th)

Witten was one of the higher rated players at the EW game. But he is another of the underweight DEs in college. At 264 he needs weight to be a potential starter. But he uses his speed (4.7) to get to the QB. He may not be able to add the weight and keep the speed. At 6-4 he could be a LB conversion as well.

Jamar Wall CB Texas Tech 8pts (5th)

Wall will give you a great play then screw up badly. He scored 14 points with 3 excellent pass breakups but lost points with bad coverage and a penalty. At 5-10 with 4.5 speed, he is going to have to improve his coverage skills to make a team. He will contribute on special teams but will be a risk to draft even in the 5th round.

Reggie Carter IB UCLA 8pts (5th/6th)

Carter is a high motor guy with good instincts and the ability to stop the run. At 243 he will likely end up outside and should be OK there if he runs the 4.7 that he is expected to do at the Combine. He covers receivers fairly well and can contribute on special teams.

Alric Arnett WR West Virginia 8pts (6th)

Drafting a WR from a running team is always a little risky. But Arnett may be the exception. He has decent speed (4.49) good hands and can catch the bad pass. The question is can he get open regularly? He looked good in the game.

Greg Hardy DE Mississippi 8pts (1st or 2nd)

Hardy led the SEC in sacks and came into the game with a low 1st early 2nd round evaluation. I was not that impressed in this game. He played a lot better against Florida and Georgia. He got a sack, and had 2 other nice plays but allowed himself to get caught up in the wash too often against the run. He is an outstanding athlete but didn’t make enough plays in the game. He is going to have to add some weight to be a regular. But that could hurt his speed. At an expected 4.58 in the 40, he need his speed. He too may be a LB conversion prospect but taking a conversion that high is a huge risk.

Stevenson Sylvester OB Utah 8pts (FA)

Sylvester really popped early then disappeared. He attacks the run with great instincts, but he is too small and too slow but showed a great motor early. I have not yet decided how I feel about him but I will let you know when I get deeper into player evaluation.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl draft,projected draft choices,East West Shrine Game,All star game,College Football,Michigan State,Louisiana State,Bowling Green,Northern Iowa,Wisconsin,Penn State,Ohio State,UConn,Texas Tech,UCLA,West Virginia,Mississippi,Utah
  • Author:
  • Published: Dec 28th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What to look for in College Bowl games upcoming.

What to look for in College Bowl games upcoming.

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INDEPENDENCE BOWL Texas A&M 6-5 Georgia 7-5

This is the battle of the bad defenses. TAM’s D gave up 33 points per game. Georgia has already fired all of their D coaches and is giving up 26 points per game. The key to a win will be which O takes maximum advantage of the faltering D.

The Dogs have finished up wining 3 of their last 4 but have had a bad year overall. Their O depends on the ability to run the ball. The Georgia RBs Early and King keyed the upset of Georgia Tech gaining over 300 yards rushing between them. QB Cox has been up and down throwing 22 TDs but also 14 picks. He had only 76 yards passing against GT.

TAM QB Johnson is outstanding. He has thrown for over 3000 yards with 28 TDs and only 6 picks. WR Nwachukwu is the deep threat averaging 18 yards per catch and 6 TDs. The question is can the O line protect Johnson long enough to let Nwachukwu go long.

Georgia has had a slightly better season and should win in a shootout.

EagleBank BOWL UCLA 6-6 Temple 9-3

Temple coach Al Golden has the team in its first bowl game in 30 years. He is now a very hot coaching prospect for “real” football schools. The Owls ripped off 9 straight wins before losing to Ohio U in their last game. They depend on the ground game to move the chains. Freshman RB Pierce is the star. Despite missing a chunk of the year from a shoulder injury he gained 1308 yards and scored 15 TDs.

The Pac10 has struggled in the Bowls so far. UCLA is not a great representative but should win this one. They have been a very inconsistent team this year in part due to injuries. They have talent but too often make critical errors leading to defeats. They went 3-0 to open the year only to drop their next 5.

Their D is led by 3 All Americans S Moore, CB Verner and DT Price. The talent on D should be too much for the Owls and UCLA wins in a close one.

MPS SPORTS BOWL 15 Miami 9-3 25 Wisconsin 9-3

This is one of the more interesting matchups. It will match the Badger running game with RB star John Clay against an improving Hurricane D. The Badgers will have to put pressure on Miami QB Harris who has come a long way since the beginning of the season. He has become a threat but in the last couple of games has been bitten by the turnover bug. Miami is favored but I think Wisconsin grinds out a win by keeping Harris and company off the field.

HUMANITARIAN BOWL Bowling Green 7-5 Idaho 7-5

Idaho has to stop the passing game of Sheehan to Barnes. WR Barnes has been outstanding with 1551 yards in receiving with 16 TDs. Sheenhan has become a potential draft choice in his final year with the help of Barnes.

Idaho has lost 3 of the last 4. The Vandals depend on their O to offset an inconsistent D. QB Enderly has been solid with 2666 yards, 18 TDs and 9 picks. RB Woolridge has scored 16 TDs with an 5.8 yard average.

Look for BG to win the game.

HOLIDAY BOWL 20 Arizona 8-4 22 Nebraska 9-4

The Huskers were a questionable call by a zebra from the biggest upset in the storied history of the school against Texas. The Nebraska D held the Texas O in check most of the game. They won the Big 12 North for the first time since 06. They are second in scoring D allowing just 11.8 points per game.

The Huskers sputter on O depending on the Black Shirt D to keep the score low. The team is 84th in the country in scoring. All American DT Suh should be a top 3 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Arizona was in the Rose Bowl picture until a last minute loss to Oregon on 11/21. Then the win over Arizona State and USC was a positive end to their regular season. Arizona’s O is 40th in yards and is scoring nearly 30 a game. Both the passing of QB Foley and running of Antolin will be contained by the Husker D. Nebraska wins by more than the 1 point line.

SUN BOWL Oklahoma 7-5 21 Stanford 8-4

The Sooners have had a disastrous season after losing QB Bradford. Jones has filled in but has been erratic throwing 23 TDs and 13 picks. RBs Brown (4.1) and Murry (4.5) have not been able to replace the passing of Bradford. The Sooners are scoring 30 points per game. The Sooner D will have to try to slow down one of the best running games in the country in Stanford.

The Cardinal is 11th in rushing. RB Gerhart is averaging 5.6 per attempt and has scored 26 TDs. QB Luck is a better runner (5.8) than passer but takes maximum advantage of the opponent’s focus against the run. He has thrown for 2575 yards and 13 TDs with just 4 picks. The O needs to score a lot because the D gives up points like the Congress passes out money.

Oklahoma should be better in bowl games but have lost 5 of their last 6. But they are 10 point favorites. Look for them to shut down the running game and make Luck throw. The Sooners will win but it could be closer than 10.

INSIGHT BOWL Minnesota 6-6 Iowa State 6-6

This game could be the least interesting of the bowl season. Neither of these teams lived up to what the experts thought they would do this year. The Gophers are 3 point favorites but don’t look for a lot of top level offense. ISU is 102nd in scoring and the Gophers are 79th. Take the under at 49. Both QBs throw about as many TDs as picks and neither running game is solid.

Chick-fil-A BOWL 11 Virginia Tech 9-3 Tennessee 7-5

The best part of this game might be the Chick-fil-A commercials. The Vols have won 5 of 6 games since giving Alabama all they wanted in their game losing 12-10. The Vol D is coached by long time NFL DC Monte Kiffin. He has gotten a lot more out of the D than anyone expected. The D is led by S Berry, the Thrope winner. The O depends on the passing of QB Crompton who has thrown for 2565 yards and 26 TDs but has 12 picks.

VTk has played well and depends mostly on their rushing attack. They are 15th in the nation rushing and 32nd in scoring. RB Williams has averaged 5.7 per attempt and has scored 19 TDs.

VTk is a 6 point favorite but this game will be closer than that. The Kiffin D should hold the score down but Virginia Tech wins.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: ncaa Football,Bowl games,point spreads,Texas A&M,Georgia,Georgia Tech,UCLA,USC,Temple,Miami,Wisconsin,Bowling Green,Idaho,Arizona,Nebraska,Oklahoma,Stanford,Minnesota,Iowa State,Virginia Tech,Tennessee,Kiffin,NFL Draft,2010 NFL DRAFT
  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 7th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The problem with the Raiders is Al Davis not the QB.

The problem with the Raiders is Al Davis not the QB.

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The Raiders are the closest thing there is to a minor league in the NFL. It has become the black hole where players are forced to go to have their careers die. Al Davis couldn’t organize a 2 car funeral procession let alone run an NFL team. It wasn’t always that way. When the Raiders won regularly, they had head coaches that would stand up to Davis. Now no one with a brain is allowed to work for the team.

QB JaMarcus Russell just got the worst situation possible—a lack of ability to process information fast enough to be effective and Jeff Garcia as the backup QB who will do everything possible to undermine him. Russell is a thrower not a QB. He has never mastered the playbook and has the passing touch of a 100,000 pound sledge hammer. The organization is hoping that Russell’s last few almost decent games last year marks a turnaround in his career. Don’t bet on it. There is no way that he can lead a team to a winning record let alone a division title. Garcia is capable of starting but not winning. He has proven that in Cleveland. But he would be much more productive than Russell.

The running back group is very deep and talented. But as usual, the team will start the wrong guy. The flashy Darren McFadden will start if he is healthy. In my opinion he is not capable of being a 250 carry back in the NFL. RB Justin Fargas is a better 3rd down back and RB Michael Bush could be a star despite the steel in his leg. FB Lorenzo Neal is well down on the back side of his career but still can blow a LB off the line. This group will have to carry the load because with Russell at QB they are going to face a lot of 2nd and 10.

The WR group is a microcosm of what is wrong with the team. The starters are Johnnie Lee Higgins and Chaz Schilens. WHO? They both played last year but are not likely to make anyone’s fantasy draft list. The Raiders drafted the super fast Darrius Heyward-Bey in hopes that not even Russell could over throw him. The question is an Bey catch. He has suffered through periods of dropsy. Javon Walker is around but has yet to be healthy since signing with the team.

Beside former top draft pick G Robert Gallery the O line consists of 4 maybe’s. LT Mario Henderson played OK down the stretch. Maybe he will be OK this year. C Samson Satele started for Miami and came to the Raiders as a UFA. Maybe he will fit into the zone blocking scheme. After a fair 07 RG Cooper Carlisle’s performance fell off badly in 08. Maybe he will return to his 07 form. Ts Erik Pears and Khalif Barnes are the only backups of note.

The Raiders D line is in a little better shape. Vet DE Greg Ellis adds some pass rush to the team but Davis was forced to trade disgruntled DE Derrick Burgess to the Pats. DE Jay Richardson looks like he is starting to get it. NT Gerard Warren and DT Tommy Kelly both have talent but are the classic definition of inconsistent play. Rookie DE Trevor Scott had 5 sacks playing part time. The group is going to have to put more pressure on opponent QBs if the defense is going to improve.

The linebackers are fast and athletic. That is good because they need the speed to make up for false steps. WLB Thomas Howard and MLB Kirk Morrison are secure but SLB Jon Alston will face competition for his spot from last year starter Ricky Brown. Howard is a potential star but needs to be better at reading plays. Morrison moved from the outside to the middle. He struggles getting off blockers.

RCB Nnamdi Asomugha is a top player. The Raiders resigned him. LCB Chris Johnson is just OK but will get a lot of action because teams stay away from Asomugha. SS Tyvon Branch and FS Hiram Eugene have the physical tools but have yet to prove they can use them. They will have to grow up fast if the team expects to improve.

OVERALL: This is a bad team and is getting worse not better. Because of Davis, the team starts the wrong guys in too many positions. Free agents have been willing to come to Oakland only when they had no place else to go. The drafts are bereft of real potential stars and have been for a few years. The tag line of this team has always been “Just Win Baby.” There won’t be much of that in 09.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,NFL Draft,Fantasy Football,Davis,Russell,Bush,Fargas,Heyward-Bey,Henderson,Barnes,Asomugha,Warren

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