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2008 Draft Preview - the 9/8 edition...

Discussion in 'NFL Draft' started by SanDiegoRon, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. SanDiegoRon

    SanDiegoRon BoltTalker

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    a boatload of good games this weekend.... I ain't leisure, so I can't cover em all... so here's my best "bets"...

    ** Rankings from 9/6 AP Poll….

    Sat. 09/08/2007 - #28 Miami, Fla. (1- 0, 31/3) at #5 Oklahoma (1-0, 79/10) - 9:00 am PST ABC

    Miami – The quarterback situation is far from settled. In week 1, Kirby Freeman didn't exactly take the job by the horns with a 9-of-21 performance against Marshall with only 81 passing yards and a touchdown with an interception... Fortunately for Miami, the defense will take care of most teams. It never let Marshall in the game...

    this defense should be very good – in 06 they finished seventh in the nation, and now return a starting 11 that could be the best in the nation... you do not need a crystal ball to project FS Kenny Phillips and DE Calais Campbell the two best defensive players in the nation and each could end up selected in the top five picks of this years draft.

    But the big spring question was – can new OC Patrick Nix generate any offense... the former Georgia Tech offensive coordinator, was brought in to jump start a squad that has fallen on hard times... Nix is touted as a rising star in the coaching ranks and should he turn around a struggling QB situation he’ll continue to build on that rep... he’s got his hands full....

    Star Watch – RB Graig Cooper, Fr., 6-0 195, Miami - the Hurricanes appear to have found their next feature back to follow in the footsteps of Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee and Frank Gore ... While not the current starter, this bolt of lightning who could become Miami's version of Reggie Bush if he can turn into more of a receiver. His breakaway ability has drawn comparisons to former Hurricane Devin Hester. Cooper had arguably the best showing of any Miami player this spring, regardless of position.

    Senior WR Lance Leggett has the talent to be a dangerous NFL target, but now he has to prove he can be a steady game breaker after catching 70 passes for 1,137 yards (16.2-yard average) and ten touchdowns. He can hit the home run from anywhere on the field with his track star speed, and at 6-3 and 188 pounds, he has the size to pose major match up problems…

    But the real action for the draft is on the defensive side of the ball…

    [​IMG]

    Calais Campbell, DE - Campbell is arguably the best defensive end in the country. His size and speed off the edge make him a terror against the pass.

    Calais Campbell, Jr., 6-8, 280, Miami – some say, he plays like a modern-day Ted Hendricks, for those of us old enough to remember Ted… still somewhat raw with his technique and pass-rushing skills, he’s got a chance to contend for every national defensive honor in 07… In 06, Campbell led the ACC with 20.5 TFL and finished third with 10.5 sacks. He also finished third on the team with 84 tackles… not just a great athlete, he has the work ethic and the motor to live up to his preseason All-America status... no doubt he’d fit right in opposite Castillo…

    and then there's ........

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    FS Kenny Phillips – O MY, how I’d love to have this guy in our secondary… Philips enters this season as the unquestioned top safety in America. NFL scouts claim he possesses the physicality of Sean Taylor and playmaking ability of Ed Reed. Phillips has been compared to Ronnie Lott with a total package of smarts, toughness and range.

    As an All-America safety, Phillips, will certainly command top ten draft pick status… at 6-2, 202, he has it all with big-time hitting ability, the speed of a corner and the smarts to always be in the right position… A superstar recruit for the program two years ago, he has lived up to the hype and then some with 159 tackles, 9 TFL, 10 BPU and 5 picks. OMG, FS Phillips and SS Weddle in the Bolts secondary for 10 yrs...

    DT/NT Antonio Dixon, who has the potential to be a star now that he'll be a key starter. He has all the NFL measurables at 6-3 and 335 pounds with excellent quickness, and now he should blossom after making 14 tackles as a reserve. The Bolts appear very happy with the progress of McKinney, but tracking NT talent is a good thing this year...

    Oklahoma – Redshirt freshman QB Sam Bradford appeared to separate himself from fellow contenders in Spring ball, but could he have asked for a better start to his career? Not only was he incredible against North Texas, but DeMarco Murray, with his 5 TDs, showed he's ready to be a star… If the offensive line plays like it did last week, there won't be any problems… this may be the best O-line in college football… and their receivers are big, fast, and really good… like this guy…

    [​IMG]

    WR Malcolm Kelly, one of the most complete receivers in America…

    Malcolm Kelly, Jr., 6-4 217 - the biggest and best of the bunch, had a breakout season in '06, catching 62 balls for 993 yards and 10 touchdowns… In a rather thin WR draft, he could be a first rdr in 08 if he leaves early and if he has someone getting him the ball on a consistent basis.

    The current rage is fast riser RB DeMarco Murray, Fr., 6-0 191 - the shifty redshirt freshman appears to be the most explosive of talented OU running backs (4.37 speed and 41-inch vertical)… Murray is a good receiver out of the backfield, but also has demonstrated he can run with power… Last Week: 17 carries for 87 yards and 5 TDs, along with two catches for 13 yards, in the 79-10 win over North Texas… OU has too many backs for him to get the overall stats needed to be in the Heisman race, but he's serving notice for the next few years…

    CFN’s top rated LOG is George Robinson and at 6-5 330 pounds, he’s got the measurables… a big blocker in the interior who can move d-linemen around without much of a problem… He's not as bulky anymore after starting his career at well over 360 pounds, and he could play tackle if needed. While "Duke" could still used some more seasoning in pass protection, he's coming into his own as an All-America caliber run blocker…

    Junior Center Jon Cooper is also a rising star… the 6-2, 285-pound Cooper is a true anchor in the middle, starting all but on game over the last two seasons. Versatile enough to move to guard in a pinch, he's a tough run blocker who's a year removed from an ankle injury that curtailed his freshman year. He's been a producer since the moment he set foot on campus.

    The secondary is loaded with big, experienced defenders who can all fly. Throwing on this crew will be a nightmare, but this isn't nearly as physical a group as it should be considering the overall size. That's why the coaches moved Harris to a bigger role, Smith to corner, and Wolfe to safety... it seems to have worked so far…

    [​IMG]

    CB Reggie Smith - the preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year…

    Reggie Smith, Jr., 6-1, 197 – In 06, a first-team All-Big 12 safety who made 41 tackles, 3 INTs and 8 PBUs, has moved to corner... Originally a corner, starting the first three games there in 06 before moving to strong safety, Smith should be fine, but not as good. He's not a blazer, but he can get to the ball in a hurry with good functional speed. Last week he had 6 tackles and 3 PBUs…

    The other move was to take 6-0, 196-pound D.J. Wolfe, a part-time starting corner, and give him Smith's spot at strong safety. It's a curious move considering Wolfe is faster than Smith, with 4.4 wheels, but the former running back has all the makings of a star with great tackling ability to go along with his athleticism. He only made 18 stops with one interception in a reserve role after coming up with 65 tackles in 2005… Last week he had 5 tackles…

    Nic Harris, Jr., FS, 6-3 226 - he's a big defender who up until this season, started only in three games, seeing most of his time as a nickel back, but finished third on the team with 63 tackles with 4 picks and 8 PBU... Fast enough to play anywhere in the secondary, he could grow into the best pro prospect of the bunch... And last week he had a breakout game with 4 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 1 INT, 1 PBU and 1 sack … and he sold popcorn in the stands too… dayum sounds like Weddle…

    This one should be fun…
     
  2. SanDiegoRon

    SanDiegoRon BoltTalker

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    Sat. 09/08/2007 - #29 Oregon (1-0, 48/27) at #33 Michigan (0-1, 32/34) - 12:30 pm PST ABC – the real story, can they rebound…

    Oregon – A great opportunity to see another quality RB, and while the running game tore off 339 yards and four touchdowns against Houston last week, there are a few concerns going into the Michigan game. The Duck defense struggled with the Cougar running game and there wasn't a consistent pass rush. It's never a good thing when your DBs have to combine for 24 tackles.

    Gonna miss “the burner” Turner, but if he has to go, this is a great year for selecting his replacement, and this guy may be a good choice…

    [​IMG]

    RB Jonathan Stewart has breakaway speed, stop-on-a-dime quickness and the power to plow through defenders…

    Heisman Candidate: RB Jonathan Stewart, Jr., 5-11 230 - Pound for pound, Stewart has as much ability and upside as any back in the country, blending brute force with the ability to bounce outside and run past or through overmatched defensive backs. More than just a big-time back, Stewart’s honing his pass-catching skills and is already one of the country’s premier kick returners. He has jaw-dropping physical ability, but he needs to become more of a consistent producer, and that means staying healthy for a season….

    The forgotten man in the Duck backfield, junior Jeremiah Johnson erupted in 2006 for 644 yards and 10 TDs on just 103 carries, establishing himself as one of the nation’s premier No. 2 backs. He’s 5-9 and 205 pounds with a low center of gravity and a sudden burst when he hits the hole. As a change-of-pace, Johnson is the ideal complement to the bigger and more physical Stewart.

    Look for both backs to be on the field at the same time…

    Jaison Williams, WR, 6-5 240 – In 06, he delivered a team-high 68 catches for 984 yards and six touchdowns… way too physical for most defensive backs, he can also stretch a defense with his speed. For Williams to take the next step to becoming a truly dominant receiver, he has to reduce his number of dropped passes... another Vincent Jackson anyone…

    All-Pac-10 junior Max Unger is Oregon’s best blocker. Although Unger has spent his first two seasons at left tackle, the staff is considering a move to center to fill the gaping void left by Enoka Lucas’ graduation. The 6-5, 305-pounder has tooled around at the pivot in the past, and has the quick feet and intelligence to play any position on the line.

    The Duck defense employs three safeties, all of whom are expected to cover like corners and hit like linebackers.

    Oregons’ Best Defensive Player, Junior S Patrick Chung is part corner and part safety and has an outstanding blend of speed and strength… he had 84 tackles and four interceptions in 2006 while patrolling all areas of the secondary... Chung is an ideal fit to play the hybrid rover position on the Oregon defense. A sure tackler in run defense, he also has the wheels to get back in pass coverage and the football IQ, after just two years at the position, to know where he needs to be at all times.

    Watch List: Brandon Bair, DE, 6-7 250 - The 22-year-old redshirt freshman delayed his career to serve a two-year Mormon mission, but he has made up for lost time in the spring. He drew raves from Oregon coaches for his consistent performances… He's making a strong challenge for a starting job...


    Michigan – Chad Henne, Mike Hart, and Mario Manningham form perhaps the best skill trio in America, while tackle Jake Long and guard/center Adam Kraus form one of the nation's best left sides. So what the heck happened on the way to the Nat’l Championship game… Answer: this won't be the nation's number one run defense again, and it won't be fourth in sacks, and it'll also give up too many big pass plays.

    Obviously the loss to Appalachian State was an all-timer, and it's the type of defeat that might be next to impossible to recover from, but the defense has to start tackling better, the passing game has to start clicking better, and there has to be more, far more, from all the stars.

    [​IMG]

    Chad Henne, QB – the team starter for the past 37 games, Henne needs to demonstrate that he is a first round pick…

    Chad Henne, QB 6-2 224 – Up until Sat. night, Henne was in a real nice position to become the first Wolverine quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy... he was coming off a third straight season with at least 20 touchdown passes and he had enough talent around him to make a run for the title… With 7,777 career passing yards, 70 touchdown passes and just 28 interceptions, he’s had a tremendous career… he has the rifle arm and a willingness to put the ball in places to make plays he probably shouldn't… He has the experience, the talent, and the skill players to make him look good. Now he has to create a legacy as a winner after diversity, which will only come with a win over Ohio State and a Big Ten title…


    [​IMG]

    Mike Hart, RB, 5-9 195 - Hart has been the irreplaceable cog in the Wolverine offense since becoming a starter as a freshman in 2004. While not all that flashy, he never puts the ball on the ground and has the uncanny ability to move the chains and wear out opposing defenses with his straight-ahead running style. In 06, with an entire season at full strength, he ran for a career-best 1,562 yards and 14 touchdowns, perpetually moving the chains and protecting the ball (having lost just one fumble in his career as a freshman…

    After last weeks performance, 23 for 188 yards and 3 TDs, Hart is just 605 yards short of the school's career-rushing record... While his Heisman hopes took a hit, he did perform well in the second half and he does still have time to make a run at the statue…


    [​IMG]

    Mario Manningham, WR, 6-0 180 - Manningham proved himself to be one of the nation's most dangerous deep threats last season. Before getting hurt against Michigan State, Manningham hauled in nine touchdown catches in the Wolverines' first six games… he's a big-play target with sub-4.4 speed. Now he has to prove he can hold up…

    Watch List: the emergence of 6-3, 207-pound sophomore Greg Mathews, who looked like the next big thing this off-season. With size, strength and talent, and he turned into enough of a force in spring ball to for a starting spot…. Mathews, the cousin of former Ohio State star Ted Ginn, made seven catches for 68 yards and will start out the season seeing plenty of time in three-wide sets…

    [​IMG]

    Jake Long, LOT - Long would have been a first-round pick had he entered this year's NFL Draft, but he chose to return for his senior year and take care of some unfinished business -- namely, beating Ohio State and winning a bowl game.

    The left side of the line might be the best in college football with the return of seniors Jake Long and Adam Kraus. The 6-7, 313-pound Long is one of the nation's premier tackles, having gone from very good to special after slimming down and getting quicker. A strong pass protector, he can also bury defenders in the running game.

    The 6-6, 296-pound Kraus doesn't get the attention Long receives, but the veteran guard is every bit as nasty when it comes to the running game. The former tight end can move, but he's at his best when he's allowed to by physical on pounding running plays. One of the line's most versatile players, he's seen time at center, and is at home at guard.


    Michigans best defensive player is OLB Shawn Crable. Somewhat of a tweener at 6-5 and 245 pounds, he’s plenty athletic to wreak havoc as a blitzing outside linebacker or can play with his hand in the dirt with a few extra pounds of bulk. More of a linebacker by nature, and a good one on the strongside, he could be moved to the line to provide a LaMarr Woodley-like pass rush after making 37 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. Athletic enough to be solid in pass coverage, he'll use his speed and quickness to be a bolt of lightning into the backfield.

    Watch List: 6-2, 276-pound sophomore LB Brandon Graham is a freak of nature. With tremendous size and sprinter's speed (4.6 40), running the 100 meters in 10.9 seconds in high school, he's a bulked up linebacker playing on the end. He only made three tackles and a sack as a freshman, and now he appears ready to emerge as the next Wolverine defensive star.
     
  3. SanDiegoRon

    SanDiegoRon BoltTalker

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    Sat. 09/09/2007 – #39 Notre Dame (0-1, 3/33) at #17 Penn State (1-0, 59/0) - 3:00 pm PST ESPN – Won’t spend much time on this Preview, there are better games to watch…

    [​IMG]


    Notre Dame – See 9/1 Draft Preview… on their way to 0-8…

    Much will be made out of the quarterback situation and what'll happen next before facing Penn State, but it doesn't matter. As the Georgia Tech pass rush showed, the Irish offensive line will be in big, big trouble over the first eight games of the year. Yes, the quarterbacks have to make better decisions, and they have to hang on to the ball, but they never, ever got time to operate, and they had no running game to help out. The secondary didn't have a great game, even though the stats might not show it, and the run defense was non-existent. Basically, this is a team in big, big trouble…

    Penn State – Will be covering the Lions on 9/22 against Michigan…


    ======


    Sat. 09/08/2007 - #32 South Carolina (1-0, 28/14) at #11 Georgia (1-0, 35/14) - 3:45 pm PST ESPN2 – This should be a pretty good game, but I’ll be covering both squads later this season…
     
  4. SanDiegoRon

    SanDiegoRon BoltTalker

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    Sat. 09/08/2007 – #19 TCU (1-0, 27/0) at #7 Texas (1-0, 21/13) - 4:00 pm PST FSN – will anyone score on TCU??? Will Tommy Blake play??? These former Southwest Conference rivals play for the first time since 1995. TCU shocked Oklahoma in 2005, can they knock off the Longhorns again…

    TCU – Alright TCU, here's your chance at the big show. With nine starters returning from the nation’s number two defense, and 21 of the 24 players on the defensive two-deep, to go along with a loaded backfield of offensive talent, TCU has the potential to be everyone’s mid-major darling from day one....

    To win, they must have a big game from TB Aaron Brown... The 6-1 196-pound junior has shown glimpses of greatness as a freshman... He has tremendous quickness through the hole, breakaway speed past the line, and just enough power to not be pushed around… What he hasn't been is a workhorse, never getting more than 18 carries... even so, he led the team with 801 yards and nine touchdowns averaging 5.2 yards per carry, while finishing second on the team with 34 catches for 455 yards and a score. He's the difference maker the offense will revolve around until the passing game comes around. The next LT ??? we’ll see…

    He’s got some beef in front of him, led by second team All-Mountain West star Matty Lindner at left guard. The 6-4, 298-pound senior is a tough run blocker and a phenomenal pass protector with excellent athleticism, but he has to prove he has to same movement after suffering a knee injury in last years Bowl…

    Watch List: Junior center Blake Schlueter, 6-3 272, is one of the team's rising stars. Coming off a great spring, he turned his production up a few notches as last season went on to finish with a all-star honors. He's big, mobile, and now, incredibly consistent. He'll be one of the best in the league and a great quarterback up front.

    But, realistically TCU can win if these guys come to play… Defensive total, utter dominance. Is it asking a lot to improve on a defense that allowed just 12.3 points and 235 yards per game last year - this group could be good enough to do it.

    [​IMG]

    Getting into the backfield on a regular basis shouldn’t be a problem with the return of end Chase Ortiz and should-be-in-the-NFL star Tommy Blake. There’s speed, athleticism, depth and loads and loads of experience… the safeties are terrific, and the corners have all-star potential…

    Tommy Blake is the most talented player on an imposing TCU defense. Blake led the Mountain West with 16.5 TFL and 7 sacks, while recording an impressive 54 tackles from the defensive end spot… Blake flirted with the idea of turning pro, but the 6-3, 250-pound all-star is back and should be in the running for All-America and Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year honors if he plays like he did over his first few seasons. In three years he's made 134 tackles, 19 sacks and 36.5 TFL with a blend of blinding quickness and good size. Could he be the next Bolt OLB???

    Chase Ortiz, 6-3 255, another tweener DE/OLB, he doesn't get the same publicity as the main man on the other side, but he's been almost as effective over the last two seasons with 64 tackles, 11.5 sacks and 25 TFL... While he doesn't have Blake's speed burst, he's similar in size and is great at getting into the backfield...

    The Horned Frogs only use two true linebackers in their scheme, and they have two very good ones returning in senior David Hawthorne and junior Jason Phillips.

    The 6-0 225-poind Hawthorne made 43 tackles last season, and has 102 in his career, on the strongside. Coming off a fantastic spring where he was all over the field making big play after big play, he's on the verge of being an all-star playmaker with the license to go after the quarterback as well as be steady against the run.

    Phillips is a 6-1 234-pound rock in the middle with 144 tackles in the last two years with 14.5 tackles for loss. While he doesn't do quite enough against the pass, the First Team All-Mountain West performer doesn't miss anything against the run.

    The nation's seventh best pass efficiency defense gets three starters back in the 4-2-5 alignment, led by all-star senior Brian Bonner at strong safety. With enough range to play any of the three safety spots and the hitting ability to be a difference maker at strong safety, he's the team's most versatile defensive back, and he's also the leader of the defensive backfield. He made 49 tackles with 4.5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions last season. If that wasn't enough, he's also a phenomenal punt returner averaging 12.7 yards per try…

    Also returning is 6-2, 215-pound senior David Roach, who made 33 tackles and broke up four passes playing the weak safety. Listed as the starter at both free and weak spots, he'll get the start somewhere and might move around over the course of the season. He hits like a ton of bricks, but while he can move, he needs to do more when the ball is in the air.

    Watch List: the Spring star was S Stephen Hodge… The 6-0 212 junior turned in the most impressive defensive performances of the spring, and should see significant action in the Horned Frogs' 4-2-5 scheme...


    Texas – The current favorite to win the Big 12 title, and perhaps a true national title contender… last week, Texas was rather average in beating Arkansas State... The offensive line, a question mark coming into the season, was fine, but it'll have to play far better next week against a great TCU defensive line... It has to be a concern that the ground game only averaged 3.1 yards per carry, and the defense gave up way too many first downs (26)...

    I love this matchup, normally a very good offense against a very good defense… somethings gotta give…


    [​IMG]

    Colt McCoy easily led the Big 12 in passing efficiency (161.8) last season…

    Colt McCoy, So., QB, 6-3 190 - If someone had told you before last season that McCoy would complete 68% of his passes for 2,570 yards with 29 touchdowns and just 7 picks, you might have assumed Texas would play for the national title… There was a stretch during the middle of the year when he should've been considered for the Heisman with 19 touchdown passes and two interceptions over a six-game stretch – then he got injured… Last week, a rather average 22 of 33 for 223 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs, with 11 rushing yards…

    [​IMG]

    Jamaal Charles, RB, 6-1 190 - Charles has the fabled role of Texas RB all to himself... although last year was a bit of a letdown from his freshman season, he still rushed for 870 yards and 7 TDs… he has All-America talent with the size and speed to become a first round NFL draft pick if he can stay healthy... If he's able to get 200 carries, that could be achievable…

    Collectively, this maybe the best group of receivers in the country…

    [​IMG]

    WR Limas Sweed hauled in 12 TD receptions last year. Sweed's massive size makes him a difficult matchup for any college cornerback - but is that enough in The League...

    WR Limas Sweed, 6-5, 220 – it seems like he's been around for a long time... he's big, fast, and almost certain to be a first day pick in the 08 draft... but now he can improve his stock - he has to play like it… In 06, he led the team with 46 catches for 801 yards and 12 TDs, averaging 17 YPC, but his production fell off over the final five games of the season... Last week, Sweed had 93 receiving yards, including a 35-yard touchdown…

    One of my favorites - good enough to be extremely dangerous when he's not paid attention to, is senior Billy Pittman, 6-1 195, an excellent deep threat at the Flanker, Slot or Z position... In 06, he caught 35 passes for 456 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 13 yards per grab, after averaging 22.1 yards per catch in the national title season. He had a hard time finding a consistent role last year, but he still had a nice year... reminds me of EP...

    And on D, another guy who seems to have been around awhile…

    [​IMG]

    DT Frank Okam wreaks havoc on opposing offensive lines, hence the nickname "Nightmare”…

    Frank Okam,DT, 6-5 320 - Okam could’ve turned pro early but chose to come back for his senior year - that was good... Now he needs to raise his game to an All-America level, doing even more to get into the backfield as well as hold firm against the run... they are counting on him to be the one the rest of the defensive line revolves around… With 26 career starts, 37 appearances, and 108 tackles, Okam is the seasoned vet and the leader on the line... I'm not sold on him, as I've seen many teams run right at him, especially in the Bowl games...

    Watch List: Weakside LB 6-2, 230-pound sophomore Roddrick Muckelroy – I previewed him last year as a Frosh and he didn’t disappoint - he started off with ten tackles, a sack and three tackles for loss in three games before suffering a ruptured tendon in his finger. He'll be a factor in the LB corps with the potential to be an all-star... they expect big things from him, both in the conference and on a national scale, before his career is over... He's big, tremendously fast, and extremely talented...

    And then, yet another Griffin - Senior S Marcus Griffin, 6-1 185 - the Longhorn pass defense was awful last year, despite having a Thorpe Award winner (Ross)… they REALLY need him to step up…

    looking forward to this one...
     
  5. SanDiegoRon

    SanDiegoRon BoltTalker

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    Sat. 09/08/2007 - #35 South Florida (1-0, 28/13) at #17 Auburn (1-0, 23/13) - 6:00 pm PST ESPN2 – Another pretty good game, but I’ll pass on the coverage because of the "Game of the Day”….

    South Florida – I really like this team, they are moving up as a program and have some fine players… I’ll be covering them later this season…

    Auburn - See 9/1 Draft Preview… Last week they had a Sunday player step up and they got out with a win. The Tigers did next to nothing offensively to grab the game by the horns until the final minutes, but the defense picked up the slack with Quentin Groves turning his game up a notch in crunch time. His pressure in the backfield changed the tide of the game. Go Get Him AJ… Things don't get any easier next week against the South Florida defense, and if QB Brandon Cox doesn't do more to make his receivers better, the Tigers might not be able to pull it out like they did. Auburn won't win many games when averaging 1.7 yards per carry…
     
  6. SanDiegoRon

    SanDiegoRon BoltTalker

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    And now, the Game of the Day… a classic ACC/SEC Showdown… Damn, I love Saturday evening college ball…

    Sat. 09/08/2007 - #9 Virginia Tech (1-0, 17/7) at #2 LSU (1-0, 45/0) - 6:15 pm PST ESPN – a four-star and key game for national title hopefulls… this is the premier non-conference clash, as both teams start the season as legit national-title contenders. Although the Hokies must travel to one of the toughest road venues in the country, they've won their past eight road openers… Buckle up the chin straps, here we go…


    VA Tech – Virginia Tech led the nation in total defense last year; LSU was third. Tech was amazing, allowing just 219.5 yards of total offense and 11 points a game - both best in the nation... With eight starters back, including LBs Adibi/Hill, d-tackle Barry Booker and corner Brandon Flowers, the Hokies again will be stifling, and capable of making the offense’s job much easier.

    The last time these two played, the Hokies beat the Tigers 26-8 in the 2002 opener, but that was before LSU grew into one of the elite of the elite programs…

    Last week, with so much hype surrounding the game regarding the campus shooting tragedy, they played tight. Sean Glennon was shaky at best, and the offensive line had an awful game. There wasn't any room to run, and Glennon was under pressure far too often. Defensively, the stars came through as Xavier Adibi, Vince Hall and Brandon Flowers all played like All-Americans... They won… they had better step it up tonight…

    [​IMG]

    RB Branden Ore – they need a big game from this guy… Ore's sophomore season yielded 1,137 rushing yards and 16 TDs...

    Heisman Candidate Branden Ore, Jr., RB, 5-11 207 - In 06, Ore had an ACC-best 112 yards total yards a game… He’s a rugged, old-school RB, who’ll be the Offensive MVP of this program… With good power, he's mostly a quick back who makes things happen inside and out… Although he averaged less than 5 YPC and rarely broke off the big run - he did get 20 carries a game… he’s a workhorse, and has a habit of moving the chains and wearing out defenses… he can catch a bit too and is valuable as a receiver on screens and swing passes... Bottom Line: every team loads up to stop him first, but he still produces as the marked man... shades of LT… a good year for RB’s indeed…

    Watch List: Duane Brown, LOT, 6-5 310, has moved from his normal spot at right tackle to the left side... he's a big blocker who moved over from tight end to the line as a junior, and now is expected to shine. While athletic, he's gotten bigger over the last few years and should be the leader up front on key plays...

    There isn't a better returning linebacking duo in America than senior inside defenders Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi.

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    Vince Hall, ILB, 6-0 240 – In 06, as the unquestioned leader of the nation's No. 1 defense, Hall led the ACC in tackles last year (129), averaging 9.8 per game. Hall is equally impressive in defending the pass, while also showing off impeccable timing when it came to get into the backfield making two sacks, eight quarterback hurries and 10.5 tackles for loss. Even though he didn't do too much against the pass last season, he's shown good quickness and instincts in pass coverage throughout his career. With his big-hitting style and skills, he'll make several All-America teams.

    Hall will get most of the headlines, but Xavier Adibi isn't far behind when it comes to talent and production on the strongside... While not huge at 6-2 and 226 pounds, he's all over the field in pass coverage with nine big plays against the pass, 3 picks, 3 sacks, 6.5 TFL, and 82 tackles... His game is all about speed, and while he'll get pushed around by more physical blockers, he's unstoppable in space… The League LOVES speed....

    DE Chris Ellis, 6-5, 255 – In 06, the team's leading sacker.. 4.5 sacks, 38 tackles, 8.5 TFL, and 16 quarterback hurries… he's big enough to hold his own against the run, while also having the raw speed and quickness to blast off into the backfield when the ball is snapped. He has to come back from off-season shoulder surgery, but he's expected to be fine... can he beef up without losing speed to play the 3-4…

    Brandon Flowers and Victor "Macho" Harris may be the finest cornerback duo in America...


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    Brandon Flowers, CB - Flowers follows in the footsteps of DeAngelo Hall and Jimmy Williams as the latest Va Tech shutdown corner...

    Brandon Flowers, CB, 5-10, 186 - There's been some sensational corners at Virginia Tech over the years, but Flowers could be the best of the bunch... A good tackler with 51 stops last season, he was a rock when the ball was in the air with 3 picks and 18 PBU... While he doesn't have the raw speed of DeAngelo Hall, and he's not as big and physical as Jimmy Williams, he has the potential to be a first round draft pick and grow into a truly special corner if he keeps working. Flowers has top ten draft pick written all over him...


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    Watch List: Macho Harris, Jr., CB, 6-0 180 - Last week, Macho (#1 on right) scored the Hokies' first touchdown on a 17-yard interception return, giving Virginia Tech the win in an emotional game... Macho is emerging as a top 100 prospect if he can do more in coverage - pick 6's will certainly help...
     
  7. SanDiegoRon

    SanDiegoRon BoltTalker

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    LSU – The spring buzz – National Title or bust… they’re loaded and expect to play in the big one… the weakest link, Safety… the front seven should be "O MY" good with six starters returning led by All-America DT Glenn Dorsey and OLB Ali Highsmith... The corners are excellent, but they're not going to have LaRon Landry and Jessie Daniels to save their bacon…

    The stars are aligned for sure, as the road schedule is “soft” going to Mississippi State (W), Tulane, Kentucky, Alabama and Ole Miss… while Virginia Tech, Florida, Auburn and Arkansas all have to come to Death Valley... Sweep the home sched and go unbeaten…

    Last week, LSU put up 45 points and coasted to a win... QB Matt Flynn was fine, WR Early Doucet was terrific, and the backfield showed off all its weapons, but the line was average... Were they “sandbagging” with Va Tech coming to town…

    LSU has built their program by recruiting speed, speed, athleticism, and more speed, with backups that have more raw talent than the starters for about 100 other teams... Hmmm, sounds a lot like the Bolts… and just like the Chargers have very good players in most positions... and some really good backups...


    Matt Flynn, QB, 6-3 228 - was the star of the last two spring seasons and should be ready to shine in the new offense. He’s not the long-baller Russell was, but he has a decent arm and brings more mobility... In 06, he completed 43 of 78 passes for 689 yards and 10 TDs with 2 INT… With just enough career experience to not be completely a rook - he should be ready…


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    All-Around RB Jacob Hester, 6-0 224, had 68 yards on 11 carries last week and caught one ball for 10 yards… he’s been all everything in his career, nothing fancy or flashy, just a steady footballer…

    Early Doucet, WR, 6-1 210 - The speed is there and he has decent size; now he has to be consistent as a number one… In 06, second on the team with 59 catches for 772 yards and eight touchdowns, he turned into a killer over the second half of the season scoring a touchdown in four straight …. One of the team's fastest players, he has the potential to grow into the SEC's most dangerous receiving weapon...

    On the other side in the X position taking over for Our Own Buster Davis will be 6-3, 194-pound sophomore Brandon LaFell….A huge recruit for the program a few years ago, now he has to play up to his potential…

    The left side of the O-line returns intact with 314-pound super-sophomore Ciron Black at left tackle and 6-7, 351-pound junior Herman Johnson at left guard. Black is on the verge of big things after an outstanding freshman year turning into an ironman while keeping JaMarcus Russell's blind side clean. As hard as it might have been to foresee before last season began, he turned into just as strong an all-around blocker as Andrew Whitworth…

    Johnson is shockingly athletic considering his massive frame. He's able to shove around most D-linemen without a problem and is better on the move then he might appear. The only question is his ability to keep his weight under wraps. He was strong at 339 pounds last year after checking in at 371 earlier in his career…


    The nation's number three defense in each of the last two years, they actually might be better, especially with the nation's most impressive d-line and some outstanding corners... DT Glenn Dorsey and DE Tyson Jackson might be top five draft picks this year, while Ali Highsmith leads a fantastic linebacking corps that'll only get better once the star prospect backups get more time… CBs Chevis Jackson and Jonathan Zenon form a top lock-down tandem…

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    IHOP DT Glenn Dorsey is the center layer of what should be one of the nation's most dominant defenses… syrup is optional...

    Glenn Dorsey, DT, 6-2 300 – All-America Dorsey chose to come back for his senior season when he likely would've been a top 20 draft pick... In 06, he shaped up and using his improved quickness made 64 tackles with 8.5 TFL and 3 sacks... He's the anchor of the front four and one of the nation's premier interior pass rushers... As long as he keeps his weight in check, he’ll be a sure-fire All-American… Last week: 5 solo tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack… Yikes, he's on his way...

    Now here is a real 3-4 DE - 6-5, 292-pound junior Tyson Jackson… he is one of the nation's bigger defensive ends with next-level measurables that could make him a top ten type of pick is he puts it all together this season... He has the strength and size of a tackle with linebacker quickness cranking out a team-leading 8.5 sacks with 10 TFL and 37 stops. If absolutely needed, he could move inside for a stretch… As I think the Bolts could use another quality DE, I will definitely be watching this kid…

    Returning for year another big year is 6-1, 225-pound senior OLB Ali Highsmith after making 159 tackles in his first three seasons and earning a Butkus Award Semifinalist nod... Able to play either outside linebacker position, his 4.5 speed makes him a natural on the weakside where he's able to roam as a pass rusher and help out in pass coverage with the ability to cover any back... Heck, we could use another OLB to rotate in, why not his guy...

    The corner spots are not just set, they're manned by two lockdown seniors who could end up forming the nation's best tandem… Jackson and Zenon don't get beat, but they also got plenty of help form the safeties last year. Even so, stick these two on an island against most receivers and they'll be fine…

    Jonathan Zenon, CB 6-0 176 - broke up 12 passes and picked off four others after he took over the starting role. While not the jaw-dropping NFL athlete you'd expect on corner, he simply makes plays...

    The star of the show is Chevis Jackson, 6-0 184, a great hitter who came up with 46 tackles last year to go along with 14 PBUs and two interceptions… Jackson has NFL written all over him, but first, he might earn a few All-America honors with his speed, size, and technique... he's sure to be someone's #1 in the 08 draft... very good corners always go early...

    Whew, now that's a lot of football… Enjoy!!!
     
  8. SanDiegoRon

    SanDiegoRon BoltTalker

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    nobody interested in CFB??? :icon_shrug:

    it's GAMEDAY!!!
     
  9. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    They are talking some CFB in the LLV thread.

    But I never was that into College football.
     

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