The opening drive led to a touchdown for the South offense. The offensive line just flat out dominated — La’el Collins (LT, LSU), Arie Kouandjio (LG, Alabama) and Tre Jackson (RG, Florida State) just handled the North D-line, including Danny Shelton and Carl Davis. The South ran right up the middle with great success using Cameron Artis-Payne. Collins on a couple of occasions just man-handled the edge, with Kouandjio and Jackson pushing the pile up the middle. On one zone blocking look, Collins exploded into the second level after a good initial jolt at the LOS. Running back David Johnson ended the drive with a score. Shelton did well to move laterally to his left and had a chance to make the play but over-pursued the back and failed to get a finger on him. It was also an eventful start for Sammie Coates. A late throw in his direction almost led to a pick, he made a nice catch on an inside slant (ball thrown behind the receiver) and then he had a blatant OPI downfield, shoving the corner. It was probably a smart play — the DB was just about to make the pick.
The North responded with two big plays to set up a field goal. Ameer Abdullah (RB, Nebraska) showed a nice burst to get to the second level for a big gain. Charles Davis on the broadcast pointed out Abdullah had 24 fumbles in college — 17 lost. Delaware tight end Nick Boyle did a great Maxx Williams impression hurdling a defender for a first down reception. The drive stalled with Lorenzo Mauldin (DE, Louisville) dropping an easy interception of Bryce Petty. The field goal was good — 7-3.
Clive Walford (TE, Miami) had a mixed series to follow. He’s playing with a toe injury according to Mike Mayock. He made a big time catch for a first down over the middle — he knew he was going to get hit hard but completed the catch, secured the ball and fought for yardage. But on 3rd and 7 he dropped an easy catch to keep the driving going on a short route to the right side. He was open. On the punt Jamison Crowder (WR, Duke) fumbled a punt, recovered by Dezmin Lewis (WR, Central Arkansas). On review the play was called back on a dubious fair catch interference.
Kevin White (CB, TCU) is one of the better corners in this years class. With the North starting deep in their own territory, White read a slightly overthrown pass by Petty and made a smart pick. The refs called him down at the 40 — but should’ve allowed him to run it back for a touchdown considering we’re playing NFL rules (these are Big-10 refs).
Hau’Oli Kikaha (DE, Washington) just made back-to-back plays. First, he drove Ty Sambrailo (T, Colorado State) into the backfield to force quarterback Garrett Grayson out of the pocket (he ran out of bounds for a loss of two). On 3rd and 12 he burst round the edge to get into the backfield, forcing an inaccurate throw (incomplete). It’ll be tough to balance out his active hands, relentless motor and spirit compared to short arms and a lack of natural athleticism. The North take over with under two minutes left in the first quarter (still 7-3 to the South).
Owamagbe Odighizuwa (DE, UCLA) so far has struggled to get off blocks, driving the tackle backwards but failing to disengage. Markus Golden (DE, Missouri) is also struggling to make an impact rushing from the left end position.
At the end of each quarter they’re having a two-minute warning and a change of possession. It enables each quarterback to run a two-minute offense.
Nebraska’s Abdullah had a terrific first quarter. In the two-minute drill for the North he was finding space underneath and just sprinting for big yardage. He’s compact, physical and has speed to burn. Mayock keeps referencing the fumble problems — a genuine concern. The North miss a field goal to end the first quarter. Still 7-3.
Because the South received the ball to begin the game — despite ending the first quarter with a miss field goal, the North get the ball again to start the second quarter. Confused? You will be.
Delaware tight end Nick Boyle is blocking well to go with his earlier catch-and-hurdle. Another tight end — Notre Dame’s Ben Koyack — ran a nice route to the left side for a touchdown. The quarerback saw a mismatch with Lynden Trail and exploited it. 10-7 to the North.
Odighizuwa continues to have difficulty working the edge. I’d like to see him move inside for a series. Golden is showing a decent arc but the short arms are troublesome — he can’t use them to take advantage of initial leverage off the edge. He needs to be able to jolt the tackle and convert speed to power. He can’t and it means he’s getting run out of plays.
Blake Sims (QB, Alabama) gets a big cheer from the home crowd as he takes the field for the South. His first snap? A false start. His second leads to a nice route and catch by Tyler Lockett (WR, Kansas State) — who just looks really smooth out there.
La’el Collins is having a game — showing how to regain position when he’s in trouble and keep everything in front of him. Collins is back on the line with Kouandjio and Jackson and they continue to push people around. Danny Shelton can’t get a push against this O-line and already looks tired. He was just tossed to the ground. A busted play almost let in Henry Anderson (DE, Stanford) on the left edge. Sims avoids the pressure and gets a nice lead block by Collins for a decent gain on the ground. Nice reaction again from Collins.
Sims takes a shot downfield to Lockett, who beats USC’s Josh Shaw drawing a clear PI. It’s a 41-yard penalty. Lockett continues to look fluid with his routes — very sudden and crisp. Sims underthrew the pass badly. A good throw equals an easy touchdown. Shaw looked stiff.
The South had to settle for a field goal from close in after a Sims pass for Sammie Coates was reeled in but Coates only got one foot down. It was decent catching technique — Coates high points the ball above the defender. He just needs to learn that at the next level — it’s two feet or a knee. The field goal was missed, keeping it at 10-7 to the North.
Sean Mannion (QB, Oregon State) comes out chucking it downfield with no success. They go back to the run and Minnesota’s David Cobb breaks off a big first down run. On tape Cobb looks like a JAG part of the time and an effective cut-back runner the rest of the way. He lurches between distinctly average and pretty good. He’s having a nice game in Mobile.
T.J. Clemmings is starting at right tackle for the North, not the left. A solid review of his week at the Senior Bowl. Rather than confirm he has the tools to be a really effective left tackle — he looks resigned to being classified as a right side blocker for now. That has to impact his stock. Can he start as a rookie?
The North are forced to punt. Sammie Coates just had a potential downfield catch ripped away by Josh Shaw — a better play from the USC DB after the earlier big PI call.
Blake Sims is doing a great impression of Russell Wilson — scrambling around and trying to make plays. On this occasion he can’t and it leads to a quick three and out. Jamison Crowder — who was lucky not to give up a fumble on a punt return early — drops another punt but recovers and runs for a short gain. Kansas State’s Lockett — already impressing as a receiver — made the special teams tackle. He’s making a big impression today.
So is Nebraska’s Abdullah — who breaks off another big gain with a lovely jinking run to get us to the two minute warning.
Nick Boyle just made his first bad play of the day — dropping a superb throw by Mannion that should’ve been caught for a big gain. Excellent placement on the pass, right over the shoulder. Spilled. Mannion doesn’t hold a grudge and goes right back to Boyle on the next two snaps — one caught, one dropped. Boyle showing some inconsistency here.
Vince Mayle (WR, Washington State) shows strong hands to grab a key third down conversion on a short route to the right side. After another good run by Abdullah, Preston Smith (DE, Mississippi State) demolishes T.J. Clemmings to sack Mannion and force a fumble (recovered by the offense). Clemmings’ technique is all over the place — he’s too high, he’s not using his hands. It’s too easy for Smith who uses an inside move. Mannion also takes far too long to get the ball out. Mayock points out Clemmings’ lack of experience.
On third down with 13 seconds left in the half, Mannion takes a shot to the corner of the left end zone to Devin Smith. The ball is underthrown but Gunter the Miami corner doesn’t turn his head round. It’s PI and the ball’s at the one. A throw to Abdullah from Mannion is caught short of the line and with the North out of time outs, it’s half time and 10-7.
During the break, the NFL Network showed some ‘mic’d up’ footage. Gus Bradley is a fun guy. I think he took a shine to Sammie Coates who was also having fun out there. You can’t help but root for the Jags turning it around in 2015.
The South begin the second half with the ball. Tyler Lockett — perhaps the most impressive player so far — makes another eye-catching play. Quinted Rollins (CB, Miami, OH) should get an interception here, but he loses concentration and tips the ball kindly towards Lockett — who taps his toes to make a big first down. Ty Sambrailo is playing left tackle but screams guard. Danny Shelton looks gassed and makes way early for Carl Davis, who so far is penetrating into the backfield consistently. On tape he struggled to do this (Mayock makes this point on the broadcast) but he’s taken his game to another level in Mobile. The big question is — why wasn’t he doing this more often in college?
Nate Orchard missed a tackle to make a sack on what became a field goal drive for the South to tie it at 10-10. Orchard stayed home on a play action, read the play but failed to tackle the quarterback. UCF receiver Rannell Hall made an excellent downfield grab — leaping over a defender using body control and ball skills. Catch of the day so far.
Mayock reveals a list of potential first rounders playing at the Senior Bowl. Miami wide out Phillip Dorsett is listed. Interesting. We’ve not seen any Dorsett in this game so far.
The North take over and Gabe Wright (DT, Auburn) begins the drive with a fantastic play — knifing through the interior line and stuffing the running back for a loss.
The quarterbacks are having a really rough time of it today. A real lack of talent out there in this game. Markus Golden has his first play of note — jumping offside on first down.
Max Garcia (G, Florida) had a great week of practice and just had a tremendous block to spring a run for Cobb. On the next play Antwan Goodley (WR, Baylor) makes a nice grab on the sideline. He looks awkward but that’s his second good catch in the game.
Markus Golden is officially struggling. He just got easily blocked out of a play by Yale running back Tyler Varga. The North drive stalls but they kick a field goal to re-take the lead 13-10.
After a bit of research, it appears Phillip Dorsett isn’t playing today with a knee injury.
Devin Smith just hammered Rannell Hall on a kick return. Urban Meyer praised Smith’s gunning abilities and we saw it there. Excellent clean hit that had the Titans coaches on the sideline whooping and cheering. Hall recovered to make a really nice low sideline grab for a first down (Brian Bennett is now the quarterback). Mayock and Davis praise Hall for his week in practice — and we see a number of highlight reel grabs from the week. He’s worth another look after today.
Bennett just threw a terrible interception to Quandre Diggs (CB, Texas). It’s a nice play by Diggs, reading the QB’s eyes from the nickel spot. But it’s so basic from the quarterback — staring down the receiver all the way. David Cobb turns it into six points for the north, with Tyler Varga acting as a lead blocker on the play. It’s 20-10 to the North. Interestingly, T.J. Clemmings lined up at left tackle on that play.
The South take over again but Bennett throws another pick. Quinten Rollins, who muffed a pick earlier, makes a great play on the ball on a downfield shot. Fantastic play. Mayock raves about him afterwards. He’s 6-0 and 205lbs. Mayock: “He has the skills, if he runs fast enough, to be a very special corner.” He adds long speed is a concern, but if he’s in the 4.5 range he could go in the second round — otherwise a move to safety is imminent. He played point guard in Basketball before switching to football.
The end of the quarter beats the North team despite the pick. They’ll receive the ball to start the fourth after a kick-off.
Tony Lippett — who’s had a quiet game — tries a pass on a trick play. Over throw to Ty Montgomery, who’s also been anonymous. Varga, who looks like he could be a mobile pass-option full back if not a running back, makes a play underneath to get the North’s drive rolling. Clemmings continues to play left tackle. Bryce Petty is back in the game and finds Vince Mayle for another nice play for 27 yards. Mayle’s having a good game. Varga finishes the drive with an untouched scoring run. Jamil Douglas (G, Arizona State) and Clemmings with the key blocks. 27-10 to the North.
Garrett Grayson back in at quarterback for the South. He starts with a nice timing pass to Lockett who again, has probably been the most impressive player in this game. On the next catch Dezmin Lewis makes a nice catch and run in traffic. The broadcasting crew credit Mayle for the catch — even though he’s playing for the North team.
Oregon State corner Stephen Nelson is quietly having a nice game. He’s playing in the slot — 5-10 corner. Grayson goes for it on 4th and 6 and Lewis of Central Arkansas makes another fantastic catch to the near sideline. Gets up above Josh Shaw who is in a bad position. Lewis impressing here. Interesting prospect with size. The drive stalls after that and the South kick a field goal for 27-13.
Mayock briefly discusses Ty Sambrailo — a player Seattle has interest in according to Tony Pauline. Mayock says he needs to get stronger. Pauline also claims the Seahawks like San Diego State’s Terry Poole.
Sammie Coates is done for the night with a groin injury.
The North take over again with Sean Mannion back on the field. Markus Golden gets his first pressure of the night, but Mannion still makes a short completion to Justin Hardy. Golden then makes a TFL getting the running back down in the backfield. Still, not a night to remember for Golden, but he’s not alone. Very few defensive linemen have impressed in this game.
Mayock is signing the Yale fight song with two minutes to go, as Tyler Varga takes another carry. Off the back of the two minute warning, he scores another touchdown — so we get a second rendition. Charles Davis joins in. 34-13 North.
Blake Sims closed out the game and Dezmin Lewis made another low catch. He’s had a good day — nice size, body control and hands. Damarious Randall (CB, Arizona State) drops a pick that hits him right in the chest. What a miserable night for quarterbacks. The game ends 34-13 in favor of the North.
Even with the usual withdrawals, there’s at least four or five obvious first rounders at the Senior Bowl. Not this year. The game was a bit of a damp squib. It was poor. The running backs stood out thanks to some decent offensive line play — but it was mostly a disappointing night for the D-linemen.
I’m still struggling to grasp the media love affair with Danny Shelton. I get his qualities (fantastic strength at the point, lower body power) but Mike Mayock can’t mention Shelton’s name without stating “top ten pick”. He didn’t play that way today and tired quickly (as he did in practice). Carl Davis flashed a few times, but his tape is average compared to he way he competed in Mobile. How good is he, really?
Owamagbe Odighizuwa struggled to rush the edge and never had an opportunity inside. Hau’Oli Kikaha was quiet. Nate Orchard made a couple of plays in pursuit but didn’t stand out as an edge rusher. Markus Golden didn’t have an impact.
La’el Collins on the other hand was impressive at left tackle. It’s hard to imagine he’ll get out of the top-20, even if he has to move to guard. The most impressive player in the game outside of the running backs (Varga, Abdullah, Cobb, Johnson) was Kansas State receiver Tyler Lockett. He looked smooth, crisp and made several impressive grabs. Dezmin Lewis also had a decent performance. Quentin Rollins impressed at cornerback and will be one to watch at the combine. T.J. Clemmings has all the physical tools you look for, but he struggled with technique again here. He’s very raw. Is he too raw for the first round?
Ameer Abdullah was named game MVP.