I’ve just finished watching Oklahoma vs Texas – a completely one sided game that made it difficult to learn anything new about Landry Jones. He made some pretty throws, particularly on fade routes to the left looking for Kenny Stills, but he also missed a few times and had a lot of unnecessary drops from his receivers. He ended 31/50 for 367 yards and three touchdowns – but I can’t say I learned any more about him against a shambolic Longhorns outfit. The game ended 55-17, but Oklahoma probably should’ve won 70-0.
When he’s given time in the pocket and when most of the work is done pre-snap, Jones looks sharp. He’s capable of precise throws, he can put it into a tight window or simply just make life easy for his receivers. Unfortunately it’s inconsistent and he will miss in the same comfortable environment too. There’s a lot of screens and blind throws into the flats in this OU system. He received precious little pressure off the edge in this one, and when Texas brought a safety blitz he picked it up easily to drop back and dump off to the checkdown or screen. He’s a lot less effective when teams bring the edge rush and force him to move, thinking on his feet isn’t a big positive and it’s where the accuracy departs. Outside of the pocket, Jones is not comfortable.
We’re going to have to wait a while to see the Sooners and their QB really challenged. Ryan Tannehill and Texas A&M got the better of them in 2010, but they don’t meet this year until November 5th. Kansas State the week before could be a test on the road, but the game that stands out is Oklahoma State in the final week. That’s a game we can really judge Jones’ progress – whether he can keep up with OKSU’s prolific offense without making mistakes, because that’s where he’s come unstuck in the past when the pressure was on. There was no pressure today from Texas – on either side of the ball - and the Longhorns made a mockery of their ridiculous #11 ranking for a team that is a million miles away from relevance.
Last night I watched the first half of the Fresno State vs Boise State game, which was another one sided affair and a big win for the Broncos. I’ve spent a lot of time talking up Fresno’s defensive lineman Logan Harrell and he didn’t disappoint here. He’s not a big guy who plays at around 285lbs but he just finds ways to get into the backfield. He was never going to carry his team to a competitive level against the Boise State offensive machine, but he was consistently quick off the snap and exploding into the backfield to disrupt plays. He has an effective swim move but his real asset is speed. On one occasion he just ploughed his way through a lineman to meet the running back for a loss, so he does have some power with room to add some weight. His role at the next level isn’t obvious, but I think he has a role at five technique potentially moving inside on passing third downs. An under rated player with a big future who deserves more attention.
Elsewhere, I have tape from Louisville vs North Carolina to watch tomorrow. I’ll be taking another look at Quinton Coples – a player I’ve criticised this season and questioned his legitimacy as a top pick. I’ll also be watching receiver Dwight Jones who had another productive day with four catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. Jones has all the skills to be a very good NFL receiver and for me he’s the #1 at his position right now. Linebacker Zach Brown is another player to monitor for the Tar Heels.
Alshon Jeffery (WR, South Carolina) is back among the big numbers. With Stephen Garcia benched, Jeffery had six catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns as the Gamecocks took apart Kentucky 54-3. Georgia Tech wide out Stephen Hill struggles for the same level of production in the triple option offense, but he’s a big play threat with NFL skills and had two catches for 50 yards in a 21-16 win over Maryland.
Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia) continues to prosper and is still a quarterback with some pro potential. Today he had 450 yards passing, four scores and zero turn overs as WVU defeated Connecticut 43-16. Bruce Irvin (DE, West Virginia) also had his first sack since week one. It’s been a disappointing year so far for Irvin, who had 14 sacks in 2010.
Tyrann Mathieu (CB/S, LSU) is a star in the making. He had an interception against Florida today to going along with the cluster of big plays he’s made this year. He’s not going stunning physical qualities (5-9, 175lbs) but he’s just a pure playmaker who finds ways to impact a game. He’s only a sophomore, but he’s one to watch for 2013.
Austin Davis (QB, Southern Miss) had another big day. He’s an underrated, talented quarterback who deserves much more attention than he’s getting. The Golden Eagles defeated Navy comprehensively 63-35, with Davis throwing three touchdowns for 283 yards and completing 21/23 passing. He added another touchdown on the ground, with 75 rushing yards from 12 attempts.
Mohamed Sanu (WR, Rutgers) had a slow day in an easy win over Pittsburgh. He finished the game with just two catches for 27 yards and no touchdowns.
Arizona have been a bad team for a while now, not making the most of the talent they have at their disposal. Today they lost to previously disastrous Oregon State, with Nick Foles throwing two interceptions and one touchdown in a 29/39 354 yard performance. I wouldn’t draft Foles, I suspect scouts are starting to have similar thoughts with more evidence to pick through. He’s a late rounder at best.