Ponder ugly in FSU meltdown

A day after my wedding, I’m back watching tape. I have a very understanding wife. Florida State were awful against Oklahoma and a potentially interesting encounter soon became a blow out. The Sooners scored nearly every time they touched the ball and it pumped all the pressure on the Seminoles offense to keep up. They couldn’t. It was a particularly bad day for quarterback Christian Ponder who absolutely extinguished any growing hype that he’s worthy of a top pick next April. Admittedly this was a game where his defense couldn’t stop a thrown beach-ball and FSU had to abandon the run early, but Ponder was still poor.

It started well enough with an opening offensive drive that led to a short touchdown run. The key play was a nice run by Ponder who dodged four defenders to get the ball to the one-yard line. After that it was a catalogue of errors. Where do we start? It’s tough to decide because it was THAT bad. For starters, as agile as Ponder is he was far too keen to tuck it and run when OU brought pressure. Whether it was impatience of frustration, too many times he made one quick read to see his receiver covered and ran only to be sacked.

Decision making was a problem throwing the ball too. He threw into traffic and receivers well covered. On the two interceptions he basically gifted Oklahoma the ball with astonishing neglect. He overthrew short routed and doesn’t have the ideal arm to get the ball deep and take advantage of his wide-outs speed. He stared down his receivers regularly and was pretty inaccurate throughout. Circumstances accepted, this was just a reckless display all round. Struggling when your team is being beaten badly is one thing but to implode in the process isn’t what you want from a top draft pick. It’s only one game but it’s against the best opposition that Ponder will be judged. On this evidence he isn’t even a second round pick.

It was better news for Rodney Hudson who is so easily the best interior lineman in college football it’s not even close. He dominates in every single aspect. I appreciate that his size will put off a of teams and he may not be able to dominate NFL defenders like he does in CFB. However, for a ZBS team that doesn’t mind smaller lineman, he’s worth a shot. Talent wise he’s a top-20 type guy who won’t go that early because of his position. Consistently at the snap the other four FSU offensive lineman would create a pocket, but would be pushed back 4-5 yards. Rodney Hudson would still be blocking his guy at the line of scrimmage ahead of everyone else.

Hudson’s cut blocking is above average for a college guard. With 7:13 left in first quarter he delivers a perfect cut block to completely eliminate the inside rusher, creating an age for Ponder to complete a simple pitch and catch for a first down. On the very next play, he jumps into the second level and destroys a linebacker with another inch perfect cut block to help his running back make a 4 yard run. He could probably play for Seattle against San Francisco today and perform to a good level. He’s pro-ready, immensely talented and if the Seahawks maintain the Alex Gibbs mantra (that remains to be seen) Hudson should be on the team’s radar as a long-term partner to Russell Okung.


  1. akki

    That’s disappointing about Ponder. I had him as the hope to plug into the Seahawks’ system next year. Looks like there were really no positives to draw from this game at all.

    Losing Alex Gibbs probably improves the chances of the Seahawks drafting Hudson. Gibbs always liked to challenge himself to mold unknown low draft picks or UDFAs into starting players, and while you see that his teams occasionally drafted tackles high, they never drafted guards or centers high.

    Against that, I don’t know how much the Seahawks are still wedded to Gibbs’ ideals. Stacy Andrews is a non-fit for Gibbs’ system at any position, and the Carroll/Schneider comments that they brought him on to provide more push in the run game also seems antithetical to Gibbs.

  2. Hawks Fan

    Congrats on the wedding!

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