Big Ten Scouting Notes: Week 1
There isn't enough time in the day to watch football, but that's what we're here for. Here's a lowdown on what some of the Big Ten teams out west showed us in Week 1.
Maliek Collins got plenty of off-season hype, but he was overshadowed in this game by Vincent Valentine, who looked unstoppable at times. ... This offensive line is going to struggle, especially in run blocking. A lot of the play calls were designed to minimize the line's weaknesses. ... Jordan Westerkamp has amazing hands. The guy is a walking highlight reel. ... A lot of options at wide receiver. ... Nebraska's secondary is more athletic than last year, but they also made plenty of mistakes. BYU forced a lot of nickel and dime looks, but that gave them some experience and helped hide some linebacker depth issues. ... The ends are not very athletic. Overall, this is not a top defense, but they could be a good unit.
LeShun Daniels gives Kirk Ferentz a speedier big back than he had in past years. ... They got Jordan Canzeri more involved in the pass game, which is smart. There isn't a whole lot of athleticism in their receiving corps outside of Tevaun Smith. ... A lot of easy throws for C.J. Beathard, but he played a good game. The play call that led to his first quarter touchdown run was a brilliant anticipation of a blitz. ... I really like some of these defensive guys. Drew Ott and Greg Mabin could be All-Big Ten first team. ... Their linebackers are athletic enough to play the pass, and they react and cover well. ... The defensive tackles, Jaleel Johnson and Nathan Bazata, played really well. ... Illinois State is a pretty talented team, but the Hawkeyes held former Indiana quarterback Tre Roberson to 5/12 passing for 49 yards and -12 rushing yards before he left the game. Their tailback, Marshaun Coprich, ranked #1 in the FCS in rushing yards last year, with 2,274. He only got 32 against Iowa on 13 carries.
People are talking up Northwestern, but Clayton Thorson looked like a freshman out there, and that will limit the team's ceiling just a bit. A lot of simple throws. A few teams should be able to shut that down. ... Justin Jackson is unbelievably strong for 190 pounds. He was able to muscle his way for extra yards against 245-pound linebackers. ... Their offensive line looked good all around, and that was without starting right guard Matt Frazier, who missed with a staph infection. ... They might be liable to some better pass rushing than Stanford's 3-4 was able to do. ... The defense has a chance to be special. ... Up front, they have the best depth in the conference, hands down. An anonymous group, but plenty of play-making. Starters Deonte Gibson and Tyler Lancaster impressed. ... Their outside linebackers, Drew Smith and Jaylen Prater, are not the most athletic guys, but they hold their own on blocks and work hard. ... The secondary is athletic enough to clean up mistakes and keep most stuff in front. ... They played very level-headed against Stanford, with good leadership.
The defensive line hasn't improved a lot. ... The linebackers, T.J. Neal and Mason Monheim, are very good, and so is their LEO, Dawuane Smoot. Smoot explodes off the snap and will give a lot of Big Ten linemen problems. He's really athletic for 265. ... Josh Ferguson deserves a better offensive line. He was able to create a lot of offense by himself. ... Ke'Shawn Vaughn gives Cubit a more physical option at tailback. He ran 11 times for 43 yards and a TD, and had another 20-yard gain called back on a cut block. ... Too many penalties for the offense. They need to be sharper than they were against Kent State, but losing their head coach probably affected that.
Hitting the Links Is A Hawkeye
Ohio State-Virginia Tech Film Study
Bold, and effective: Chris Ash used the bear defense against Virginia Tech, after Pat Narduzzi said he 'basically stole' MSU's defense last year. Of course, that's just a part of football, and always has been.
Rebuilding Wisconsin's OL | Clement Doubling Down On Confidence
Not enough strength from this group to handle Alabama, but they should be fine. This group has reportedly controlled Alabama's offensive line in practices.
Tyler Sash Touchdown | In Memoriam
This is in commemoration of Tyler Sash, who passed away this week at the age of 27.
B1G Mailbag: Best Wins, Worst Losses
People have talked about Bill O'Brien and James Franklin, but it's worth noting that PSU lost most of their offensive line heading into Franklin's first season. That's not to say Herb Hand or John Donovan shouldn't be feeling the heat - but it's important context.
This was an underrated highlight from Nebraska-BYU; Tommy Armstrong delivers a linebacker-quality block to help spring his teammate.
Penn State Gets Ready For Buffalo
It will be - very - easy to run on the Bulls. But their best linemen are out on the edge, so there could be some more sacks to be had if Buffalo can force third down.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Safety Jordan Lucas said <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PennState?src=hash">#PennState</a>'s captains actually buried the game tape from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Temple?src=hash">#Temple</a>. Buried it out by the practice field Sunday.</p>— Audrey Snyder (@audsnyder4) <a href="https://twitter.com/audsnyder4/status/641299501282631680">September 8, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
I, too, was surprised when Jones got the start, at least until I saw him throw the ball.
B1G Weekly Honors, More Spanning
A great link from this was Forbes' ranking of college coaches according to their value. Jimbo Fisher comes in #1.
Dilly Bar Dan. Dramatic Gopher. I've complimented Minnesota's use of media before, but at their best they just make it look effortless. (I am also a big fan of their most recent hype video.)
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Bielema: "Ohio State has one game remaining with a ranked opponent. We have eight remaining against teams that are ranked."</p>— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) <a href="https://twitter.com/BarrettSallee/status/641644527493771264">September 9, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
First AP Poll Has Plenty Of SEC
LSU-Mississippi State will be a great game. Obviously Les Miles has an edge here, as no one has seen the Tigers take the field yet.
Zaire was lights out, the defense dominated, and Texas changed play-callers (to Jay Norvell) just one week into the season. But the Irish have a history of disappointing, as Grantland writes.
After The Hail Mary, Where BYU Stands
Some takeaways from scouting BYU: their OL is very solid overall, especially LT and RG, but their LG was getting abused by Vincent Valentine all game.
Talking About Stanford | ...And Head Coaches Calling The Shots
David Shaw has absorbed a whole lot of heat this week for Stanford's play-calling.
Mandel Mailbag: OSU Quarterbacks, LSU Cancellation
Mandel includes a great suggestion for Illinois in their coaching search.
Georgia Tech Highlights: 69 Points
Marcus Marshall ran 8 times for 184 yards. He's also the little brother of Georgia running back Keith Marshall.