Would anyone else be spending their Saturday afternoon watching the Senior Bowl other than a CFB nut? Probably not. Therefore, I figure what better way to use my time here than to give you some feedback on what we can take from this glorified exhibition. It’s still much better than the Pro Bowl because though nobody wants to get hurt, the energy and effort is still at a high level, making it watchable football. I’ll let the other guys who handle the draft statuses stick with that. Consider this just a recap of the game and the players.
1st Quarter Reactions:
Christian Ponder- the FSU QB who was hampered by injuries this past year and had an inconsistent career looked very good on his two series. Led the South to two scoring drives and a 10 point lead. Very accurate throwing off his quick drops. Looked a lot like the “Heisman Candidate” that people were proclaiming him to be coming into this past season. From everything I’ve seen, he needed to redeem his reputation in this game and he looked good doing so. 5 for 9, 95 yards, and a TD.
Leonard Hankerson- Goes kind of hand in hand with Ponder. Seemed to be Ponder’s favorite target. Showed good routes downfield as well as short and intermediate routes with some comebacks. 3 catches for 77 yards and a TD, the playmaker from Miami was a handful for the North Secondary all quarter.
Jake Locker- Didn’t get a lot of help from his receiving core highlighted by the Boise WR tandem of Pettis and Young, but still was throwing a lot of inaccurate balls. The South was getting some good pressure on him so won’t put all the blame on Locker, but he did miss a few easy throws.
Derrick Locke/South O-Line- Overpowered the North D-Line on their 2nd drive. Locke’s speed was impressive specifically his ability to cut in and out of gaps. North could barely get anyone in the backfield and Locke was 2-3 yards upfield before the first contact.
2nd Quarter Reactions:
Greg McElroy/Noel Devine- This offensive unit hasn’t been that impressive. McElroy has missed a few throws, threw a bad INT that was negated by an offsides. Devine looked hesitant out of the backfield. Didn’t look nearly as comfortable out of the traditional NFL offense set. Devine lost the ball twice though both were called down. Though Devine scored, the team’s whole series was basically the product of North penalties.
Mark Herzlich- Heard the BC linebacker’s name consistently whether he was making the tackle or pushing the play in a direction that led to a tackle. As a player who was projected to be a Top 10 pick heading into his senior year before he was diagnosed with cancer, it’s nice to see the kid proving himself once again. The North defense has been a disappointment all game, but Herzlich’s come to play.
South D-Lines are dominating this game. Jarvis Jenkins of my Clemson Tigers, Phil Taylor of Baylor at DT, as well as Arizona linebacker Brooks Reed were consistently in the North backfield.
Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue- The Big Ten DPOY, quiet for a while, has come on strong at the end of the half. Sacked Andy Dalton on one play, then very next play blew by the tackle causing a hold and wiping out a long completion.
Mike McNeil- Nebraska TE with a drop which leads to an INT after Colin Kaepernick makes a great play stepping up in the pocket. Ball was right in the kid’s hands.
Halftime Notes: Difference in the game so far has been the play of the South’s lines. North hasn’t been able to generate a rush and hasn’t been able to protect their QB or allow for a run game. Christian Ponder likely the MVP at this point. Andy Dalton, a personal favorite of mine didn’t look great at the end of the half, underthrew a few deep throws and looked better running the ball than throwing it. We’ll have to see if he gets any more action in the 2nd half. North had one first down and the South had the ball for almost 22 minutes. North’s O-Line was highly touted coming into the game with multiple projected 1st-rounders, but its fair to say I haven’t seen it so far.
3rd Quarter Reactions:
Von Miller- The Aggies LB has been the hype of analysts and draft experts for quite some time and made them look good to start the 2nd half. Read Kaepernick’s option read perfectly to record a TFL, then clipped Kaepernick’s heels on 3rd down to prevent a 1st-down run. Looked like he had a few plays in the first half. Showed good speed after reading the play. Easy to see why scouts are loving this kid.
Colin McCarthy- Couple of good plays from the linebacker position, the Miami linebacker has been praised repeatedly by the commentators calling the game.
Colin Kaepernick- Up and down quarter. Has made a few good throws to Sanzenbacher from Ohio St. Well documented down how strong his arm is. Has looked to run too quick sometimes, though he did put a nice move on Clemson’s Jarvis Jenkins. Just led the North to their first scoring drive of the game.
Da’Rel Scott- Behind the scene Maryland RB had a nice series just now, with a long run, screen catch out of the backfield that turned into a long play, and then a TD run following a PI penalty in the end zone.
4th Quarter Reactions:
Ricky Stanzi of Iowa moving the ball pretty well this drive. Very accurate throws, hitting his WR’s on time, has also done a good job making pass rushers miss and keep the play alive outside the pocket. Very Big-Ben like in his ability to improvise plays. And as I say this he missed a 3rd down throw.
Very sloppy on both sides right now. Ponder has to finish this game because McElroy hurt his throwing hand and apparently Dalton is done. South offense hasn’t done much here.
Jarvis Jenkins having a strong game. DT from Clemson has been in the backfield quite a bit. Great jump on 1st down here to get a TFL.
Niles Paul of Nebraska with a great hit on a punt. First man downfield lays the wood to the returner upon the catch. Can you tell this game has slowed down?
Christian Ponder with another TD throw to Jeremy Kerley of TCU. His 2nd of the game. Throw was a little late and behind but still very catchable. Should wrap-up the MVP for Ponder. Very strong performance.
Locker still overthrowing WR’s. His stock has to be plummeting. South with a big stop on 4th and 1 sniffing out the draw. Should just about wrapup the game.
Final Reaction: Fun game to watch. First time I’ve ever sat down and watched the whole game. Got to see some players for the first time that I hadn’t had the pleasure to watch before. Some players really impressed that I hadn’t heard of. Then the usual top players we knew about had their ups and downs. Just was announced Ponder was the game MVP which was the right pick, he was the most impressive player today. Special shout-out to the South Offensive and Defensive Lines. Dominated most of the game and allowed the South backs, specifically Locke to look good. Will be interesting to see which players move up and down in their draft status because of this game.