With the SEC West already set this game was one for pride and bragging rights. Neither team played exceptionally well and it looked like most of the players were still suffering from Turkey hangovers but despite all of that there was still a few notes to draw from this game.
QB Tyler Wilson
-So good hitting the underneath crossing route
-Sees blitz stays in the pocket and hits cross
-Shows athleticism tucking the ball and taking off for a first down
-Really nice first drive as he was perfect on every throw
-Rolls right off playaction and tries to go deep but can’t get enough on the throw and its easily picked off
-Displays some arm strength throwing the out route from the opposite hash mark with plenty of zip
-Surpassed Ryan Mallett for most passing yards in Arkansas history
-Has struggled with consistent accuracy since the first drive, very good over the middle but not on the mark when throwing outside the hash
-Steps up from pressure but rushes throw and is incomplete over the middle
-Seeing lots of pressure and its affecting his accuracy
-Forcing throws down the middle of the field, almost seems like he’s throwing the ball to try and draw a penalty more than trying to complete the pass
-Wilson started game 6 of 6 for 61 yards on the first drive, and was 7 of 16 for 54 yards and an INT for the rest of the 1st half
-Took a ton of shots in this game, showing some toughness by getting back up, but his protection from the OT’s is woeful
-Starts 2nd half on fire
-Steps up in pocket and delivers a laser throw to Hamilton who was tightly covered by Simon, put ball up and away from the defender allowing only his WR a chance to make a play
-Beautiful deep fade route, drops the ball in the bucket right over the defender for a TD
-By far his best throw of the game, erasing any earlier concerns over arm strength from the under throw INT
-Again leveled by Mingo as he tried to buy some time
-Executes a play action fake on 4th down, and easily hits the RB out of the backfield for a huge gain into the redzone
-Stuffed on goal line sneak
-WR drops are not helping Wilson at all, clearly has the QB frustrated
Overall: It was a long and tough season for Wilson who struggled with a lack of protection, a lack of playmakers this year. His stock is somewhat depressed but he will have a full offseason with some workout programs should help to remind NFL teams of everything he’s capable of as he improves his health, his strength, and his game.
RB Knile Davis*
-Showing some nice acceleration and vision to find the hole and get through it on back to back plays
-Hasn’t played a ton this year as he continues to recover from last year’s knee injury
-Looks to be running with confidence
Overall: Davis didn’t get many touches in this one but when he did he showed more flashes of confidence and speed that we have seen from him on occasion this season.
RB Dennis Johnson
-Strong running after the catch, breaks three tackles
-Fumbles the ball inside the five yard line after making the catch
-Continues to be fed the ball and is running with power both out of the backfield and as a receiver
-Does a good job lowering shoulder on Simon and delivering the blow
Overall: Dennis Johnson is one of those backs that I just feel is going to be a better pro than he ever was in college. He’s got a good size/speed combination and is a gifted pass catcher. He could be a very useful 3rd down back to a NFL team with more potential for the future.
WR Cobi Hamilton
-Does well to take the shallow cross and get up-field, shows good acceleration with his long stride
-Has the speed to separate and run away from tacklers
-Long stride helps him to pull away from DB’s and LB’s on those crossing routes
-Becomes the all-time career receptions leader in Arkansas history
-Has nice route awareness to know where the sticks are and run his routes precisely
-Nice catch over the middle with Simon draped all over him
-Can’t maintain his balance on a throw and goes out of bounds half a yard short of the endzone
Overall: Hamilton is going to need to run well if he hopes to secure his spot in the Top 60 but he’s shown me the ability to get separation despite his long stride and has some of the most natural hands of any WR in this class.
OG Alvin Bailey*
-Taking on Anthony Johnson and doing a good job handling his quick first step
-Pulls around the LG and completely takes Minter out of the play
-Seals off hole for Davis on cut back run, completely dominates Logan
-Walking off hurt after goal line try
Overall: Just a dominant OG prospect who has massive size and strength to go along with top level athleticism. Interior lineman don’t traditionally declare early and Bailey should be the top prospect for 2014.
QB Zach Mettenberger*
-Never saw the CB breaking on his dump off and gets his RB demolished on 2nd down for an incompletion
-Incredible throw on a rope to the back of the endzone for a TD to Landry
-Ball was thrown 40 yards on a line to Landry, only thing that could have been better was if it was to the other shoulder
Overall: Having written on Mettenberger before I wanted to take my eyes off him and focus on other players. This was not the year Mettenberger had planned but he’s come on strong in the last part of the year and should feel good looking towards next season.
RB Spencer Ware*
-Always seems to fall forward after contact
-Not seeing the burst in this game I have in past
-Shows little wiggle, basically takes on contact and falls forward
-Struggles when trying to bounce runs outside to turn the corner
Overall: Ware is seeing less and less carries these days but he’s still a solid power back with some burst. Some of the luster from last year has definitely worn off but his ability to always fall forward is a trait many teams will covet.
RB Michael Ford*
-Good vision on the KR to see the cut back lane and accelerate through
-Didn’t have the speed to out run the Arkansas special teams and score but went 87 yards
Overall: The only time I really saw Ford was on this kick return and he displayed great vision, and awareness on the return. A lack of carries continues to be Ford’s biggest hurdle.
DE Barkevious Mingo*
-Gets to the flank on bubble screen to Hamilton to make the tackle
-Comes way down field to get a block for Simon after the INT
-Blows right past OT on speed rush and nearly gets to Wilson
-Came on a stunt and just drilled Wilson from right up the middle, got too high on the hit and drew a roughing the passer call
-Got called for launching into an above the shoulder hit
-Lots of wasted movement and ineffective moves when trying to disengage, doesn’t have the strength to just get off the block
-Beats OT on inside move and is hooked down but does not get a flag for holding
-Set up that move earlier in the game by utilizing speed rush, faked outside and then came back inside
Overall: Mingo was impressive as he flashed his speed and athleticism. He’s one of the smoothest pass rushers this year and his ability to turn the corner is among the best in the nation. There is no doubt he’s a top tier pass rusher but he’s a system only player due to his lack of strength and inability to consistently shed blocks.
DE Sam Montgomery*
-Got shook by WR while trying to make the tackle
-Looks slow and labored in this game
-Has done nothing for the most part
Overall: I am still higher on Montgomery than I am on Mingo in the NFL, but if Montgomery doesn’t start showing that he wants it more it’s going to be tough to maintain this opinion. Montgomery seems to be happy to simply hold up his block at this point.
LB Kevin Minter*
-Good coverage on Hamilton, got flagged for PI but it was a poor call
-Fills hole on the next play very well
-Sits down in zone and waits for the crossing route before blowing the WR up
-Is step for step with Hamilton down the seam, but doesn’t turn his head to locate and gets flagged for PI
Overall: Minter is one of the fastest rising junior prospects in the country. His combination of size, speed, and tackling ability are highly coveted. He was all over the field on Friday and made an impact more in pass coverage than in run stuffing this time.
CB Tharold Simon*
-Does a nice job finding the ball in coverage and cutting his coverage short so he can make a play on the underthrown ball
-High points the ball like a WR would
-Needs to wrap up Johnson and not just try and force him out of bounds with a hit
-Good hit by Simon on the goal line to dislodge the ball for an incompletion
Overall: Simon showed good fluidity in coverage displaying loose hips for a defensive back with his size. I really liked the way he high pointed the INT in this game. With his size he really neutralizes potential matchup issues with bigger WR’s.