Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton was mostly neutralized by Texas Tech’s offensive line in the Holiday Bowl. (Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel — USA Today Sports)
BBD Contributor: Joseph Curtis
With Texas Tech on a five-game losing streak, No. 14 Arizona State was a heavy favorite going into the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 30. The Sun Devils (10-4) fell short, however, as Texas Tech (8-5), who finished the night with 403 yards from quarterback Davis Webb, got out to an early lead and held on for a 37-23 victory.
Both schools were led by talented players who could hear their names called in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Carl Bradford, DE, Arizona State, Jr.
-Knifed in, eluded second block and wrapped up legs
-Exploded off snap, good lean around tackle, hurried quarterback
-Good reaction to draw, forced outside for tackle-for-loss
-Beautiful spin move and stuffed run in backfield
-Exploded off edge, hurried quarterback
-Struggled to get off block, had to spin to get away
Overview: Bradford had a dominant first half and, despite a lesser second half, still had the best defensive performance of the game.
He displayed good explosion off the snap and speed off the edge. His explosiveness was inconsistent though; when he didn’t have a good first step, he had a difficult time getting going.
While his speed off the edge was disruptive and he flashed a beautiful spin move, he lacks a varying repertoire of pass-rushing moves. He does not use his hands well and relies heavily on his athleticism.
If Bradford decides to declare for the draft, he went out on a high note. With the potential to be an explosive pass-rusher, he could hear his name called early in the draft.
Chris Coyle, TE, Arizona State, Sr.
-Looked confused on blocking assignment
-Blown up by linebacker at point of attack
-Good position at second level, walls off defender
-Lined up at fullback and cleared the hole on lead block
-Good base, good bend and sustains block
-Crisp cut on short out
-Well-ran crossing route, reached out in front and hauled pass in
Overview: With Arizona State dedicated to the run in the Holiday Bowl, Coyle was mainly a blocker and saw few opportunities to catch passes.
Early on in this game, he looked lost or confused because he was overrunning and missing blocks. Later, he better executed his assignments to show good technique.
He only caught one pass for ten yards but ran decent routes.
If Coyle can be a more consistent blocker, he could be a good fit as an H-back or fullback at the next level.
Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State, Sr.
-Recognized screen, destroyed on crackback blcock
-A bit slow off the snap, rips and pushes through line
-Shot out of stance, great swim, forced run inside
-Stays low out of stance, excellent hand use
-Slow acceleration, neutralized by double team
-Just stood around on offside play, pursued downfield after pass
-Good get-off, stuffed by double teams
-Outmuscled and moved off point of attack
-Works down line of scrimmage and stuffs run
-Bounces off cut block, shuffles into hole and stops run
-Lays out going for punt block
Overview: Facing double-teams all game, Sutton’s disruptive play was limited. He was neutralized by double teams and struggled to fight through them. He was out-muscled throughout the game.
His first step quickness dictated his impact, but it was inconsistent. When he accelerated quickly off the line, he was able to penetrate his gap and cause problems in the backfield. At other times, he was slow off the line of scrimmage and failed to disrupt the backfield.
His quickness off the snap and his quick, active hands are his best attributes, which he uses to shed blockers.
A likely Day 2 draft pick, Sutton’s quickness and block-shedding ability might make him a quality one-gap rusher, but he needs to get stronger and show more consistent explosion to be something special.
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech, Jr.
-Poor position on block, held defender slightly
Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro finished his collegiate career with a strong Holiday Bowl performance. (Photo: Kirby Lee — USA Today Sports)
-Easy, natural catcher
-Got hands into defender’s pads and locked arms, steered out of play
-Feels holes in zone coverage
-Stabbed foot out at line, used body to create separation
-Body catch, fought against two defenders for extra yards
-Tough runner who fights for yards
-Uses body to create space, catch away from body
-Sat in hole in zone, adjusts to low pass
-Downfield holding penalty
Overview: In his last college football game, as he announced he would declare for the 2014 draft after the Holiday Bowl win, Jace Amaro had a solid performance, catching eight passes for 112 yards.
Showcasing soft hands and good route running, he was the “go-to” receiver. At 6’5” and 260 pounds, he knows how to utilize his size to create space and box out defenders.
He was a regular third-down receiver for Texas Tech throughout the game. He showed off his ability to read zone defenses, find holes and sit in them.
While he is not a great blocker, he is a willing blocker who flashes good technique. He generally blocks defensive backs, so he might struggle if asked to block linemen at the next level. Even so, his blend of size, athleticism and receiving skill should make him a first-round pick.
Kerry Hyder, DT, Texas Tech, Sr.
-Covered running back in flat, right on top for the tackle
-Clogged middle and stuffed run
-Excellent motor, keeps grinding and pursues downfield
-Driven back by double team
-Pushed back at snap, swam by and stood up runner
-Lost ground at the line of scrimmage but fought off block
-Quick get-off, beautiful swim and hurried quarterback
Overview: A disruptive interior force for the Red Raiders, Hyder finished his collegiate career with a solid game.
Showcasing first step quickness and some finesse, he caused trouble for the linemen all game. He had trouble dealing with his opponents’ power and was driven back with relative ease, but he was able to recover most of the time and use his lateral quickness and hands to shed blockers.
At 6’2” and 280 pounds, Hyder’s role at the next level is uncertain, as he might be too undersized to play defensive tackle. But if he can showcase the same athleticism and quickness, he could continue to be a disruptive player in the NFL.
Eric Ward, WR, Texas Tech, Sr.
-Adjusted to low pass, cradled it into stomach
-Nice run on sweep, good vision
-Tough blocker, not technically sound but willing and aggressive
-Shields defenders with body, body catches
-Savvy short post, body catch, fought for yards
-High-pointed ball but lost it coming down
Overview: While Ward only caught three passes for 43 yards in the Holiday Bowl, he showed he is a tough player who hustles on the field.
Ward lacks ideal technique as a blocker, but he gets into defenders’ faces. He is also physical with the ball in his hands, as he fought through several tackles to gain yards after contact on one of his catches in this game.
He runs good routes but lacks the suddenness to create much separation. He also tends to body catch, doing so on each of his three catches, while the only grab he made with his hands was one he lost on the way to the ground.
Ward is not a flashy player, but he could be a special teams contributor early on.