Blog Entry

Mallett vs. Buckeye secondary intriguing matchup

Posted on: January 4, 2011 6:37 pm
 
Playing the day after Stanford's Andrew Luck torched a supremely talented Virginia Tech secondary for 287 yards and four touchdowns, Arkansas junior Ryan Mallett may have his hands full matching that type of production against the Buckeyes.

Mallett has actually been even more statistically impressive in 2010 than Luck -- throwing for more yards and touchdowns during the regular season -- a function of his own talents as well as those of his head coach Bobby Petrino.

Petrino's high octane power spread offense has taken the SEC by storm, ranking second behind only Auburn in scoring offense (scoring an average of 37.3 points per game) and leading the conference with 338.4 passing yards per game -- a 64.2 yard advantage over Kentucky.

Those outside of Big Ten country may be surprised to learn that the Buckeyes' success this season has every bit as much to do with their defense as it does with Terrelle Pryor and their highly publicized offense.

Ohio State, in fact, is allowing only 156.25 passing yards a game and has recorded 2.5 times as many interceptions (18) as touchdowns through the air (seven).

Ultimately, scouts don't care how many yards (or touchdowns, for that matter) Mallett throws against Ohio State. Scouts recall the production that Brian Brohm and Stefan LeFors enjoyed at the University of Louisville under Petrino's tutelage.

Rather, scouts will be looking for ball placement -- a skill in which Mallett has proven talented, but not extraordinarily so. Mallett's accuracy is generally good when he's comfortable in the pocket, but scouts want to see if it nosedives when he's forced to move his feet as it did earlier in the year against Alabama.

Luck's accuracy -- in the pocket and on the move -- was his most impressive feat last night against the Hokies.

If Mallett can match Luck's success, he could join him as an elite prospect.

If he continues to struggle in this area, however, scouts may have no choice but to question if today's ultra-aggressive defenses won't further expose him in the NFL.

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