Posted on: September 5, 2009 1:55 pm
As crazy as it sounds, Alabama defensive end Brandon Deaderick has been cleared to play in the opener tonight against Virginia Tech, despite being shot in a robbery attempt Monday night. According to head coach Nick Saban during his weekly radio address Thursday night,
“Brandon is doing extremely well. He actually practiced today. It’s a little unbelievable to me. The first thing I do is talk to our medical staff, they actually say he’ll do no damage to himself. These things are actually being treated like a puncture wound because he had no damage to any nerves, no damage to any bone in either wound. It’s like stepping on a nail, when it heals up he can play. “We’re going to take it day-to-day. He really wants to play. I’ll talk to him and defer to him because he’s been cleared by the medical staff. I’ve met with his parents and talked with them. We want to do what’s best for him and we never want to do something that would be detrimental to his future career or even our season if he played before he’s ready.”
The bullet, which went through the flesh in his forearm and re-entered his body near his hip and left by his groin, did not come in contact with any bones, major arteries or nerves.
Deaderick started all 14 games last season for the Tide, coming through with more tackles(36), tackles for loss (5.5) and sacks (4) last season than All-American nose guard Terrence Cody (24, 4.5, 0.5).
Sources close to the team tell me that Deaderick isn't likely to actually play tonight, but just the fact that he has been cleared, is traveling with the team and will be on the sideline is sure to provide the Tide with an emotional boost.
Posted on: September 1, 2009 10:56 pm
With only a few days before Oklahoma State opens their season against Georgia in one of the biggest games of the weekend, the Cowboys' best defensive player was arrested.
Cornerback and return-extraordinaire Perrish Cox was stopped last week for speeding and then found to be driving with a suspended licence, which caused his arrest and carries a $240.00 fine.
Head coach Mike Gundy chose to ignore requests for comment other than to say, "We will handle all things internally." Cox is expected to remain as a starter for the Cowboys against Georgia and sensational sophomore A.J. Green Saturday.
Cox, 6-0 and 195 pounds, has the size, speed and overall athleticism to emerge as the nation's top senior cornerback prospect. While much of the Big XII has struggled with pass defense, Cox has steadily developed into a shut-down corner, posting 21 pass breakups over the past three seasons, including 6 interceptions. Of course, he's known more for his return skills to this point than his pass defense. With over 2,600 return yards and 5 combined touchdowns (4 on kickoffs, 1 on a punt), he, along with Alabama's Javier Arenas, ranks as the country's most formidable special teams weapon.
He'll need to make better decisions off the field, however, if he is to take advantage of his obvious athleticism.
Posted on: September 1, 2009 9:11 pm
Shot in the arm during an attempted robbery in Tuscaloosa last night, Brandon Deaderick will miss an as-yet-undetermined number of games this season for the Tide.
Though he doesn't get the publicity, the 14-game starter at defensive end recorded more tackles (36), tackles for loss (5.5) and sacks (4) last season than All-American nose guard Terrence Cody (24, 4.5, 0.5).
The 6-4, 305 pound Deaderick plays with good strength at the point of attack and is a respected prospect with the skills to translate inside as a 4-3 defensive tackle or remain outside as an end in the 3-4 alignment.
Though Deaderick has since been released from the hospital, head coach Nick Saban refused to provide a timeline as to when Deaderick might return to the field. His loss could be significant in this week's opener against 7th ranked Virginia Tech.
Posted on: August 25, 2009 12:23 pm
The Senior Bowl, the preeminent all-star game for prospective NFL talent, may be on the verge of moving.
Though the Senior Bowl began in Jacksonville in 1950, it moved to Mobile, Alabama a year later and has been a fixture there since. The game this past January, however, concluded the contract the Senior Bowl had with Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
As a result the Senior Bowl, which is run by the Mobile Arts and Sports Association, has begun filtering through the cities that have previously expressed interest in hosting the game, should organizers elect to move it. Tampa and Jacksonville are reportedly among the cities in consideration, though negotiations remain ongoing between the game's organizers and Ladd-Peebles' board of directors.
While proposals have been swapped in an effort to keep the game in Mobile, its home for the past 58 years, according to the Financial News and Daily Record of Jacksonville, the Mobile Arts and Sports Association is looking at other options. "We have a conference call with them next week," Mike Bouda, director of sports and entertainment for the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, told the Financial News and Daily Record of Jacksonville. "I really believe we have an opportunity to move it to the next level."
The Senior Bowl had been previously linked to Tampa, with Under Armour, the Senior Bowl's title sponsor, reportedly discussing a potential move to the city since March.
Though Senior Bowl spokesman Kevin McDermond would not confirm whether any contact with Jacksonville, Tampa or any other city was scheduled, the Mobile Arts and Sports Association issued the following statement yesterday:
"In the spring we clearly stated that due to circumstances it would be prudent if not necessary to consider options. Subsequently, representatives acting on behalf of the Mobile Arts and Sports Association have identified and distributed a request for proposal to multiple cities in the Southeast that have expressed interest."
Posted on: April 16, 2009 12:09 am
The news that Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith changed agents with less than two weeks to go until the draft will likely earn a collective yawn from most draft fans -- and potentially NFL teams -- but it shouldn't.
For a player battling the perception that he lacks intelligence, discipline, focus or all three, the decision to change agents may only reinforce the concern. This, of course, comes after Smith's suspension for the Sugar Bowl, his leaving the Combine early, and the decision to run the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day shirtless.
It is entirely possible that Alvin Keels, his now former agent, deserved to be fired. It is also entirely possible that Smith's reported new agent -- Ian Greengross -- may do a better job of helping Smith make better decisions. It is also entirely possible that neither is true.
That Andre Smith is a top ten caliber prospect is largely agreed upon by NFL scouts. Most scouts I've talked to believe he'll be drafted somewhere between picks 6-10, with the Cincinnati Bengals (#6), Green Bay Packers (#9) and San Francisco 49ers (#10) each appearing to be possible landing spots.
Considering the rash of erratic decisions Smith has made over the past four months, this latest one shouldn't come as a surprise.
And the fact that erratic decisions are quickly becoming the norm for a young man about to receive tens of millions of dollars should cause teams concern.
Posted on: March 30, 2009 3:29 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2009 3:39 pm
With the draft less than a month away most teams are settling their draft boards. One player whose stock remains very much in flux is Tennessee defensive end/outside linebacker Robert Ayers.
There appear to be two camps when it comes to Ayers. Some teams view him as a top ten prospect. Mike Mayock of the NFL Network, whose opinion I respect, recently ranked Ayers as the 5th best player in the entire 2009 draft. Other teams, however, view Ayers as a second round prospect -- and a marginal one at that.
I contacted four teams about Ayers -- two AFC teams and two NFC teams. Two of the clubs operate primarily out of the 4-3, two primarily out of the 3-4 defense. The reviews were stunningly mixed. One 3-4 team loves him. The other ranks him as the 8th best pass rushing OLB prospect of the draft. Similar results came from the 4-3 teams. Each viewed him strictly as a 4-3 defensive end in their scheme.
I respect the opinions of my contacts in the league, but ultimately, I trust my own eyes more than anyone else's. Therefore, I went back to the film. I own game-film of 6 Tennessee games (UCLA, Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Wyoming, Kentucky), as well as the Senior Bowl. After two days of reviewing these tapes, I feel comfortable with my current grade of a late first round to early second round grade.
Ayers, 6-3 (3/8), 272 pounds, primarily lined up as the right defensive end out of the 4-3 alignment in the 6 UT games viewed. This is the position he lined up throughout the week of practice at the Senior Bowl, as well. I have detailed notes from those practices, as well as the Senior Bowl, itself, in which Ayers earned Defensive MVP honors with 3 tackles, including 1.5 sacks. I thought that Ayers was arguably the most impressive player early in the week of practice in Mobile and wrote as much in my Monday and Tuesday reviews of the South practices.
Monday: The surprise was vs. Oher was Ayers, whose quickness off the snap, strength to anchor and dizzying array of counter moves enabled him to beat Oher at times and consistently proved too much for lesser pass blockers. If he can build upon his initial showing with a strong week of practice, Ayers could be the latest example of players catapulting up draft boards with a strong performance in Mobile.
Tuesday: Perhaps due to the colossal battles waged between Oher and Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers on Monday, the two were rarely matched up against each other for this second practice. After an eye-opening initial practice, Ayers struggled with lesser blockers early Tuesday. He picked up his play as the one on ones heated up, however, and finished practice playing with the fervor he’d shown a day earlier. His final snaps of the scrimmage Tuesday, in fact, were spent bull-rushing Tulane tackle Troy Kropog onto his back during one play and using a beautiful swim move to cleanly get past the Green Wave blocker and into the backfield on the next.
The concern I and others have with Ayers is twofold. For one, he didn't establish himself as even a starting caliber player until his senior season despite signing with the Vols as one of the most highly touted preps in the country. Until this season, he was viewed by many as a bit of a bust. Secondly, even though he was as good as any defensive lineman in the SEC this season (and that is saying something) and absolutely deserved the 1st team conference honors he received this year (49 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss), he finished with only 3 sacks.
Based on the film, Ayers consistently plays to his level of competition. His most dominant game (statistically-speaking) was against Georgia, which unfortunately, I don't have film of. Against Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith, Ayers showed good burst, impressive strength to shed, good agility and vision when redirecting and hustle. These were the same attributes I saw against Oher in the Senior Bowl practices.
Against lesser talent in the Wyoming and UCLA losses, however, Ayers disappeared too long for my taste.
Ayers' fluidity improved so dramatically from his Combine performance and Pro Day, that I can understand why some are very excited about him. Those close to the Tennessee program rave about his emergence as a senior leader and there is no denying his athleticism. While he predominately lined up at right defensive end, he also moved inside to defensive tackle, at times, to the left defensive end and was a standup pass rusher from either side, as well. He is not truly explosive off the snap, but can bend under the tackle and has very good lateral quickness to "get skinny" and beat the offensive tackle back inside after a jab-step to the outside to tackle runners for loss.
He has the versatility that every team is looking for and the opinion that he could be an ascending talent will likely push him into the first round -- but there is significant boom or bust potential here.
For these reasons, Ayers was characterized to me by a high ranking official of one of the four teams as "the most polarizing defender who's gonna go in the top 50. Some love him. Some are only luke-warm on him. He's moving up though..."
Posted on: March 11, 2009 4:09 pm
Just got off the phone with an NFL general manager. He was not at the Alabama Pro Day, but relayed to me the report he had been given via phone from one of his scouts. I asked him to characterize the impression he received from the scout regarding Smith with one word. His word: "disappointing."
Smith measured in at 6-4 1/4, 325 pounds and was timed in the high 5.2s to low 5.3s in the 40-yard dash. He also posted only 19 repetitions of 225 pounds, a surprisingly low number considering the strength he shows on the gridiron. The bench press number won't concern scouts too much due to the fact that Smith has very long arms (35 5/8"), but the number is still surprisingly low.
The GM still expected to see Smith ultimately drafted between 10-20 and referred to Smith's film and interviews at the Combine as the reason why. Apparenty, despite sounding unprepared and silly, at times, when fielding questions for the media, Smith was more effective in his conversations with teams.