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Tag:Jim Harbaugh
Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:07 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Luck expects 2011 to be his last year at Stanford

The 2012 NFL Draft could officially become the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes after the redshirt junior quarterback announced this week that he's unlikely to return to Palo Alto for his senior season.

Luck said at Pac-12 Media Days that the 2011 season is very likely to be his last and that he's "approaching like such." Widely panned as the top prospect since the start of the 2010 season, would have a year of eligibility remaining (2012) but said he expects to graduate before the 2012 NFL Draft in April.

He's the top-ranked player by NFLDraftScout.com and is projected by senior analysts Rob Rang and Chad Reuter to go No. 1 overall in each of their early 2012 mock drafts.

Sporting a ragged beard indicative of a laid-back collegian, Luck partially closed the door on his return for two more seasons on Tuesday. "It may have been the first time I said it, but I've always thought it," he said.

The Heisman Trophy finalist declined to enter the 2011 NFL Draft to the surprise of many. He announced on January 6 that he'd return to Stanford to complete his degree in Architectural Design even after head coach Jim Harbaugh left to coach the San Francisco 49ers. "I've been very happy," Luck said. "I haven't had any regrets."

Luck finished second to Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton in balloting for the award last December. He said the lockout that curbed Newton's preseason learning curve with the Carolina Panthers was "a bummer."


Contributed by The Sports XChange



Posted on: May 3, 2011 8:35 pm
 

Finding the Fits -- The Quarterbacks


Over the next two weeks I will be highlighting a different position each day in an attempt to Find the Fit -- identifying 2011 prospects who are a particularly good schematic fits for the club that selected him. I'll also highlight one player per position who I believe could struggle in his new NFL role. Too often in the past rookies who have struggled in the NFL have done so because they were simply drafted into schemes that didn't fit their individual strengths.

Considering their importance to the game and the number of high profile passers who went early in the 2011 Draft, I'm starting off with the quarterbacks.

Players are listed alphabetically, not in the order in which I see their fit with their respective teams.

Good Fits:

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers:
I will be the first to admit that I have not been as high on Kaepernick as many others are, but there is no denying that he was drafted into an ideal scenario with the 49ers and head coach Jim Harbaugh. Kaepernick has rare physical tools, as well as the intelligence and work ethic to be successful. Kaepernick's elongated throwing motion, however, is a concern of mine. I had reservations about it and know that some teams did too. I believe that when a club asks a quarterback to significantly alter their throwing motion it lessens the likelihood of the quarterback ever having success, which is one of the reasons why Kaepernick's fit with an NFL team was so important. The 49ers and Harbaugh, however, don't appear concerned with the hitch in his delivery . Harbaugh is widely credited with developing Andrew Luck's natural talents and preaches an offense that spreads the field and occassionally allows the quarterback the freedom to run -- all of which bode well for the former Nevada passer. Perhaps best of all, as a 2nd round pick, Kaepernick might be afforded the luxury of time to develop.

Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans: Assuming the Titans re-sign veteran Kerry Collins or add another veteran quarterback, Locker is in a position to succeed. Though a four-year starter at UW, he is not yet ready to make the jump into the NFL, as only his final two seasons were in a pro-style offense. His time spent at Washington under then-head coach Tyrone Willingham, was essentially spent as a running back taking snaps from center -- just as it was for him in high school. However, Locker has shown improvement in his technique since the season, leading many to believe that he is just scratching the surface of his potential. Furthermore, he is a nice fit in this scheme. Think about what the Titans do well... They feature the ultra-athletic Chris Johnson on the stretch play. A quarterback capable of bootlegs and play-action off of Johnson's runs will be successful.

Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings: While many jumped on the Christian Ponder bandwagon following the Senior Bowl or the Combine, I've been touting the FSU passer for quite some time and believe that he was the most pro-ready passer in this draft. It doesn't surprise me, quite frankly, that Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier believes Ponder could be his opening day starter. Ponder has the intelligence to pick up Bill Musgrave's offense quickly, especially since many of Musgrave's West Coast Offensive principles tie in with what Ponder played with at FSU. Though Ponder doesn't have a big arm, his short to intermediate level accuracy, touch down the seam, and confidence in play-action make him a good schematic fit for the Vikings' run-heavy attack and focus on quick screens to take advantage of Percy Harvin's unique talent.

Questionable Fit:

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: Okay, you may have seen this coming, considering the fact that many have concerns about how well the No. 1 overall pick will be able to transition from a spread-option offense that was so perfectly suited to his wonderful athletic tools to Rob Chudzinski's multiple-formation, vertical-passing attack. I have no doubt that the Panthers already have a plan in place to cater their offense around Newton's unique skill-set, but this is a complicated scheme for any quarterback to master, much less a rookie. I do not have the concerns about intelligence or leadership that some others seem to have about Newton. I understand the physical comparisonst to Vince Young, but believe the mental toughness Newton demonstrated in fighting through all of the off-field distractions this season more than prove his ability to focus on game-day. I also like the talent around Newton in Carolina -- along the offensive line, running back and at receiver. I just have real reservations about any passer with only one year of starting experience at the D-I level making the jump to the NFL... and unlike the other players mentioned in this post, Newton won't have the luxury of time. The high price and attention of the No. 1 overall pick will almost certainly force the Panthers to play him immediately.
Posted on: March 23, 2011 7:48 pm
 

SF coach Jim Harbaugh gushes about Cam Newton

New 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged during his interview with the media at the Owners' Meetings that he had to be careful because he didn't want to give too much information away.

And then, he promptly gushed about Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, who conceivably could be on the board for the 49ers with the seventh overall pick.

Asked if there was more value in quarterbacks with mobility, Harbaugh, at first provided the more generic answer we're all used to NFL head coaches providing.

“Yeah, the ability to make people miss as a quarterback is critical. Avoid. Being able to go with your legs. We’ve got some quarterbacks in this draft like Cam Newton and (Blaine) Gabbert in particular, and Jake Locker that not only will make people miss and avoid people, but they can run and keep defenses out of certain coverages, which is quite the trait to have. And they can pick up first downs with their legs, keep the chains moving."

Nothing too flashy there, but then Harbaugh went on.

“And Cam Newton – that’s plutonium-grade raw material, you know? I haven’t seen upside like with this guy in probably the last 10 years.“

If Harbaugh is to be believed, it sounds like Newton isn't likely to slip past the 49ers should he still be on the board.
Posted on: November 16, 2009 12:46 pm
 

Even at #14, Stanford remains underrated

Many outside of the Pac-10 might have been surprised by Stanford's back to back wins over Oregon and USC. Those who have been paying attention to Jim Harbaugh's ascending program, however, weren't surprised at all.

Jim Harbaugh has characterized his redshirt freshman quarterback, Andrew Luck, as "the best quarterback in the country" and Luck's performance against the Ducks and Trojans (5 combined TDs, zero turnovers) serve as some evidence that Harbaugh's claim isn't as far off as one might think. The 6-4, 235 pound Luck, in fact, looks every bit the part of a future first round choice.

Unlike many of the past Pac-10 offenses, however, this offense isn't built around the passing game. This is an offense built around a punishing downhill rushing attack forged by Toby Gerhart and a stout offensive line. It is an offense that has scored a combined 106 points against the Ducks and Trojans, not because of gimmick or trickery, but fundmantally sound play up front and a brand of physicality most wouldn't associate with Stanford.

The defense, though rarely given much credit for Stanford's success, has been the very definition of a bend, but don't break unit. The senior-laden unit is stout at the point of attack, protecting a lack of elite athleticism throughout much of the back seven.

At 7-3, the Cardinals remain a game behind Oregon in the Pac-10 standings. They face explosive offenses in their final two games (California, Notre Dame), but with tough games also on the docket for Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona (the other teams contending for the Pac-10 crown), Stanford remains in the Rose Bowl hunt... and I believe this team, on a neutral field, would beat Ohio State.



 
 
 
 
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