Tag:Mark Ingram
Posted on: March 1, 2010 12:54 pm

Ben Tate deserves a closer look

Ben Tate has a legitimate gripe about not getting more national attention.

With all of the attention heaped upon Mark Ingram, Dexter McCluster and Anthony Dixon, few around the country realize how effective he was for the Tigers this season. His 1,362 yards in 2009 were the fourth highest single-season-total in Auburn history.

And remember... Auburn has quite the history of running backs (Bo Jackson, Cadillac Williams, James Brooks, Stephen Davis, Ronnie Brown, etc.)

Tate is once again likely to be overlooked, as the talking heads will be talking more about CJ Spiller and Jahvid Best's speed than anything else in the days following the running back workouts. However, look at what he accomplished in Indianapolis:

Bench Press: #1 of all RB's; 26 Reps of 225 lbs
Broad Jump: #1 of all RB's; 10'4"
Vertical Jump: #2 of all RB's; 40'5"
40 Yard Dash: #3 of all RB's; 4.43 seconds

Tate seemed to predict his success in an interview with the Opelika Auburn News a few days before his strong workout at the Combine.

 “There’s nothing more important than what you do on the field,” Tate said. “But if there’s someone close to you who has similar numbers and you all are being seen as equal-type players, these numbers you put up at the combine can make a big difference. “They can leapfrog you over a couple guys that are almost the same type of running back.”

Considering his production at the Combine, as well as the more important numbers he put up when in a system that fit his downhill rushing style with the Tigers, Tate should be rising up draft boards.

Posted on: January 7, 2010 7:54 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2010 10:27 am

Which Kindle shows up tonight?

One of the more hotly contested prospects in the entire country, Texas DE/OLB Sergio Kindle, will have an opportunity tonight to establish himself as a legitimate first round pick -- or potentially slip in the mid to late portion of the second round.

The 6-4, 255 pound Kindle is as quick off the snap as any defensive end in the country and generates even greater momentum around the corner due to his straight-line speed. He's effective against the run, especially when chasing down ball-carriers from the backside. He's fluid enough that teams operating out of the 3-4 alignment are intrigued not only by speed as a pass rusher, but his agility in coverage, as well.

However, for as athletic as he is, Kindle is a frustrating player to scout, as he doesn't locate the ball well enough or use his hands to fight through blocks. This is one of the primary reasons why Texas credits him with 31 QB hurries entering this contest, but only 3 sacks.  He's like several other potential DE-OLB converts in this class (Clemson's Ricky Sapp and NC State's Wille Young are others) who can dominate for a play or two, only to disappear for long stretches.

With their focus on the run game, Alabama likely won't give Kindle as many opportunities to show off his speed rushing the passer as many of the pass-heavy Big 12 teams have this season. How Kindle is able to handle Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and the Tide's power running game -- especially when they elect to run directly at him -- could be the hidden factor that determines the National Championship, as well as how NFL scouts project Kindle at the next level.

Posted on: December 6, 2009 3:17 am
Edited on: December 11, 2009 11:15 am

Suh the conscionable Heisman choice

As my previous post reported, I spent much of my Saturday at the Washington-Cal game. While writing the post, however, I've been scouting the Big 12 Championship game between Texas and Nebraska.

I've long held the belief that Colt McCoy would win the Heisman this year. I've maintained for even longer, however, that Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh should win it.

After scouting this game, however, I simply cannot understand how any Heisman voter with a conscience could possibly give their vote to McCoy over Suh. Sure, McCoy's team won. But he struggled for most of this contest, throwing three interceptions and zero touchdowns. Suh, on the other hand, racked up 12 tackles, 7 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. No defense had sacked McCoy four times in one game this year and Suh accomplished that feat, himself...

For the season, despite being double or triple teamed on nearly every snap, Suh led the Blackshirts with 82 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He broke up 10 passes and blocked 3 kicks.

The fact that Reggie Bush is the only non-QB to have won the Heisman this decade is simply proof that many of today's Heisman voters are focusing more on the BCS standings and gaudy touchdown pass totals to judge which player deserves the award.

On the behalf of college football fans across the world, Heisman voters, I challenge you with proving that the greatest individual honor in sports hasn't become a joke.

For a change, lets award the best player in the country the honor supposed to be bestowed upon the best player in the country... even if he plays defense and isn't in a BCS bowl game.  

Award the Heisman Trophy to Ndamukong Suh.

(And if acknowleding the dominance of a defensive player is just too much to ask, for goodness sakes, take a look at what running backs CJ Spiller, Mark Ingram and Toby Gerhart have done this year)

Posted on: December 6, 2009 2:43 am

Few saw it, but Locker as good as anyone today

There were several dominant individual performances across the college football landscape Saturday -- Ndamukong Suh's 12 tackles, 7 TFL, 4.5 sacks, Mardy Gilyard's 374 all-purpose yards and 2 TDs, CJ Spiller's 233 rushing yards and 4 TDs and Mark Ingram's 113 rushing yards and 3 TDs chief among them.

With each coming on a national stage, the efforts will almost surely earn the recognition they deserve.

With no BCS bowls on the line and only regional television coverage, few had the opportunity to watch Cal-Washington. Few outside of the Berkeley and Seattle campuses likely would have turned these games on over the Big 12 or ACC Championships anyway. Hell, I'll admit it, there were moments when I, too, thought I was crazy for not tuning in to the monster games of the day rather than recording them. 

However, with the hype surrounding Locker's upcoming decision on whether to return for his senior season or leave early for the NFL increasing dramatically, I wanted to watch him in person. And so, on the biggest day of the "regular" season, I trusted the DVD players to cover the championship games and went to scout the only player I feel should warrant consideration over Suh and (potentially) Oklahoma junior DT Gerald McCoy for the NFL draft.

While I've certainly acknowledged Locker's upside in the past, I've also questioned his consistency and readiness for the NFL. One dominant performance does not prove he's either consistent or ready, his performance, however, was indeed dominant on this day...

And the NFL general managers who happened to be sitting only a few seats away from me in the Washington press box saw the same thing.

Locker is the most naturally gifted quarterback in the country. On a day when the most hyped senior quarterbacks -- Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow and Tony Pike -- threw for a collective TD to INT ratio of 4-7, Locker was spectacular. In this era of spread offenses, we've come to expect efficiency and gaudy statistics from highly touted passers. However, what made Jake Locker's 19 of 23 performance for 248 yards and 3 passing touchdowns (as well as 14 rushes for 77 yards and 2 TDs) was the variety of passes he completed. Imagine the throw and Locker made it tonight: the prototypical deep out from the opposite hash (check), the quick slant against man coverage (check), the tricky sluggo (check), hitting the tight end down the seam (check), wheel route to the outside (check), pure go-route (check).

I, and most NFL scouts I've spoken with, would like to see Locker return for his senior season. If he returns, I anticipate he'll enter next season as my highest rated prospect for the 2011 draft.

If the win over Cal was, indeed, Locker's final game for the Huskies, it was eerily similar in its efficiency and dominance as the one put forth last year by Mark Sanchez in the Rose Bowl against Penn State. That performance, of course, was key to Sanchez's dramatic rise up draft boards and ultimately to being the #5 overall choice --  similar to where I expect Locker to end up whenever he should make himself eligible for the draft.
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