Josh Norris

Weekly Prospect Matchups

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Week Ten Matchup Preview

Friday, November 02, 2012

7:00 pm EST on Fox
Oregon at USC

Can anyone stop this Oregon offense? The Trojans will try their best and although they may lack the brand name talent of recent years, their defense is smaller and more mobile compared to former iterations. RB Kenjon Barner (#24/5’11/195) is the veteran member of the offense but his straight-line speed makes the defense look childish. Barner loves to angle towards the sideline and out run defenses there, so make note on if he feels comfortable sticking between the tackles. Last year, DE Wes Horton (#96/6’5/265) did not look like a football player on the field, showing terrible instincts and vision, but this year has been an improvement. Perhaps that has to do with the emergence of junior DE Morgan Breslin (#91/6’2/250), who started very strong but has dropped his consistency in recent weeks. Although he technically does not start, T Kyle Long (#74/6’7/311) will see plenty of action and has worked himself into being a likely late-round selection. The keys defensively may come with the Trojans back half taking proper angles and not allowing the big play over top. S T.J. McDonald (#7/6’2/205) is a big hitter that has chosen not to change his game, but that kind of style has gotten him into trouble position wise. He starts next to S Jawanza Starling (#29/6’1/195), who sits deeper in coverage.

In recent years, Oregon has had to rely on their offense to outscore opponents. However, this Ducks roster boasts a very talented defense that can match up with many teams due to their length and versatility. The unit is led by OLB/DE Dion Jordan (#96/6’6/246), who sees snaps as an edge rusher but note how comfortable he looks in space while in coverage. It is outstanding and unique to see a player with his length locked up with a slot receiver. The Trojans start junior T Kevin Graf (#77/6’6/300) on the right side and a true freshman Max Tuerk at LT. On the interior, DT Wade Keliikipi (#92/6’3/300) will battle with C Khaled Holmes (#78/6’3/310), who has returned from an ankle injury. Holmes projects to a slanting, zone blocking scheme, so getting to the second level will be critical. Junior RB Silas Redd (#25/5’10/209) has really struggled with fumbles at critical times this season, and heady junior OLB Kiko Alonso (#47/6’4/240) will surely being keying on ball security. In the air QB Matt Barkley (#7/6’2/218) has the top receiver in college football in sophomore Marqise Lee and heavily relies on junior WR Robert Woods (#2/6’1/184) on routes close to the line of scrimmage. With Jordan possibly covering the slot and the line of scrimmage, this Trojans offense will be interesting to watch. Junior S Avery Patterson (#21/5’10/175) has played exceptional football as of late, so expect to see him flying around the field.

More Oregon Prospects
FS John Boyett (#20/5’10/202) injured
OG Carson York (6’5/292) hurt
P Jackson Rice (#49/6’3/225)
G Nick Cody (#61/6’5/302) hurt
junior WR Josh Huff (#1/5’11/207)
OLB Michael Clay (#46/5’11/225)
junior DL Taylor Hart (#66/6’5/285)
DT Ricky Heimuli (#90/6’4/321)
redshirt sophomore CB Terrance Mitchell (#27/6’0/189)

More USC Prospects
S Drew McAllister (#19/6’1/205)
RB Curtis McNeal (#22/5’7/182)
junior CB Nickell Robey (#21/5’8/172)
junior G John Martinez (#59/6’2/302)

8:00 pm EST on CBS
Alabama at LSU

As always, it is difficult to not start with the Alabama ground and pound attack. Despite the lack of accolades, we consider G Chance Warmack (#65/6’2/323) to be the Tide’s best prospect. C Barrett Jones (#75/6’4/305) and junior T D.J. Fluker(#76/6’6/335) draw more attention, but the entire unit works to create push. The forgotten fourth man, perhaps rightfully so, is junior G Anthony Steen (#61/6’3/303). All four will be needed against a very talented LSU front four that offers some impactful depth. Warmack will be dealing with penetrating junior DTBennie Logan (#18/6’3/295) who uses quick footwork to split gaps and disrupt in the backfield. Although overshadowed, senior DT Josh Downs (#77/6’1/287) will get looks from NFL teams. The real battle is on the edge, as the heavy footed Fluker could have trouble with the speed of starting junior LDE Barkevious Mingo (#49/6’4/240), whose frame is still developing but he already shows nice strength to shed and close quickly. He and junior DE Sam Montgomery (#99/6’5/260) rotate sides often, depending on the strength of the formation. He does not start, but DE LaVar Edwards (#89/6’5/264) would see far more steps at nearly any other program. Edwards has turned into a real gem this season, offering more power to push than his counterparts and should be a late-round selection in April. The Crimson Tide are a running team, first and foremost, so bulling junior RB Eddie Lacy (#42/5’10/220) will work with the holes he’s given and punish tacklers at the second level. He and junior ILB Kevin Minter (#46/6’1/245) will surely get to know each other quite often Saturday, so be sure to note who wins that matchup within the first three yards of the line of scrimmage. Even if the Tigers limit the damage on the ground, junior QB AJ McCarron (#10/6’3/210) has broken his “game manager” label. McCarron has easily been the most consistent of the junior quarterbacks this season, working in the confines of the pocket and picking up yards on second and third targets. The downfield battle to watch will be between TE Michael Williams (#89/6’5/272) and ultra athletic junior FS Eric Reid (#1/6’2/212). Williams is one of the few true inline tight ends but has shown more physical receiving ability this season. Reid will need to be cautious about Williams underneath as well as not giving up the big play over the top. That kind of lost positioning has hurt the junior this season.

LSU’s offense has really been hurting this season, especially up front. RT Alex Hurst (#72/6’6/332) took some time off a few weeks ago for personal reasons while junior LT Chris Faulk (#76/6’5/323) is out for the year. That leaves former guard turned LT Josh Dworaczyk (#68/6’6/301) to start on the blind side. Expect the veteran trio of DE Damion Square (#92/6’3/282), junior DE Ed Stinson (#49/6’4/282), and DE Quinton Dial (#90/6’5/304) to push the gaps with strength and technique. The biggest issue with LSU junior QB Zach Mettenberger (#8/6’5/230) is that he is an absolute statue and lacks the mobility to execute throws when the play or line breaks down. He struggles most with interior pressure, so NT Jesse Williams (#54/6’3/320) could wreak havoc by showing off his extended range for a typical nose. Alabama junior LB C.J. Mosley (#32/6’2/232) has become one of the nation’s best at the position in a short amount of time due to his improvement against the run. Mosley always had the speed and range in coverage, but now he is the full package. Junior RBs Spencer Ware (#11/5’11/225) and Michael Ford (#42/5’10/215) offer some power to their steps, but LB Nico Johnson (#35/6’2/245) will be there to put a stop to that forward momentum. Also, pay attention to where S Robert Lester (#37/6’2/212) is aligned, whether it be in the box or as a single high safety, it could help dictate coverage on the outside.

More Alabama Prospects
junior CB Dee Milliner (#28/6’1/198)
junior H-back Jalston Fowler (#45/6’0/242) out
WR Kevin Norwood (#83/6’1/195)

More LSU Prospects
Junior RB Alfred Blue (#4/6’1/220) out
WR Russell Shepard (#10/6’0/195)

Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris

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