CFB Notes, Week 3

Pittsburgh-Virginia Tech

I flipped between TCU-Kansas and this game, and didn't get a good look at anyone but Logan Thomas. Not a very good game. From a physical standpoint, he's the complete package. He's big, strong, has a great arm, and shows very good accuracy. He scanned the field versus Pitt, going through progressions, so I'm not sure exactly where the criticism of him for that comes from. He made some bad throws, though the three interceptions is misleading to how Thomas played. One of his interceptions was an overthrow, and a bad one. Another was miscommunication: he threw deep and the receiver broke off his route, and the ball went to the FS. The third was a deflection. He does have a bit of a misleading over the top delivery that looks like his release point is off, but the ball come out on time and mostly accurately. Pitt's defense confused him today, but in general, he looks like a really good future QB prospect with huge upside.

Ray Graham is the typical Pitt runner we've seen for nearly a decade: short, undersized, great vision and movement skills, but more of an outside threat than a between-the-tackle grinder.


Flipping between games, I only got a real good look at the QBs (though I've got the game DVR'd and will go back and rewatch at some point). Dayne Crist looked bad. He got every skills that a QB could have. Arm, check. Accuracy, check. Size, check. Ability to handle pressure, nope. He crumpled in every situation where he needed to make a good throw. Not a fan at this point, though it was only one game.

I liked Casey Pachall. He looked well balanced, threw on time with good velocity, and knew exactly where to go with the ball. He's a big kid with a lot of potential... he's a junior at TCU, so I don't expect him to be on anyones radar until next year.


If you're just scanning box scores, Tyler Bray had an average game, somewhat similar to Thomas. That wasn't the case. He played well. As a team, the Volunteer team had too many penalties, drops, and mental miscues (see the Volunteer's first second half drive). Bray had a lot of throw aways and incompletions that were receiver misreads, and the penalties put the offense in some bad down and distance situations. I counted at least eight throws where Bray just threw it away, which accounts for the unusually low completion percentage. That said, Bray's first interception was a misread, and he looked very jittery early on. He got hit as he threw on the second interception. Everyone knows about the arm, showed pretty good accuracy tonight. Very accurate throwing deep. Puts the ball exactly where it needs to be on long passes. Throws off his back foot too much - his first interception was off his back foot. Trusts his arm WAY too much and puts the ball into bad spots by taking chances - but the upside is that he's got the arm to pull it off most of the time. Makes pro throws that most college QBs don't even attempt. When he sets his feet and fires, can put the ball anywhere he wants to. Throws the back shoulder like a pro. Reads the defense well, ran a pro offense, and looks good in the shotgun and from under center. Will throw the ball away when the play isn't there rather than forcing the ball. Leadership skills were evident from some of the footage of him on the sideline, rallying his team. He's from California, and actually sounds like Trent Edwards in interviews, but he's not shy about getting on teammates, and there was no questioning who was in charge of the Volunteer offense. Those that scout via the box score comes to the conclusion that Bray had a bad game. Bray played well in this game.

Tennessee's receivers are pro quality, and probably better than USCs, who I previously thought had the best receiving duo. The Volunteer receivers remind me of AJ Green and Julio Jones. Justin Hunter plays the AJ Green role. He's wiry, tall, fast, and catches the ball well. He can get deep and high point the ball. Very refined route runner - does a lot of the small things well route running, using the jab step effectively and using double moves. He's a top-ten receiver for me, a lot like Green. Needs to add some muscle.

Cordarrelle Patterson reminds me of Terrell Owens. He's a thickly built, explosive receiver that can get deep or play the catch-and-run game. Does everything a team would want. Can take the top off the defense vertically, or play catch-and-run. Can take a slant over the middle and make the catch in traffic, then fight through defenders to gain yardage. A JUCO transfer that still hasn't grasped the mental aspects of major college football, and makes too many mental mistakes. A true threat on reverses.

Rajion Neal is a typical Tennessee back: low center of gravity, short, gets good yardage between the tackles, and can grind out a game for a team. Not super special in any regard, but could be a good reserve.

Daniel McCullers could be Michael Jasper's younger brother. He's listed as 6-6/377. Tennessee plays him at NT in their 3-4 defense. Just at a glance, he looks like Ted Washington in the sense that he's so much bigger than the center that he's playing against. A replay from Florida's backfield was telling of his size: from the view of QB, you could see his orange uniform around the outside of the center. He needed to be double teamed almost all game, though he's not going to penetrate much.

Tennessee has Dallas Thomas playing left guard, and he doesn't look out of place. Good movement skills for such a big guy. Tennessee pulls him on traps regularly, and he gets out in front of the runner well. Not a tremendous drive blocker. Good pass blockers that plays with a lot of leverage, and looks like he gets down in his stance pretty well. I don't like him as a LG in pass protection though. He gets in front of the DT well, but gets pushed back. I'm not sure if he's a LT, I need to see more, since he's playing LG now.

Trey Burton probably makes the NFL as an H-Back. He's not a QB at this point. He does have an elite skill set for a TE/RB in my mind. He's got great movement skills for a big guy, can catch and can run. I like him as a better version of Dorin Dickerson. Florida uses him at TE, but he can run dedicated runs from the backfield. Almost like another Aaron Hernandez with better running skills.

Shariff Floyd is kind of a wacky prospect to evaluate. Physically, he looks like a three-technique DT, but when he plays, that's not what he is. He's not that explosive off the football, and gets pushed away from the play on run downs when he's at DT. Even on passing downs, from the DT position, he isn't explosive off the ball, and gets stood up by guards and centers. Florida shifts between a 3-4 and 4-3, and sometimes they have him playing as a 3-4 DE. He's not 4-3 DE fast, but if he's not the outside guy, and can counter inside, he's pretty good. I think Barnes might be a 3-4 DE a la Ziggy Hood.

I think Jeff Driskell is the next great college QB. Here's a bold statement: given the opportunity to have any QB in college right now, I'd take Driskell. I saw every skill I needed to see in this game: hyper-accurate, great arm, throwing on the run, reading through progressions, made good decisions under pressure, great mobility for his size, strength, pocket presence, poised, stood up in the face of the rush, runs a pro offense some of the time, footwork looked clean, plays under center, pass drops look good, toughness, etc. I really liked what I saw. Driskell's touchdown throw to Jordan Reed in the third quarter was his best play: play action fake that developed into a strike on the corner route. He stepped into the throw and threw it perfectly even though he was about to get drilled by two Volunteer defenders. He's only a sophomore, and this is his first year starting, but he looks very refined and does a lot of the little things well. I called Andrew Luck three years ago after I saw him against Arizona State in a late night game. I'm calling Driskell now. He's a future star.


Matt Barkley looks horrible tonight. Stanford is getting pressure over the center and disrupting his timing, and he looks rattled. I don't think Barkley has the arm strength to play in any NFL city, and it's showing tonight. Barkley is completing passes, but he's not rifling the ball into his receivers with a ton of velocity, and his receivers aren't getting the ball with enough time to do anything. Barkley's accuracy has struggled, though he's made some real good throws too. I don't consider Barkley on the same level as Andrew Luck or RGIII.

Khalid Holmes, USC's injured center, was missed tonight. Most of Stanford's pressure came up the middle.

If Robert Woods is available when Buffalo picks, I'd be OK with the selection. He's not the ultra-tall receiver that Nix prefers, but he's explosive and can play outside and take the top off the defense. He's very explosive in and out of his breaks, and gets open all over. Though he didn't do anything ultra-special tonight, I've seen Woods twice this season, and I think he's a 1st round vertical threat.

Josh Nunes had a coming out part in the second half. Good arm, smart, plays within the system. Got the ball to his receives on time, at the right spot, and with good velocity regularly in the second half. Looks a lot like Andrew Luck did three years ago when I first saw him play against Arizona State. Stanford QBs are hard to evaluate because of their system. Someone to watch in the future.

I'll take either Stanford tight end. Zach Ertz is the pass threat. He's not quite the flex threat that Coby Fleener was, but he's similar in skill set. Gets good separation - he got open against USC consistently. He looked like a wide receiver at times with his movement. Ertz is used as the outside tight end when Stanford goes 3 or 4 tight ends. He's a positional blocker, not a great drive blocker.

Levine Toilolo reminds me of Rob Gronkowski. He's bigger than Gronkowski (6-8/260-270). He's not quite the mover that Gronkowski is, but he runs well for his size, and is nearly an identical threat to Gronkowski in terms of target size and ability to make tough grabs in traffic. Toilolo is a better inline blocker than Gronkowski was in college. He consistently drove USC ends off the ball, and pops into contact. 2nd round prospect for me, but could go higher. A game changer at the next level, more so that at Stanford, where the conservative offense doesn't feature him.

Stanford's Shayne Skov and Chase Thomas are the Chris Kelsey's for Stanford: great hustle, always in the right position, but not winning with skills. Both looked good, but neither does anything great. Thomas is nearly completely straight-line, with just average speed and change of direction skills. He's a strongside 3-4 OLB for me, and a run-down type at that. Skov plays hard, but he's a run plugging 3-4 ILB that comes off the field on passing downs.

If Buffalo is looking for a 3rd RB that can eventually replace Fred Jackson and compliment CJ Spiller, they would do well with Stepfan Taylor. He's a little pinball of a back with good vision and a whole lot of try hard. Gets a lot of tough yards. My only concern is his college workload... Stanford runs him like a 1980's feature back.

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of

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