The college football season is now fully entrenched as Power 5 conference play begins to round into form. The slate for Week 4 is highlighted by a trio of ranked matchups starting at noon with an ACC Atlantic matchup between No. 5 Clemson and No. 21 Wake Forest. Both programs have plenty of ACC championship hopes this season, but Clemson and Wake both face their first true test of the year on Saturday afternoon. Twentieth-ranked Florida travels to No. 11 Tennessee for an SEC showdown. Florida has plenty to prove after nearly getting nicked two weeks in a row. Tennesee looks to show they’re a proven product for the first time in a long time within the SEC. Tenth-ranked Arkansas and No. 23 Texas A&M will meet in a neutral site contest—a game that will go a long way towards proving who’s real and who isn’t in the SEC West. There are plenty of prospect matchups to watch this week with more competitive games. Drop your thoughts and questions on prospects or games in the comments section. Now, let’s dive into some of those prospects!
Arky’s High Powered Offense vs. Texas A&M’s Defense
QB K.J. Jefferson & WR Jadon Haselwood vs CB Jaylon Jones, S Antonio Johnson, & S Demani Richardson
When Arkansas’ offense is on the field, there’s a lot of talent on the field. The Hawgs boast a star center and potential Rimington Award winner in Ricky Stromberg as well as toolsy quarterback K.J. Jefferson at the heart of their offense. Often lining up next to Jefferson is explosive underclassman and 2024 draft-eligible running back Raheim “Rocket” Sanders. Wide receiver Jadon Haselwood is a former five-star recruit and Oklahoma transfer who’s finding production early on in the 2022 season.
Lining up against the offense—a unit that’s already produced 1,500 yards through three performances is the Aggies, with a veteran-laden defensive backfield. But, while talented, the defense is extremely young on the frontline. Long, rangy cornerback Jaylon Jones put up a commendable performance against Miami last week. Speaking of long and rangy—safety Antonio Johnson is a freak at safety for the Aggies. You’re likely to see him all over the field whether it’s matching up with tight ends and receivers in the slot or capping the top of the defense as a post safety.
Ohio State’s high-powered offense vs. Jim Leonhard’s Mind
QB C.J. Stroud, OT Dawand Jones, OT Paris Johnson, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State)
We haven’t talked much about scheme matchups in these previews yet this season, but this matchup is too good to pass up that opportunity. Ohio State has the highest-potential offense in the country, boasting blue-chip bookends at offensive tackle as well as a potential No. 1 overall pick calling signals for the Buckeyes. Not to mention—Ohio State has the best stable of receivers in the country, without question.
In a battle of talent vs scheme, talent tends to win in college football. Certain skill gaps tend to show limitations towards some of the best coaches at lower levels of the college game. But Jim Leonhard is a bit of a different cat.
Leonhard will mix in 3-4 fronts in run looks and a package called “Peso” on passing downs. The latter allows for two down linemen with a pair of standup rushers. In “Peso,” the stand-up rushers tend to be versatile linebackers rather than pure downhill pass rushers, while the interior linemen tend to be edge rushers in their 3-4—while the nose tackle is taken off the field entirely.
In this front look, Leonhard’s attempting to do whatever he can to confuse offensive linemen and put their communication to the test. Running simulated pressures and “creepers” is a commonality in the “Peso” front. The unique, athletic four showing rush allow for a mashup of the best games you can run on a defensive front. While a nickel corner or linebacker acts as a blitzer or looper, one of the four on the front can drop into a spot drop zone or even match (depending on the player dropping into coverage).
When watching the game, pay attention to what Leonhard tries to do to Stroud and the offensive line to confuse them and attempt to keep the Badgers in the game just a little bit longer.
Of course, in the end, it’s likely the Buckeyes host of future first-rounders on offense win out regardless of how well Leonhard draws it up.
What Leonhard has done at #Wisconsin is make the complex simple— Cody Alexander (@The_Coach_A) November 18, 2021
He's taken a path like BREES & packaged it similar to how Os package a play like CTR or ZN to appear like different things
Start w/ 2 directions: Fld & Bnd then give it rules - to RB, to open, to TE, etc.#ArtofX pic.twitter.com/zXyZ4GhzeH
QB Anthony Richardson watch is back on (Not in a good way)
Florida is in a tough spot after starting the season with a huge win against Utah in “The Swamp.” Richardson showed marvelous flashes and looked like the player everyone wanted him to be—making highlight plays and showing off every trait imaginable. But things have quickly turned sour for Richardson after a loss, whih was given away due to a pick-six against Kentucky and a constant struggle against a weak South Florida defense.
Despite the hype of Week 1, Richardson is yet to throw a touchdown in the 2022 season. Each game looks like a continuous mental struggle for him to read defenses. He’s thrown two picks in each of the last two outings while throwing for under 150 yards in both performances where the games were close. Lazy feet and an unfamiliarity with reading defenses is proving to be a large issue. Even his legs aren’t working for him at this point in the season, which should spark concern regarding his preparedness for the NFL. The 2023 NFL Draft hopeful is looking more and more realistically like a 2024 selection. His development hasn’t fared well despite glimmers of hope. A huge opportunity against Tennessee awaits for Richardson and the Gators this weekend.
Anthony Richardson?????????? pic.twitter.com/wE8rxSAYVj— @ (@FTBeard7) September 18, 2022
Game of the Week
No. 10 Arkansas vs. No. 23 Texas A&M
Saturday, 7:00 PM Eastern
Texas A&M is featured in the game of the week for a second straight time. There’s a lot of talent to work with for this team despite a decent amount of offensive struggles. On the opposite sideline, Arkansas has fielded an imposing offense despite the loss of first-round receiver Treylon Burks to the 2022 NFL Draft.
Running back Devon Achane and wideout/Swiss army knife Ainias Smith are the playmakers for the Aggies while Layden Robinson is an exciting player who continues to anchor the interior. He had a number of impressive blocks on Miami’s front last week and he’ll look to continue that effort against the Razorbacks.
Drew Sanders is a feature player for the ‘Hogs after starting safety Jalen Catalon went down with an injury earlier in the season. Sanders is a transfer from Alabama who continues to make noise as a stack linebacker and pass rusher.