by Greg Doyle
The college season zooms along this Saturday with one upset already in the books, with South Florida beating #5 West Virginia on Friday night. Let’s take a look at some of the top games this week and the players to focus on.
Oklahoma at Colorado (1:30 PM Fox Sports Network): Oklahoma is off to a great 4-0 start, winning by an average of 50 per game. It’s unlikely Colorado can keep up with them, but they are improved so they should keep it within 40 or so. Oklahoma only starts four seniors total, so this team could be a powerhouse for a few years.
Oklahoma RB Allen Patrick (#23): A shifty, smallish running back who is averaging 9.0 yards a carry. Splits time and only comes in at 190 lbs, but he is elusive and quick. Doesn’t appear to be a full-time back and hasn’t caught many passes or returned kicks, so that will hurt him. Still, he has talent and has the ability and athleticism to learn those skills. If he shows some pass catching ability at the All-Star games and the combine, the Patriots could look at him as a Kevin Faulk replacement type.
Oklahoma WR Malcolm Kelly (#4): He is only a junior, but one of the most talented receivers in college football so he could end up in the draft. He has it all, size (6’4″ 217), good speed and great hands. Incredibly dangerous around the end zone where he knows how to use his size to get the ball. Had 10 touchdowns last year and already has 7 in 17 catches this year. That surely will interest the Patriots.
Oklahoma DE Alonzo Dotson (#91): The name Alonzo always reminds me of “Midnight Run” for some reason. Agent Alonzo Mosely. In any event, Dotson is a first-year starter with limited experience. He has outside linebacker size at 6’3″ 252 and has 3 sacks already in his first extended playing time, so he is showing some potential. If he can demonstrate speed and the ability to play up, perhaps the Patriots might consider him as a second day guy they can convert to linebacker.
Colorado LB Jordon Dizon (#44): An extremely productive linebacker who racked up 130 tackles last year and is off to a very fast start again this year. A leader on defense, but probably too small for the Patriots at 6’0″ 225 lbs. Still, he’ll probably be the type of high energy player who sticks with someone in the NFL.
Colorado CB Terrence Wheatley (#26): A top-notch corner with a knack for big interceptions. He’ll play for someone on Sundays, despite his smallish size. Has 4.37 speed and was 1st Team All-Big 12 last year. Can return kicks and somewhat reminds of Ellis Hobbs.
USC at Washington (8:00 PM ABC): The #1 Trojans travel to Washington in a Pac-10 game that should feature a lot of scoring. Washington nearly pulled the upset last year, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can hang in there again this year as they are improved.
USC QB John David Booty (#10): Of course any discussion of USC begins with Heisman candidate Booty. Has all the tools, but also is surrounded by great talent. He has more natural ability than previous USC Heisman QB Matt Leinart. Off to a fast start this year completing 70% of his passes with 9 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions.
USC RB Chauncey Washington (#23): USC’s leading runner last year when he ran for over 700 yards, he is only third on the team so far this season. USC rotates backs a lot, still Washington has 128 yards and 5.5 a carry. Talented, fairly big runner who will probably be drafted. Never been a dominant college player, but has talent. Has had some academic problems.
USC LB Thomas Williams (#41): Hey, the Patriots picked one USC backup linebacker last draft in Oscar Lua, maybe they’ll do it again. The fact is Williams is a talented guy with NFL size at linebacker (6’3″ 242) but trapped behind perhaps the best trio of college linebackers ever to play together (Brian Cushing, Rey Mauluga and Keith Rivers). Did start 6 games his sophomore year and played some fullback last year. Has been productive when he got a chance and is an excellent special teams player. This is the kind of versatile, talented yet under the radar guy the Patriots will love.
Washington WR Anthony Russo (#5): Has 80 career catches including 18 already this year. A possession receiver, he can return kicks as well. Not a top NFL prospect, but been pretty productive so will get a look. His ability to return kicks and possibly cover them are what gives him a chance because he doesn’t stand out in any other area, size, speed or production.
Washington WR Marcel Reece (#3): Runs smooth, but his size (240 lbs) suggests he is more of an h-back type than a wide receiver. A JUCO transfer, he is getting his first extended time this year and is producing. His size makes him a possible project as he has wide receiver skills, but could possibly convert to tight end or h-back.
Thursday October 4, 2007
Kentucky at South Carolina (8:00 PM ESPN): A good game next Thursday night on ESPN as the surprsingly undefeated Heroes of Kige Ramsey, the University of Kentucky, come into South Carolina to face the Gamecocks.
Kentucky QB Andre Woodson (#3): Very impressive as a QB. Has great size at 6’6″ 230 and can really scramble around to buy time and throw on the run. Shows a great arm and nice touch as well, he is very underrated and doesn’t get the attention he deserves. Has yet to throw an interception in 4 games and had a 31-7 TD-INT ratio last year. He’ll be drafted high.
Kentucky WR Keenan Burton (#19): A good sized receiver at 6’2″ 205 who was 1st Team All-SEC last year. Caught 77 balls for over 1,000 yards last year as Woodson’s go-to guy. Off to a good start this year. More of a possession receiver type, he needs to bulk up a bit to be a top-flight NFL receiver. His speed will determine where he goes. Returns kicks.
Kentucky LB Wesley Woodyard (#16): Another highly productive college linebacker who is too small to play for the Patriots. Still, his production and motor should land him in the NFL somewhere. A tackling machine.
South Carolina QB Blake Mitchell (#12): A pretty good college QB who doesn’t do anything great. Doesn’t have a great arm and average size and decision making. Could be a backup in NFL.
South Carolina LB Casper Brinkley (#51): A very big linebacker who may fit in with the Patriots. Weighs 257 lbs and is productive. Was the leading tackler last season and second so far this year. Also added 5 sacks last year. He has the size and athleticism the Patriots look for in their linebackers and he’ll be a first day pick, probably first round. Perhaps falls into the late first round, depending on how he tests speed and strength wise.