by Greg Doyle
Let’s take a look at today’s national TV games for some teams and players we haven’t featured yet this year.
Michigan State at Indiana (12:00 PM EST ESPN)
3-1 Michigan State hosts 2-1 Indiana in a game that features two good offenses. Michigan State probably has the stronger overall team here and could start out its Big 10 schedule with a win if they can protect their homefield today.
Ringer is a guy putting up fantastic stats. He has decent size, but not too big at 200. Well built guy who runs well and can catch. Has had a torn ACL in his past and knee problems have continued to crop up off and on. Low to the ground and good speed around the corner. Ringer reportedly works hard and is a good team player. But a couple things concern me; his durability and the fact Michigan State has often looked in other directions in goal line and short yardage situations. No doubt he’ll play in the NFL, but could be more of a change of pace back. His stats are also inflated by the spread offense. I see him as a 2nd or 3rd round choice. Here are some highlights of Ringer.
This Flint, Michigan native weighs in at 210 lbs. and has really taken his game to a new level as the Spartans strong safety this season. This is his third season as a starter for Michigan State. Right now he is tied for the lead in the nation with 4 INTs and he has taken one back for a touchdown. He struggled a bit last year to learn a new defense and was actually benched for several games. Has good speed, coverage ability and likes to hit. Can really lay the lumber and support in the run game. Well respected team leader who was voted captain this season, which would attract the Patriots. Also a good punt returner. Reportedly has good character, he seems to fit what the Patriots would want at safety and is worth keeping an eye on.
Not an every down back at 5’9″ 199 (and he looks smaller), but his 4.22/40 speed is sure to attract some NFL teams. He is decent catching the ball and can return kicks as well. Started out as a wide receiver. Does not have the size or build to play every down, but could be a third down back and kick returner in the NFL with his speed. Perhaps could be converted back to receiver as well.
Indiana DT Greg Brown (#62)
A big run-stuffing tackle with experience and a lot of playing time under his belt. Had a solid season inside last year with 50 tackles. Not much of a pass rusher, but can hold his own against the run. Probably could 2-gap in the Patriots system, but it’s a question if he has the athletic ability to play outside in a 3-4. Possibly a late round choice or street free agent who could stick on the end of a roster or practice squad as a developmental lineman if he proves to be a hard worker. Not greatly talented, but productive and strong enough to gather a look from the Patriots.
Purdue at Notre Dame (3:30 PM EST NBC)
Purdue looks to move to 3-1 against their in-state rivals while Notre Dame looks to bounce back from a bad loss to Michigan State in which they looked fairly pathetic.
Purdue QB Curtis Painter (#12)
A big, strong pocket QB with a good arm who runs the team effectively. Accurate and gets good velocity on the ball. Very experienced in Purdue’s wide open offense. Pretty slow footed and a sitting target in the pocket, though occasionally he’ll take off and run. Can’t move that fast and can be sacked. Has been a team captain, but not real vocal with teammates. Could be a first round pick and certainly one of the top 4 or 5 quarterbacks in next year’s draft. Because of his big arm, he’ll probably do well at the combine. Here are some highlights of Painter from earlier this year.
Purdue RB Kory Sheets (#24)
Productive college back who doesn’t really wow me in any part of his game, save perhaps for his ability to catch the ball. Isn’t real powerful but he has decent elusiveness, though not in a game breaking fashion. Speed is average. Another one of these spread running backs you really have to look at closely because they are often running in space. Sheets does not openly display the ability to run defenders over or grind out tough yards. Don’t get me wrong, he is a decent back and can probably play in the NFL but I see him as more of a late round pick who can catch the ball and contribute that way and perhaps develop into a decent NFL back.
It can be difficult as a layman to watch and/or evalute offensive line play. But it can be done if you put your mind to it. I have no expertise in the area, but I think if you watch a guy occasionally at the start of a play and the occasionally focus on him in replays on plays that appear to have action on their side of the line, you can glean some information and opinions on them. Turkovich is a guy I focused on for a bit in the San Diego State game. He seems to be a tough, physical guy who can move a bit. At 6’6″, he’s taller than the prototypical Patriots guard, but I don’t believe they have any strict guidelines on that. He has played for Charlie Weis, so he’s experienced in a system similar to the Patriots. Can move a bit in space, which the Patriots demand of their linemen, but appears to have good strength too. Mostly played left guard. Could perhaps be a later round, developmental pick for the Patriots.
Lambert is a good-sized corner who plays physical. Has 4 career INTs. Good speed, ran track in high school. At 195 lbs., you have to like his combination of size and speed but while he has been a decent corner, you wonder why he hasn’t been better? Probably a second day pick at this point.
Other Players to Watch
Over on Fox Sports Net, Oklahoma takes on TCU at 7:00 PM. Watch Oklahoma WR Juaquin Iglesias (#9) for the stacked Sooners. He is a solid sized 6’1″ 201 who can also run with decent speed, but more importantly shows quickness in small spaces and after the catch. He likes to go over the middle but knows how to get open deep as well. Good hands, he’ll be likely a first round choice at receiver. Watch Iglesias display some speed here on a reverse. For TCU watch MLB Jason Phillips (#39). He is a little undersized for the inside but makes plays, can get out in coverage, is a leader and just a good football player. Here are some video highlights of Phillips and you’ll be able to see what I mean. He is a football player who knows how to make big hits and big plays.