* Arkansas QB Brandon Allen had a great showing in the season opener. He was 14-18-308 with 4 TDs and no INTs. A couple of the TDs came on quick screens, but one of them was a precisely thrown deep ball and the other came on a corner route. That ball was right on the money as well.
Allen was up and down as a Sophomore in 2013. He was better last year. He might be poised for a breakout season. I thought Allen looked good in the opener. His passes had good velocity and were accurate. Arkansas likes to be vertical with their passing game. Allen had a good day with intermediate and downfield throws. UTEP wasn’t the biggest challenge, but it was still good to see a Senior QB get off to such an impressive start.
WR Keon Hatcher was 6-106 in the game, with the 2 long TDs coming to him. He has pretty good size at 6-2, 210. It was hard to judge his speed vs UTEP DBs. Hatcher also blocked well on runs and screens.
* Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg had a miserable day vs Temple last Saturday. His blocking wasn’t good and that is a factor. His receivers didn’t do him any favors. But if you are truly a special player, that should be evident at times.
I have watched every snap of Hackenberg’s career. He showed a lot of promise when playing for Bill O’Brien in 2013. Things have not been good since James Franklin took over. There are personnel issues. The scheme is awkward. Hackenberg just hasn’t looked right the last 2 years.
He does have a strong arm. He can make some terrific throws. But he will miss some throws that he shouldn’t. Last week he had a WR open for a long TD and put the ball out in front of his guy. That didn’t seem like a big deal at the time since PSU was up 10-0, but the offense fell apart for the rest of the game and they lost. Had they gone up 17-0, who knows what happens in that game.
I do not see a 1st round player when I watch Hackenberg. That might change during the course of the season, but right now he just looks too flawed. He has NFL ability, but isn’t a polished pocket passer.
* Skai Moore is a Junior MLB for South Carolina. He had a big showing in the opening week win over UNC, picking off 2 passes. Both in the end zone. Don’t think of this as luck. Moore has 9 career picks.
Moore is only 6-2, 218 so he isn’t MLB material for all NFL teams. He could bulk up to 230 or so and fit some 4-3 schemes that focus on speed. Moore might be better suited to playing WLB in the 4-3. He is a playmaking LB in a pass-happy era so someone will have interest in him.
RB Shon Carson is only 5-8, 206, but he is a playmaker as well. He showed good speed on a 48-yd TD run. Got some good seal blocks and flew up the field. Only had 18 carries all of last year, but averaged 7.8 yards per run. Interesting role player. Also a solid KOR.
* I don’t know what to make of Cardale Jones. He is huge. And a good athlete. He has a very strong arm. He makes plays. I just don’t know how his game will translate to the NFL. Urban Meyer is a great college coach who crafts an offense that helps his QBs to shine. But that offense doesn’t always help them to develop as pro prospects.
Jones is a natural QB. He’s infinitely better than someone like E.J. Manuel, who was a mid-1st round pick. I just hope Jones goes somewhere he can develop. He’s a very intriguing talent. I think he will need time to adjust to the NFL.
Braxton Miller showed a ton of potential as a WR. He was good short and down the field. His spin move on the long TD was pretty freaky. Per Daniel Jeremiah, he measured in at 6013, 210 in the spring. That’s a solid build for a WR.
* Duke Safety Jeremy Cash got off to a good start. He had 5 solo tackles, a TFL and a PBU in the opening win over Tulane. Cash is 6-2, 210 and a versatile weapon for the Blue Devils. He has pretty good man cover skills. He is a terrific blitzer and a good run defender. Duke uses him creatively since he is their best defensive player.