Welcome again to my pretentious, goofy and self-serving
stream-of-consciousness thoughts and notes on the big games, the
broadcasts, the ads and the teams for the attention deficit
me with your own thoughts and notes and what you'd like to see.
It's the annual meat-market
evaluation game known as the Senior Bowl. Most of the top players
have already shown what they can do during the week of practice, and
most of the biggest names will only do individual workouts, so the
game is simply a time not to screw up and most importantly, not get
injured. The fates of all these guys are almost already sealed in
the minds of the NFL types, but that doesn’t mean they can’t blow
it. The rule of thumb is that you can’t really help yourself in the
game if you were a dog in practices, but you can certainly lose
ground if you have a poor performance. However, an unknown can make
a huge name for himself.
- This hasn't been a particularly
star-studded week. This is generally seen as a mediocre draft year
with few sure superstars. Of course, there are always big-time
players out there, so the key in this game is to unearth which ones
have the potential to grow into something special out of a class
full of muck.
- This is a particularly big day for Chris Leak and Troy Smith.
Everyone seems to be falling in love with Leak, but there's always a
"if only" after talking about him. Like, "He throws the prettiest
ball out here, if only he was a few inches taller." Or, "He has the
demeanor and he has the leadership, if only he had a little bigger
of an arm."
Smith has to be razor-sharp just to get everyone forgetting
about the BCS Championship Game as quickly as possible.
- Mike Mayock is excellent. Dick Vermiel can be fantastic
(although I've gotten into arguments on that). Three hours of Rich
Eisen might be a bit much unless he plays it straight and lets this
be Mayock's and Vermiel's show. Mayock will criticize and Vermiel
will criticize before following it up with an excuse.
- Please. I hate faux jack-up speeches like the one Jon Gruden
was just shown making. The actual game itself means absolutely
nothing. It's not about playing as a team. It's about looking great
and making money. That's all this showcase is for.
- The UnderArmour ad followed up by the XBox commercial. Go work
out, and then sit on your ass and get fat on Taco Bell.
North on its own 25
- Ooooh. If he does nothing else all day, Ole Miss LB Patrick
Willis came up with a monster hit on special teams that everyone
- Troy Smith air mails his first pass, gets his second
pass tipped by Florida's Earl Everett. Note to Heisman boy
... stay, away, from Gators.
- No blitzing. There's absolutely for the quarterbacks to not be
- Penn State OT Levi Brown moved up at least ten spots this
week into the top ten. He just dominated another star of this week,
Texas DE Tim Crowder.
- Smith gets time and fires a nice strike to East Carolina's
Aundrae Allison for a first down.
- There's no reason for that play. The North runs an end around
which does absolutely nothing for everyone. The scouts want to see
how the players can do straight up, and running a trick play when
there's no blitzing and vanilla defenses are meaningless. Yeah,
Washington State WR Jason Hill can run. We know that.
- This drive is all about seeing what Smith can do. So far, he's
shown nothing special.
- Every little positive play matters for these guys. Penn State's
Tony Hunt caught a nice pass and made a positive play.
- Whooooo. Rutgers RB Brian Leonard, a fullback who made
himself a tailback this week, steamrolled over Pat Willis for
a first down. Everyone's going to want Leonard, but no one knows
what they want to do with him.
- Nice read by Hunt for a touchdown, but better play by Boston
College OG Josh Beekman pulling around to spring the play. He
showed great feet and steamrolled over a two defenders to make it
North 7 ... South 0
South on its own 26
- Smith was the quarterback on the scoring drive, but that
wasn't his drive. Now it's leak's turn.
- Yeesh. Leak rolled out and lofted a pass that took ten minutes to
come down. Maryland's Josh Wilson had all day to make the
play on LSU's Dwayne Bowe.
- Leak showed what he can do so well. He fired a nice strike to
teammate Dallas Baker for a first down.
- Oregon State TE Joe Newton had a rough week with drops, and
he didn't help himself. Leak put a nice ball in between three
players and Newton blew it.
- I love David Harris. He was the unsung star on the Michigan
defense this year, and he just sniffed out and blew up a little
screen pass. Leak should've seen this before throwing it to Alabama
RB Ken Darby.
- There's no question Louisville DT Amobi Okoye can get into
the backfield. He ripped through to come up with a sack of Leak. The
scouts are in love with his quickness, but will he grow bigger as he
gets older? Can he still be quick and not lose anything if he adds
15 pounds or so? He slapped his way past Auburn's Tim Duckworth.
- Awful, awful punt by Baylor's Daniel Sepulveda. He was
being talked about as a top 100 pick, but that misfire alone could
cost him a few spots. Kickers with dreams of being taken high can't
afford a mistake.
North on the 50
- Smith just showed why he might be a real, live NFL
starter. Florida's Ray McDonald had Smith dead, including a
face-mask that didn't get called, but he peeled away, made a nice
move to show off his mobility, and threw a strike to Notre Dame's
Rhema McKnight, who continues his lousy week with a drop.
- But McKnight comes back with a big play making a nice catch on a
perfect strike from Smith, and takes a huge shot from Aaron Ross
- Actually, Florida State's Buster Davis and Ross collided.
- Smith appears to be settled down.
- As soon as I type that, he tries to force a throw that wasn't even
close to being there. Georgia's Tony Taylor had the play
sniffed out from the word go.
- Smith short hops two straight throws. It seems like he's trying
too hard to prove he has the arm to fire it on his outs.
- Vermiel just says the same thing saying Smith is pressing.
- On 4th and seven, Smith showed nice creativity dancing out of the
pocket making a play to Leonard, who shows his quickness to get the
- Interesting thought by Vermiel saying Leonard should keep his
weight up and be a fullback. "Too much competition at I-Back.
Everybody in the NFL needs a (fullback)."
- Hunt's making himself some money. Every play's been positive so
- One of the keys to this game is figuring out who's playing too
hyped up and who's just struggling a bit. Everyone knows this is a
- Great push by Tim Crowder getting to Smith. Smith had a
touchdown after Auburn's David Irons wasn't close in
coverage, but Crowder blew the play up.
- Smith is 4 of 12 for 42 yards.
- Make that 4 of 13. On comes Colorado PK Mason Crosby from
38 yards. He hits it, but it's not quite perfect.
North 10 ... South 0
South on its own 29
- Auburn RB Kenny Irons makes his first appearance.
David Harris makes sure it's not memorable. Harris will be an
All-Pro, but won't go until the third round.
- Leak goes deep putting the ball in a position where Bowe can grab
it, but Michigan's Leon Hall breaks it up.
- Hall shuts down the next play as well with a great open field
tackle on Irons.
- Ooooooh. Purdue's Anthony Spencer put on an amazing move
but got flat out yanked by Tony Ugoh of Arkansas.
- Another three and out for Leak.
North on its own 20
- It's Drew Stanton's turn. This is the guy I really
want to see. I truly believe he might have the potential to be the
best quarterback in the upcoming draft, but he has to be more
consistent and has to show a magical, for lack of a better word,
- One throw, one first down hitting Iowa's big TE Scott Chandler.
- Stanton shows one of the key elements to his game: his mobility.
He throws better on the run than JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn
- Nice read by NC State DT Tank Tyler. He sniffed out a draw
play and held it to a short gain.
First Quarter Score: North 10 ... South 0
- Nice move by Fresno State WR Paul Williams to get a
first down off a short pass, but it helped that Oklahoma LB Rufus
Alexander missed the tackle.
- Great job by Michael Griffin and Jonathan Wade in
deep coverage. The play didn't work for the North, but it showed off
Stanton's arm. He fired up a 55 yard pass that overshot his
- Either Kansas State RB Thomas Clayton doesn't have enough
of a burst, or Patrick Willis has incredible closing speed.
It's probably a little of both.
- Ooooooh. Miami's Brandon Meriweather has been popping all
week long, and he crushed Williams a tick too late. Give Stanton
credit for putting the ball on the money.
South on its own 20
- There's no truth to the rumor that the XBox halftime show
will feature five fat kids who do nothing but play computer games
come out to try to run the length of the field. Watch them drop
- Kenny Irons has been fine this week, but hasn't quite shown
enough to earn top 40 status. It didn't help that he just fumbled.
- It does help that Irons just showed off a nice cut and speed burst
reading the blocks for a first down.
- Nebraska's Jay Moore didn't get touched and had a free shot
on Leak forcing a fumble recovered by the North. You could've made
North on the South 29
- I know, get a room, but Stanton just looks like an NFL
quarterback out there. I'm not saying he's Tom Brady, but he'll be a
- Virginia Tech's David Clowney made a nice catch on a
mediocre Stanton pass.
- Stanton throws a perfect fade to Aundrae Allison for a
touchdown. Stanton has shown all the throws in his brief appearance.
North 17 ... South 0
South on its own 23
- Allison actually bobbled the touchdown catch, but it's not
going to be reviewed in a game like this.
- UTEP's Jordan Palmer is in. He's been up and down this
week, and has had issues with his consistency throughout his career,
but he should be great today. There's no pass rush to worry about.
He can pick apart defenses when he has time.
- Charles Davis should be off the sideline and in the booth.
- Great play by Ohio State's David Patterson. The South
offensive line isn't close to being cohesive, but Patterson worked
his way to that sack tripping up Palmer.
North on its own 40
- Pitt's Tyler Palko is in. He's not big and doesn't
have a huge arm, and he's not an NFL starter, but he'll be in the
league as a backup for ten years. He MUST show a little something
today just to get on the overall radar.
- Brian Leonard is killing the South defense when it comes to
getting the tough yards.
- NFL Network has to wipe the main camera lens. It's raining in
Mobile, and the main camera is fogged up.
- I really like Scott Chandler. He's an automatic first down
every time he goes across the middle. The North coaches have used
- Nice, nice throw from Palko. He drove the ball extremely well on a
mid-range out to McKnight for a 13-yard gain. Palko might not have a
deep arm, but if he can make that throw on a consistent basis, he
can play in the big league.
- The South might not be playing all that well, but the defense is
- Good run by Palko. Smart move taking off for a nice first down.
This has been exactly the type of drive Palko needed.
- I'm still sort of stunned Thomas Clayton hasn't panned out.
A variety of problems kept him from being a star at Kansas State,
and he's not showing too much. He has the speed and the size, and he
just fumbled the ball out of bounds.
- Talk about moxie. Palko make a little flip when everything breaks
down to get it down to the four. He's showing that magical
intangible all the scouts are looking for that they can't get with a
stopwatch or a measuring stick.
- Palko had Chandler for a touchdown but didn't get him the ball
quickly enough. Michael Griffin broke up the pass.
- Meriweather moved from safety to corner, and he was all over
McKnight like a blanket to break up the touchdown. Stanton threw the
fade on the last drive; Palko tried a little fade stop.
- Crosby hits the field goal.
North 20 ... South 0
South on its own 29
- The coaches should force the kickers to put the kickoffs
short to force returns. The whole idea is to see what all these guys
- Aaron Ross is out with a concussion. It doesn't seem to be
serious, but there's no reason to risk it.
- Crosby is putting the kickoffs short. He could be blasting it out
of the stadium.
- Palmer is back in with 25 seconds to play. This is the type of
situation he screwed up a lot at UTEP.
- And he almost screws it up here. West Virginia's Boo McLee
almost picks it off.
- First down. Palmer didn't get the ball to Newton in stride, but
the Beaver made a nice grab. He needed to make that catch.
- Palmer connects with former Miner teammate Johnnie Lee Higgins
to end the first half.
First Half Score: North 20 ... South 0
South on its own 34
- Here's one of the other players everyone is interested in:
Houston's Kevin Kolb. He might be falling behind Stanton in
the race to be the number three quarterback taken, but he has it
- There's no reason to analyze this game as a competitive contest.
It doesn't matter. I know the announcers are trying to treat this as
an all-star game, but that's not the point.
- Lorenzo Booker is getting a chance to show himself as a
kickoff returner, but I want to see him run a bit more.
- Nice, nice running by Irons. He read the blocks and the collapsing
of the line, and he bounced it for a good six-yard gain.
- The sideline interview with Troy Smith is a bit telling.
One of the most engaging interviews around, he sounds like a tired,
beaten up guy.
- Kolb does a good job on his first two throws. He threw a nice
timing pattern on his first, and stepped up in the pocket to deliver
a strike on his second throw.
- And then he throws a wormburner to Newton.
- The former Nebraska defenders are making plays all over the place.
- Carriker is a top 20 pick, and maybe top ten. It helps that the
South offensive line still appears discombobulated.
- Yeesh. Sepulveda makes up for his first kick by bombing one into
the end zone. That's the leg everyone wants to see.
North on its own 20
- In the rain, the quarterbacks are having issues with the
snaps. Palko is struggling a bit under center.
- Palko hits Hunt. Yeah, Hunt fumbled the ball, but he lined up at
wide receiver and made the grab. His versatility is a plus.
- Brandon Meriweather is still popping. He'll be a steal if
he gets past the top 40 picks.
- Palko is throwing well. He's on, but he's not getting any
- Miami's Kareem Brown is stuffing everything up inside. In a
tackle-poor draft, he'll make some money off this game.
- Palko had a receiver open deep across the middle and didn't come
close to hitting him.
- Once again, Palko is showing a little magic Doug Flutie style. He
danced his way to buy time. He didn't get the first down (and fired
off an audible F bomb), but it was still an interesting play.
- Georgia's Quentin Moses has been MIA. After a lousy week,
he's doing nothing in this game. He almost got to Palko by sheer
South on its own 19
- Fumbles are an issue. Alabama's Ken Darby, who really
needed to show something, lost the ball, but it wasn't his fault.
Kolb basically put it in Darby's shoulder pad.
North on the South 20
- Tony Hunt came up with another nice run. He's looking
- Troy Smith is back in the game.
- Smith rolls to his right, directs traffic, and delivers a very
strong strike to Jason Hill for a touchdown. It was a really, really
good throw hitting a covered receiver. After the Florida debacle, he
needed to show he could make a pass like that.
North 27 ... South 0
South on its own 20
- Interesting. Kenny Irons on the kickoff return. He
didn't get much room to move.
- Uh, NFL Network, you might want to put Adrian Peterson on the list
of top underclassmen.
- The North defensive line isn't giving the South runners any room
to move. Ken Darby didn't have a hole to run through.
- Kolb isn't able to move the offense at all. Once again, the North
defensive line is killing.
North on its own 42
- Smith has no place to throw and puts it in the fifth row.
- I can't believe anyone is considering Norv Turner for another pro
head coaching gig, much less Dallas, who needs a big-name guy.
- This is turning into a brutally boring, ugly game. The North
dropped the ball on a double reverse. No one on offense is doing
much at this point.
- How bad is this? Eisen's talking about his Pilates.
- Maryland's Adam Podlesh hits a lousy kick, and Florida
State's Chris Davis makes an awful decision to let it drop on
the 18. He got lucky it rolled into the end zone, but if you're out
to show what you can do, you take that ball no matter what and try
to make something happen.
South on its own 20
- Adam Carriker is KILLING. He's the one guy in this
game who's making a huge statement.
- As I typed that, he recovered a fumble. Yet another fumbled snap.
North on the South 20
- ANOTHER fumbled snap. Stanton gets it, but the play is so
sloppy that no one's able to get a play going.
- Nice play from Stanton. The play broke down, but he moved out of
the pocket and delivered a strike to Kolby Smith. It was
- Stanton hits David Clowney for a short out.
Third Quarter Score: North 27 ... South 0
- Interception. Alabama State's Michael Coe makes a good
read on the ball, Paul Williams isn't able to fight for it,
and Stanton is picked off.
South on its own 20
- Palmer needs to show something. These are adverse
conditions, and he has to prove he can rise above them.
- Auburn's Courtney Taylor is wrapped up by Syracuse's
Tanard Jackson, but doesn't go down. He somehow gets a 30-yard
- Ooooooh. For the second time this game, Central Michigan OT Joe
Staley doesn't account for Jay Moore and gives up a kill
shot. Give Palmer credit for hanging on to the ball.
- Palmer and Newton hook up for a decent gain.
- Yeesh. David Patterson comes up with a sack. This has been
an awful, awful day for the South offensive line.
North on the South 42
- Once again, it's hard to get much scouting-wise out of
this game since it's so sloppy. Every play seems like it's breaking
down before it can begin.
- Kolby Smith is showing something getting back in the game
after getting dinged up. He's a marginal prospect who can't afford
- Stanton isn't getting much help. He threw another good pass, but
it was dropped.
South on its own 12
- Chris Leak is back in.
- Florida State's Chris Davis makes a nice move to get
positive yards on Leon Hall.
- Man ... why didn't the Husker D linemen do this all year? Jay
Moore blows up yet another play crushing Leak.
- Sepulveda, in awful conditions, hits a nice kick getting the South
out of danger. I still say he's a late first day guy, but he'll
probably go in the fifth round.
North on its own 30
- Three and out for the North. Tyler Palko made a few plays,
but came up short on his third down throw.
- More punting. Podlesh missed on his kick hitting a dud.
- Mayock and Vermiel should be doing more scouting on the linemen,
but there's just not much to do. Nothing's happening. It's a shame
this isn't being played in a dome.
South on its own 30
- Jay Moore with three sacks and two forced fumbles.
- Ken Darby with a dropped pass. Once again, someone has to show he
can play in the rain and cold.
- And Sepulveda does just that. He hits an absolute beauty that some
NFL scout has to be doing jumping jacks over. He's going to be on
someone's must-have list in the fourth round. He's a weapon.
North on its own 7
- The North is just looking to run out the clock with two
minutes to play.
- So what can be taken from this game? The Nebraska defensive
linemen, Adam Carriker and Jay Moore, were out-of-this-world, Moore
showed he might be an outside linebacker in the right system, and
Levi Brown, Drew Stanton, Brian Leonard, Patrick Willis, Kareem
Brown, Tony Hunt, Daniel Sepulveda, and Josh Beekman all helped
- Hunt was named MVP. Uh, O.K. I'd give it to the Husker linemen.
Final Score: North 27 ... South 0