Sunday, September 03, 2006

Ramblin' Wreck runs into the Fightin' Irish [EdMcGon]

Not often will you see the top two individual college prospects meeting each other this early in the college football season. So I could not resist watching QB Brady Quinn and Notre Dame going up against WR Calvin Johnson and Georgia Tech.

It was a great game to watch, even though Notre Dame won 14-10 (sorry, I am NOT a Notre Dame fan). Georgia Tech came out on fire, going up 10-0, before Notre Dame came back to win. Tech made a run at the end, but it came up short.

Notre Dame is number 2 in the country? That must be a joke. If Notre Dame is the second best team in the nation, this must be a bad year for college football.

Even with Georgia Tech playing above their heads, the number two team should beat these guys easily. Georgia Tech is too small to play with a great team. Tech also doesn't have much endurance, as they started looking burned out by the second quarter. The fact that Notre Dame could only muster two touchdowns against Tech is a testament to just how overrated Notre Dame is.


QB Brady Quinn, Notre Dame: For all of Quinn's hype, I was not impressed. When Georgia Tech got pressure on him, he looked bad. When they didn't get pressure on him, he looked good. Even when he looked good, there were too many times his receivers made him look bad. The jury is still out on Quinn.

I must give one kudo to Quinn though: The play where he ran it in for a touchdown at the end of the first half. If the Irish ran the ball from the five yard line and didn't score, the clock would have run out in the half. Notre Dame came out in a spread offense, and Tech took the bait with four linemen in the box. My first thought was, if there is a hole, Quinn should run. He did, and scored.

I don't know if that was a called play, or Quinn's improvisation, but it was gutsy and brilliant at the same time.

WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech: I can imagine how NFL teams must be salivating over Johnson. Picture Terrell Owens playing at the college level NOW. That is how dominant Johnson is.

At 6'4", 230 pounds, he looks like a man among boys.

During the game, the idiot announcers suggested Georgia Tech should throw to him in double coverage. Unfortunately, Johnson's quarterback is not anywhere near Johnson's talent level.

QB Reggie Ball, Georgia Tech: When I watch Reggie Ball, I think "running back". I know a lot of college quarterbacks end up playing wide receiver in the pros, but I can more easily picture Ball playing as a third down running back. At 5'11", 195 pounds, he is a good size for it.

Ball was why Tech was not throwing to Johnson in double coverage. Sure, Johnson is extremely talented at going after the ball. The problem is Reggie Ball has a scattershot arm.

LB Philip Wheeler, Georgia Tech: Wheeler was the main reason Quinn had so much trouble last night. Wheeler was making plays all over the place, including in Quinn's face.

Wheeler is a little too small to play linebacker in the NFL (6'2", 225 pounds). Unless he adds some bulk to stay at linebacker, he might make an outstanding safety. He is still a little raw now, as I saw him over-pursue on quite a few plays. But Wheeler has a good motor and a pretty good nose for the ball.

NFL DRAFT PROJECTION: At this point, I would call Calvin Johnson the first pick in the draft. This kid could play in the NFL now. He may be the best wide receiver I have EVER seen in a college game.

Brady Quinn's draft stock has fallen. For now, call him the second pick in the first round, although the rest of the season will be more telling.

If Philip Wheeler keeps playing like this, he could easily be a first round pick. At worst, I see him as a third round pick.

Reggie Ball will probably drop to the end of the draft, if he gets drafted at all.