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N.D. Fighting Irish vs Texas Longhorns 9/4/2016

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

Scouting Notes

N.D. Fighting Irish vs Texas Longhorns 9/4/2016

Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Texas Longhorns

Sunday, September 4, 2016 @ 7:30 p.m.

Darrel K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas

Notable Prospects Entering the Contest

 Texas Offense

Tyrone Swoopes, QB

He rotated with the starting QB Shane Buechele. Mainly his role was to enter the game and run the ball like a wildcat offense. Although he is a big guy at 6’4” 240 lbs., he finds the holes on the line like a RB. He has really good vision to see the creases in the LOS and his feet instantly take  him to where his eyes see. He avoids tackles by side stepping would be tacklers and then uses his power to blast through the hole and drag defenders. Any tacklers in his way should be aware of his strength because I’m pretty sure #8 (a player he ran over ) has a concussion now. I need to do more research on his character because it came into question when he ran his first touchdown and he ran straight into and over a cameraman but went right into celebration without regard for the guy. It may not be a big deal but it stirs my curiosity. Although, he may be great character guy because he did stay focus and remained ready for his time when a freshman QB started over him.

Shane Buechele, QB, Freshman #7

I believe I just witness another QB star in the making. Of course, he is a freshman and more time is needed to evaluate him because he has a lot of growing to do. For all we know, he could become hooked on drugs or girls in the coming years or this be his best game of his career; only time will tell. As far as the game, he threw very accurately and quickly on short throws. His main short throws were hitch routes and slants and he always put them on the receiver’s numbers so that they could get YACs. When he threw go routes, each time, they had great height on the trajectory and they fell right in the receivers’ hands while running in stride. He read the defense quickly and efficiently. On one play he threw the slant that “replaced” the edge blitzer and later in the game he didn’t throw a route that the lingering safety was about to jump. It was amazing to see he understood these things as a freshman because I’ve seen quarterbacks get yelled at by coaches every day for committing mistakes in these situations. He has a quick release because he throws the ball with a flick of the wrist. Most importantly, he seemed really calm in the moments of pressure. In fact, the first time he ran with the ball on an option play was in the 4th quarter with less than 2 minutes to go and a tie game; that takes guts. He showed that he has great football IQ when he threw the ball away instead of trying to force a throw with 30 sec left in the game. Time will tell how high his ceiling is.

 Connor Williams, T, Sophomore #55

He is great at down blocking. Almost every time he down blocks on the defensive lineman, his guy is washed down the LOS 1 or 2 gaps down. He truly understands how to use the rusher’s momentum against themselves. If the d linemen left his down block area, he would move up to the LB and give them a good pop and then shield them away from the RB. I saw that he fully utilizes the shield technique when he had to block a LB that was on the opposite hash, so he ran halfway and just waited for the LB to come to him. However, he shields with aggression because he has good hand placement and he still is running his feet to take the LB as far from the play as possible. He was the only offensive lineman that could consistently block #5 LB for Notre Dame. He was effective because he approached him with short choppy steps, maintained a good balance, and delivered a good pop at the point of attack. His downfall is when he blocks out on a DE outside of him, he continually had bad hand placement by wrapping his arm around the rusher’s back. This exposed his chest and limited his ability to create a push after engagement because his hand power was on the rusher’s back.

Kent Perkins, G, Senior #76

He is the definition of a player that does some things well and others not so well. He has shown the ability to block with a good base, deliver powerful initial hits and gain leverage on the block in respect to the ball carrier. He is strategic with his hand placement, for instance, he’ll position the hand that is on the side that he wants to maintain leverage on a little  wider than his other hand. However, when he pulls, sometimes he creates huge creases if he gets the right pop on the rusher and other times he blocks the rusher softly with his shoulder and is usually beat soon after that.  He tried to block #90 with his shoulder and #90 took the hit and then threw him out of the way to make the tackle. There were plays that he would pull and block the player initially but then he failed to follow through on the block He also had one false start penalty. My main concern is the fact that he had to come off of the field 3 times because of an injury.

Chris Warren, RB, Sophomore #25

He had an interesting way of running the ball. He would stay square to the LOS during and right after the handoff. Once he committed to a hole, he would get up field as soon as possible and use his power to fall forward if tackled. However, multiple times he would start running toward one hole and then quickly slash in another direction that led to more yards. I think him staying square to the LOS as long as possible is dangerous for defenders because he can see more of the LOS. Once contact was made with him, he kept his legs moving and occasionally broke the tackle. He always fell forward with his size. He is the slasher type of runner.

Notre Dame Defense

Issac Rochell, DE, Senior #90

This is his 3rd season as the starter (27 starts) and the tape shows it because he was pretty much dominant in the game. He is a bigger, athletic, defensive lineman that can play any position along the line. A snapshot of his athleticism was shown when he easily side stepped a cut block. He shows a good balance between speed and power. He uses his above average get- off speed to get in position against the O linemen and then he uses his power to violently rip or swim through the remaining block. When he went against #76, he pushed him back and got pressure on the QB within 2.5 seconds and on another play, when #76 came on a pull and tried to block him, Rochell recovered from the initial blow and then exploded toward the RB for the tackle. When a pulling lineman left his gap, he would surge through the hole and tackle the RB before anyone could control him. He has amazing hip flexibility to bend and turn the corner. He is active with his hands in pass rush. He needs to get better vs double team because he got turned sideways and pushed back when double teamed. Also, he needs to work on not getting washed down the LOS as much when he starts in one gap and tries to run through another; the offensive linemen were sometimes using his momentum against him.

Jarron Jones, DT, Senior #94

He was another talented defensive lineman. At the beginning of the game, he was getting too much penetration in the backfield and the RB would run right under him. As the game continued, he adjusted and would use his hand power to penetrate just far enough to create a disruption. He definitely showed that he has the power to be an effective defensive lineman in the NFL but more film is needed on him. For some reason, he wasn’t living up to his full potential and I can’t figure out why. He did the little things like working hard to block the field goal and eventfully it paid off and he blocked it.

Daniel Cage, DT, Junior #75

He is a big boy with a body like Vince Wilfork. He showed glimpses of his potential with plays like on 3rd and 6 he blasted through 2 blockers to tackle the ball carrier. On the goal line he has fantastic pad level and penetrates by basically ‘bear crawling’. In overtime, he got a great push back on the o lineman and stayed there with great lean, base, and arm extension and stopped the RB’s momentum at the LOS. He is definitely a situational defensive lineman that is better suited to defend against running situations.

Nyles Morgan, LB, Junior #5

Was in a close tie with #90 as the best defensive player for Notre Dame. He attacks the oncoming blockers with vicious hits and aggression to create separation so he can get to the ball carrier. He adjusts from pass coverage to run support very quickly; shuffling and then planting his foot in the ground powerfully and exploding toward the ball carrier. Rarely saw him miss a tackle. He would attack the blocker and then shed the block when the blocker stops his feet from the shock of the hit. His good hand placement mixed with his aggressive attitude allows for him to shed the blocks with ease. I loved his play on the goal line because he would quickly attack the LOS. On the goal line, he stopped Swoopes (6’4” 240 lbs.) in his tracks. He is a very good player but it is hard to project him at this point

Cole Luke, CB, Senior #36

This is his 3rd season as a starter. Research showed that last season, he covered Stanford’s Ty Montgomery and limited him to 12 yds. receiving while getting 2 ints, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 4 tackles. Once I watched film, it confirmed the statistics. Although he was scored on with a 20 yard fade route, the coverage on the play was very good but the ball placement was better. Later in the game, he deflects a go route to #1 (track runner). He violently put his hands on the blocker in front of the WR screen and made the tackle. When the ball was thrown at him again on a slant route, he undercut the pass and almost intercepted it. So far, I like what I see from Cole Luke.

Texas Defense

Poona Ford, DT, Junior #95

He is undersized as a DT at 5’10”, 300lbs. However, he played a very good game. He showed a mix of speed and power to get to the ball carrier. His best move was to shoot the inside gap with a rip move and power through. He made several tackles this way but he had other ways of getting tackles as well. In the redzone, he powerfully pushed the offensive lineman back and then slipped inside to tackle the runner. I also saw him land great initial contact with both hands, maintain good pad level and as the running play developed he literally held off the o lineman with one arm/hand and then separated to  make the tackle before the RB could bounce it outside after crossing the LOS. His athleticism was on display in many forms, one of which came when he spun out of a block after assessing where the ball was going and quickly assisted on the tackle. He was a good compliment to the better Boyette (next player on list).

Paul Boyette, DT, Senior #93

Was the best defensive player for the Texas Longhorns. Whenever Texas needed a play, he was available. For instance, in the 2nd overtime during the first two plays, he penetrated the back field with his quick get off and used his quick hands to swipe the o lineman hands away (making him lunge forward) to cause disruption. He continually works hard to maintain his spot, even to the point he was on one leg and still fighting for his spot. I like his attitude toward the game because when he got beat one play, he came back the next play with a violent bull rush and spin to sack the QB. One of the techniques he used was to extend his arms into the o lineman chest and snag him back so that he could move toward the RB.  He worked hard with his hands to stay disengaged with the lineman. Also, he made a tackle in the middle when the followed the O linemen who were zone blocking. He put his hand on the o lineman shoulder pad and used that arm to throw the blocker to the side as the runner came and then he tackled the runner with the other arm.

Malik Jefferson, LB, Sophomore #46

He is a very fast linebacker. He ran down the RB, Folston, on his break away run in the first drive. He was the perfect player to spy the QB because he can outrun the fastest QB. He has the speed to be the weak side LB and make the tackle on a run that goes to the opposite hash. He would shoot the gaps and cause disruption when he had the opportunity. One time the sweep was coming his way and he shot the gap (crossing 68 face) to force the play back inside. Then he visually celebrated with the sideline. When the TE ran a 5 yd. out route, Jefferson was on him like glue. He showed fantastic patience and timing on a delayed blitz to sack the QB, Kizer.  Two plays in a row he lined up on the edge and crossed the blockers’ face with speed and effective hand swiping to cause disruption in the backfield (first play was against 68 and the 2nd play was against 80).He crossed 68 face.

Notre Dame Offense

Deshone Kizer, QB, Sophomore #14

He has the prototypical size at 6’4” 230 lbs. Last season, his first year starting,  he passed for 2,880 yds., 21tds and rushed for 520 yds. and 10 TDs. His passing game is up and down. He threw a great fade pass to the outside shoulder of the WR on the goal line. Other times, he was inaccurate. He threw a low pass to a hitch route to the wide side of the field, on another play he threw a bubble pass into the dirt, and on another play he threw a low pass to a 10 yd. dig route resulting in drop when it was supposed to be a first down. Two series before, on 3rd and long, he threw the same route on target. Another problem to investigate is his release because it looks as though he holds the ball low and then has to bring it up to throw the pass which takes longer than it should. He did show that he has the ability to make good reads about the defense. He threw a seam pass on time and accurately for a TD, he choose to throw a RB wheel route because it was 1 on 1 vs a LB, he chose to check down to underneath routes after progressing from the deeper routes. He has good run ability as well. On one play he makes the safety miss and then does a little hesitation move on another ‘would be’ tackler before scoring the TD. Character looks good, as he’s handled the rotation of him and another QB like a pro and he consoled his teammate WR who took a big hit catching his pass.

Malik Zaire, QB, Senior #9

He is in a QB battle with Kizer. He has great running abilities. He is very very fast and athletic enough to put serious moves on defenders. He is a lefty and throws the ball with some zip on it. It is hard to evaluate him because he was taken out after 2 series.

Quenton Nelson, G, Junior #56

He showed some good abilities. I love his initial pop and leg drive on running plays. There is no doubt that his initial hits are violent and usually spark some line movement. However, he needs to work on his hand placement because he puts it on the rusher’s shoulder a lot. He tries to use his hand on their shoulder to momentum swing them where he wants them to go but that’s not good. Another play he couldn’t get a decent push after contact because he attacked with wide arms and so he wrapped up the D lineman and tried to block with his chest. His wide arm problem continued; #95 pushed him back because his arms were too wide and he left his chest exposed.

Mike McGlinchey, T, Senior #68

Last season, he started all 13 games at right tackle but now he shifted to LT because of Stanley’s departure. He is 6’7” 310lbs and plays with fluent dominance. He keeps a good base and an upright upper body position in pass protection. During run plays his initial contact is started with a literal reloading of his arms to create as much of a jolt as possible. He has heavy hands that he likes to hit his opposing player very hard with in the run game. His leg drive soon follows his initial jolt. His pass protection step backs are deep and fluent so the DE cannot get around his edge. He is not overly dominant in pass protection but he uses his long arms to keep the rusher at bay and his feet are light enough to shadow the rusher, barely ever giving up his outside edge but allowing the QB room to step up in the pocket. I really liked that his feet and arm extension moved in coordination with each other. He used sort choppy steps to lead up to the 2nd level and once there, he was just as dominant as he was on the 1st level. He is the captain of the team and he played liked it. For instance, on one play, he picked up 2 blitzers and full length dived to push out the outside blitzer and give the QB just enough time to deliver the TD pass. I did see sometimes if the rusher got his hands on his chest, then he can be knocked off balance. Also, a couple times a speedy rusher crossed his face (46 Jefferson did the best) and left him lunging for air.

Tarean Folston, RB, Senior #25

Started out the game with a huge run. I didn’t see much that impressed me after that play. He takes his time to find the crease and then he lowers his pads when he goes through the hole. He drives his legs to get as many yards as possible usually pushing the pile forward for 2-3 yds. I didn’t see a consistent explosion to bounce his runs. He didn’t play bad but he didn’t overly impress either.

Durham Smythe, TE, Senior #80

I liked this guy because he shows the athletic ability to run fluent  routes and he also showed the toughness and proper technique to be an effective run blocker. When run blocking, he runs full speed at his assignment (defender doesn’t know whether its a pass or run) and then breaks down with great base, balanced, and great hand placement on the defender’s chest plate. He was very aggressive on initial contact against defensive linemen because he worked to get leverage immediately after the snap(critical when going against bigger players). He can backside pass protect. He also has the hip flexibility and route savvy to get in and out of his routes easily. It only took him 2 quick steps to chop down on an out route and then flipped his head around very fast in case the ball was coming.

Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Sophomore #6

He was the best play maker for the Irish offense. He does not block aggressively but he does understand how he can chip his defender, and if at the right moment, it can lead to an explosive play. In receiving: he high point a fade pass on his outside shoulder and concentrated on keeping his one foot in bounds. He releases against bump and run are effective and never got jammed at the LOS. He catches a 3rd and long dig route. Dig route was nice because at the top of the route he only used one step and then he ran downhill while coming across the defense. He has some toughness to him as well because the safety were  lurking each time they threw the dig route. He is comfortable using his hands to do the catching.  He catches another touchdown with all hands after the seam pass

 Other Players that Flashed

Jerry Tillery, DT, Sophomore #99 for Notre Dame:

He moves fast all game and he is active with his hands while he head hunts the ball carrier. His initial pops are with low pad level and good forward lean. He has the tremendous power that he uses to rip through would be blockers. At the beginning of the game, he would go too far up field so lineman would shields him and the ball carrier would run right under him. He is really quick at the snap of the ball and active with his hands in pass rush.

D’onta Foreman, RB, Junior #33 for Texas:

I really liked the way he ran tough the entire game. He continually stay patient and found creases in the defense to gain 3-5 yds. per play. He kept his feet moving after contact and continued to grind out yards. His power is mixed with his speed that allows him the chose to bounce it or 1 step cut get up field.  I believe that he helped  wear down the defense. He is self-aware and balanced enough to put  his hand on the ground after contact and push himself back into an upright position (did twice in this game). He was rarely ever tackled by the first man. I absolutely loved how he set up his blocks by running to set up the defender and then he cut right under the blocker; did it time and time again. Deep RB draft class but he could contribute to a NFL team’s depth.

Devin Studstill, Safety, Freshman #14 for Notre Dame

Had really good coverage vs a stop and go route from the slot position in the goal line. I saw him fly into run support and make several tackles. His speed to diagnose and get to the ball carrier was on display when he would do things like line up on one side of the LOS but make the tackle on the opposite side of the LOS.  He has good reaction and drive power to drive on the route after the ball is thrown. I did have a little concern when he lined up as a drop down safety but didn’t react to a slant route run by the receiver on the outside. I need him to always jump those routes to be elite. Later in the game, he tried to jump a hitch route so maybe he is learning as he plays.

CJ Sanders, WR, Sophomore #3

He is a dangerous weapon in the open field. He has amazing cut back ability and explosion after he decides the lane he wants to pursue. He also returns punts (had a 40 yd. return in the game). Also, scored on a tunnel screen in overtime that showed another example of his elite explosion.

Torrie Hunter, Jr., WR, Senior #16

He is one of the captains of the team. He caught a TD after the QB scrambled and found him all alone. He also had a near great catch on a seam pass in the end zone in between two db’s and over a LB but he gets knocked out of the game after hit. Need more film on him because he could be a nice depth WR to an NFL team.

John Burt, WR, Sophomore #1 for Texas

He is a also a track star. I could see this because he got open the go route twice, dropped one TD and catches another TD. He made several 5 yard hitch catches after running a sloppy route but because the DB was too far back, it was an easy completion. When he caught the screen pass, he did not know what to do with the ball.

 Best Players on the Field

Malik Jefferson

Paul Boyette

Mike McGlinchey

Issac Rochell

Deshone Kizer

Forgettable Performances

Jason Hall, S, Junior #31

He flashed a little during the game and he had his ups and  downs. He took a bad angle up the middle on run support and Folston bounced it outside for a big gain. Also, he may have had a blown assignment on a touchdown pass up the seam. On other plays, he did really well. He shot the gap and tackled St. Brown on a tunnel screen. He came up for run support and tackled Zaire with great technique that was critical because the hole was huge. He showed great coverage skills in the redzone on St. Brown’s route of an out and up and he was the first read but wasn’t thrown too because the coverage was too tight. Showed good effort by diving out for attempted tackles when ball carrier too far.

Davante Davis, CB, Sophomore #9

His game is suspect because multiple times it looked like he may have blown the assignment. Also, he got beat on a fade route by St. Brown and never really put up a fight for the ball. On another play in the redzone, he totally left his WR for some reason and his guy ended up catching it for a TD. Another play he was defending in the slot and had a slow reaction to the slant route.

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Roger Dixon Jr

Roger is a native of Orlando, FL. After excelling in DII football his first 2 seasons, he fulfilled his lifelong dream of playing on the Florida Gators football team, where he was named Special Teams Player of the Year and Team Captain. He earned his degree in Economics from UF's Warrington College of Business. Roger brings a passion for football and unique perspective of what it takes to be successful in football at the highest level.

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