University of Houston Cougars @ Naval Academy Midshipmen
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Jack Stephens Field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland
Score: Houston (40), Navy (46)
Notable Prospects Entering the Contest
Greg Ward, QB, Senior, #1: Ward had a difficult time (in spite of what the box score might suggest) passing the ball in rainy conditions. Ward is an undersized player at the position and was at his best on a moving platform, when he could roll and see throws clearly. He did miss some open receivers in the middle of the field while surveying from the pocket; he had some mismatches with LBs against slot receivers and failed to pull the trigger. A number of passes were also batted at the LOS, one resulting in an interception. Ward’s play was admirable but he did leave points on the field and directly gave 7 to Navy with a pick 6 in the second half. Personally, this game puts to bed the notion that Ward should receive any level of consideration as a passer at the next level. He does possess NFL caliber athleticism and good creativity and assertiveness as a runner.
Chance Allen, WR, Senior, #21: Allen was a pleasant surprise in this contest. I came into the game expecting to watch Duke Catalon but he was held out with a concussion. So the pressure shifted to the passing game as Navy pressed in the second half. Allen has size to be a possession receiver at 6030, 215 lbs. He bullied the smaller Navy DBs for a touchdown on a jump ball late in the game and regularly shrugged off contact to create YAC. A source did tell me scouts are concerned about his lack of consistency with contested catches and that scouts feel he lacks the short area quickness to regularly create separation. But on this night, Allen had a strong performance and is one that warrants a closer look.
Steven Taylor, LB, Senior, #41: It was announced on Saturday morning that Taylor was suspended from this contest for an unspecified violation of team policies. His presence was sorely missed, as the Navy offense chalked up over 300 yards rushing throughout the course of the game and had difficulty pressuring the Quarterback into a pitch early and behind the LOS. Taylor’s athletic skillset and consistency in relation to the other players tasked with tackling in the open field could have potentially made a difference in this game.
Matthew Adams, LB, Junior, #9: Adams was the LB to stepped up to take a large amount of the production left on the field in the absence of Taylor. Aside of freshman DL Ed Oliver (#1) Adams was the best player on the field for the Cougars. Adams, 6010, 230 lbs, showed quality athleticism and was fast to flow to the sideline playing the QB in Navy’s option attack. Adams did miss a number of tackles in the open field with lazy efforts to wrap up against Will North (6010, 205) and cost the team some first downs but by and large he was regularly at the football and stepped up to fill a void. A name to watch for 2018.
Josiah Powell, LB, Senior, #58: The Academy is typically a team with only sparse levels of Draft talent: each and every young man that signs up to represent this country courtesy of the Academy knows football is a secondary privilege. We are seeing a bit of a shift in the standards applied to student athletes, however. Joe Cardova and Keenan Reynolds have been allowed to pursue professional football careers and will likely open doors for others. Josiah Powell was the difference in this football game. A senior LB at 6030, 228 lbs, Powell was active in space and tallied two interceptions, the second one being a strong break on a throw that never should have been made. Powell moved well laterally and is a name I want to see continue to make big plays; as he was only a role player prior to this season (7 starts in 2015).
Best Players on the Field:
Ed Oliver, DT (Freshman, Houston); Will Worth, QB (Senior, Navy)
Garrett Davis, SS (Sophomore, Houston); Steven Taylor, LB