University of North Carolina Tarheels @ Florida State University Seminoles
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Walker Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
Score: North Carolina (37), Florida State (35)
Notable Prospects Entering the Contest
North Carolina Offense
Mitch Trubisky, QB, Junior, #10: An absolute delight to watch. Played with poise, composure and control. Trubisky made a number of plays with his legs that I wasn’t anticipating on seeing him make; including an impressive touchdown run early in the game in which he was flushed to his right. By no means a runner but he’s got enough functional athleticism to make defenses pay and move the chains if their backs are turned in man coverage. Very surprising amounts of arm strength; I was impressed with how the ball jumped off his hand. Did show some lapses in fading away from throws due to interior pressure but natural arm ability proved enough to still make a majority of throws. I was also impressed with how quickly he processed defensive leveraging vs. route concepts down the field; a trait that was also apparent watching game the previous week against Pittsburgh. A real dark horse prospect who is coming into his own; this is one to watch.
TJ Logan, RB, Senior, #8: Logan was another epiphany in this contest. Logan showed burst, suddenness in the open field and the overall ability to break angles on the second level. Logan has a second gear that teammate Elijah Hood has not shown this year. Logan’s first plus play was a touchdown catch and run effort up the far sideline; showing awareness to stay ready as Trubisky flushed the B gap and then the burst when turning up the field to close in for the pylon. Logan entered the year as the second half of the Tarheel rushing attack but is going to be difficult to keep off of the field with how well he’s running. Logan spent time in the flats as well; he offers a good deal of value as a receiving option as well. I want to see him get more touches between the tackles to see how well he feels and finds rushing alleys when working downhill.
Elijah Hood, RB, Junior, #34: After a strong first three weeks of the season, Hood has slipped in back to back weeks. Against Florida State Hood missed a majority of the game with an undisclosed injury (theorized as a head injury). But even prior against Pittsburgh; Hood has not shown the same ability to accelerate that we’ve seen from TJ Logan this year. Hood will likely see limited touches in the coming week or so. I do like Hood’s leg drive and ability to churn out the tough yardage; a very high percentage of his yards come after contact. His build compliments that style as well, but may leave a head injury with some overhead influence on how much he sees the football in the coming weeks.
Ryan Switzer, WR, Senior, #3: The best player on the field on Saturday. Switzer has been a monster for two consecutive weeks now, logging a combined 30 receptions. Switzer is at his best at the top of route stems; he illustrates sharp head turn and snap to break off his patterns and create high amounts of separation. Switzer’s long speed is going to be a question (and for some a limitation) but the acceleration to top speed does not have a big turnaround and Switzer has enough juice to pull away from people in the open field. A natural hands catcher; Switzer regularly extends for the ball and does well to transition receptions into a secure position quickly. He does struggle at times if a defender is able to establish hands on his release but he shows plus footwork at the LOS to work around contact effectively.
Mack Hollins, WR, Senior, #13: Hollins had a strong touchdown reception in the red zone; transitioning out of a reception and pivoting tightly to extend the ball beyond the pylon. Hollins got his most work of the season with 5 receptions in all and presents a case as an interesting possession caliber receiver; including a clutch reception to put UNC in position to try a field goal on the final possession. Hollins does not have the short area movement skills that his teammate (or a number of other receivers in the class) does but he is a functional athlete and uses his size well to extend and create a crease at the catch point. He has become an afterthought in spite of a touchdown reception in four consecutive games for the Tarheels.
Caleb Peterson, OL, Senior, #70: Peterson showed nothing that we haven’t seen over the course of his college career. Peterson was included in the 2016 Preseason Senior Outlook and did not leave much of a positive impression. Included in that report was as follows: “Peterson has a hard time handling speed and does not possess the foot quickness to mirror or shuffle to protect himself outside of his frame. Peterson also appears to have a hard time generating movement in one on one scenarios and needs to clean up his hand striking in order to establish forward push with regularity.” Against a stout but young interior for the Seminoles, I saw a lot of the same issues here. So while I’m not docking Peterson for his performance, I’m not impressed with it all the same.
North Carolina Defense
Des Lawrence, CB, Senior, #2: The one time Lawrence showed up in my notes was when he got bulldozed on the sideline by Dalvin Cook and was credited for a tackle. Lawrence’s underclassmen film is littered with flash plays but he does not appear (off this single sampling) to have taken strides in becoming a more consistent player. A quiet game is not necessarily a bad one, but Lawrence didn’t offer much in the way of an impact.
Florida State Offense
Dalvin Cook, RB, Junior, #4: Cook finally appears to be back on track following a slow start to the season. Cook showed on a number of touches the combination of elite short area quickness and explosiveness that has made him a favorite in the draft community. Cook’s ability to accelerate from a still position in stunning every time I watch him play. Some of his best work was negated by penalties against the FSU offense, unfortunately. Yet the consistent ability to break ankles and get to top speed quickly (and run with physicality as needed; just ask Des Lawrence) is a reminder of why Cook is constantly talked about as one of the top 15-20 potential prospects in the 2017 Draft.
Roderick Johnson, OL, Junior, #77: Johnson may have scored well with our friends over at Pro Football Focus on account of his on the field play but the means in which he’s getting results is not pretty (or sustainable, for that matter). Johnson’s footwork is a complete mess and in need of an overhaul, striking a similar chord as former FSU OL Cameron Erving. Johnson will too frequently concede angles and space on his release from the LOS and can get his feet crossed up as a result. Johnson’s overall athletic skill set is currently bailing him out from many pressures and negative plays, something he won’t be so lucky to sustain going forward or at the next level. There are many technical lapses in Johnson’s game (which we saw more of vs. UNC) but his feet are currently a fatal flaw.
Florida State Defense
Demarcus Walker, DE, Senior, #44: Walker is continuing his upward trend throughout the season; he has shown a good deal in the way of snap anticipation and physicality to mix it up at the LOS. Walker has more anticipation than he does actual burst at this point and time but he does have the kind of pop in his hands that will make him a handful to subdue. Walker’s best work continues to come in tight areas; so while I’m not especially sold on him as a perimeter rusher I think he holds great value as a piece to be worked along the front based on game situations. Walker’s disruption forced Trubisky off of his platform on a number of occasions.
Best Players on the Field:
Dalvin Cook, RB; Ryan Switzer, WR; Mitch Trubinsky, QB
Roderick Johnson, OL; Elijah Hood, RB; Nate Andrews, FS (FSU)