This year’s Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl was a MAC vs. C-USA matchup and Ball St. (MAC) couldn’t seem to keep up with Central Florida (C-USA). The two top seniors for UCF seemed to take control of this game and Ball St. just couldn’t keep up. This game might have lacked big plays but heart and hard-fought football certainly wasn’t missing.
There are ten seniors between the two teams that could have their name called but only seven played and only three of that seven really shined. Here are the game notes from the 2013 draft prospects.
#18 FS Kemal Ishmael
-Eager to run up and make a play
-Seems to be launching himself; missing some tackles because of it
-On the first play of the second half he correctly reads the option play, wraps up and rips the ball out of the RB’s arms
-Has a good sense of timing and rhythm; hits the receivers as soon as they go to catch the ball, no sooner, no later
-Takes notice of the deep man and immediately helps out his CB’s while keeping his eyes on the QB
-In single coverage vs. the TE on a seam route, sticks with him and knocks the ball out of his hands, violent deflection skills
-Has a very fast play-style, quick decision maker and likes to lay the big hits when given the chance
Overview: Kemal Ishmael was the glue that held this defense together in the matchup against Ball St. The free safety flew all over the field making plays and preventing Ball St. from getting into a rhythm. Ishmael is very solid in man coverage and he is a very instinctive tackler, forcing five fumbles on the season.
#28 RB Latavius Murray
-Takes his first handoff on the first play from scrimmage, very hesitant and a loss of yardage
-Takes the second handoff, hesitant before going through the line once again, no gain
-Stands up straight before the line of scrimmage, doesn’t keep his legs pumping after contact
-Once he hits the hole and gets past the LOS he becomes a very fluid runner; little wasted movement
-Long-armed blocker, picks up the blitz on the goal line then releases into a curl at the goal line and catches a TD pass
-Gets a goal line carry on the second drive, makes a nice cutback after the handoff, squares up his pads and bursts through the hole for the score
-Through the first quarter he has become the focal point of the offense, not many rushes but many designed passes to him; looks the ball into his hands then he runs
-Displays good footwork, does a lot of stop-and-go movements, his changing of speeds creates open lanes
-Catches a 5-yard TD pass at the closing of the first half; a swing pass with no contact until he reaches the end zone
Overview: Murray is a taller back who relies on his footwork more than anything else. At a little bit over 6-feet, Murray sometimes gets caught dancing in the backfield but he usually manages to find ways to avoid being tackled for a loss. Murray has great pad level and hits the hole at the most opportune time; his number was called against Ball St. and he stepped up to the plate.
#21 CB A.J. Bouye
-Gives about 3-4 yards of cushion when lining up
-Showcases quick foot-speed, sticks with his receiver in-and-out of cuts
-Does a good job of opening hips and keeping up with the WR on a streak, overruns the route and comes back and wraps the WR before
the ball gets there; unnecessary PI penalty
-On the next pass play the offense runs the same thing; Bouye comes back with a nice deflection from behind the WR
-Tends to allow inside passes because he’s worried about wrapping up the receiver
-Does a good job of forcing everything to the middle of the field, doesn’t allow WR to go over the top
Overview: Bouye is a speedy corner who did a good job of holding a weak Cardinal offense to minimal gains. The pint-sized corner showed great foot-speed and knowledge of offensive gameplans throughout the game and didn’t get up many yards. Being a smaller CB, it was refreshing to see him dedicated to making tackles.
#46 OLB Ray Shipman
#68 OG Theo Goins
#14 WR Quincy McDuffie
#8 MLB Travis Freeman
-Slow to get off of his blocks but flows to the ball very nicely
-Doesn’t usually play on long passing downs (sat out on the first 3rd and 12)
-Can’t seem to get through blocks when blitzing, ends up taking himself out of plays
-His lack of size hurts him on Central Florida’s third score, collides with opposing QB, stops initial progress but gets run over on second effort
-Gets called for a PI on the 5-yard line right before halftime, his lack of lateral speed costs him
-Continuously fails to fill the gaps on short yardage situations
-Does a good job of finding ways to make tackles all over the field
-Takes not of the QB’s cadence, starts to jump snaps effectively in the 2nd half and make plays in the backfield
-Never gives up on the play, gets a handful of tackles on second attempts
Overview: Travis Freeman might not be the biggest or the fastest linebacker, but he has been the field general for the Ball State defense throughout his career. Like most great linebackers, Freeman shows the ability to make plays happen despite not being able to do some of the simple things (disengage in blocks, keep up with RB’s in the passing game, etc.). Freeman has a knack for making things happen, which will at least give him a shot at the next level.
#6 CB Jason Pinkston
-Lines up giving a ton of cushion; against a team who’s top player is their RB
-Opens up his hips right at the snap as if every play is a passing play
-Makes a habit of hand-checking, called for interference for PI on a throw into the end zone
-Refuses to press at the line despite being bigger/thicker/stronger than the WR’s he’s facing
-Does a good job of staying home on a WR screen pass, breaks down against an agile WR and completely misses the tackle
-Became virtually nonexistent in the 2nd half; doesn’t help in the run game
-Looks to be more comfortable in zone coverage, doesn’t worry about getting beat he just sticks to his assignment
Overview: Pinkston came into this game as a last-round hopeful but did not help his case against UCF. The 6’1 corner plays off the ball every play and is reluctant to step up in the run game. Pinkston shows good discipline in the underneath routes but gets burnt from time to time over the top. Unless he tests well at the combine, an NFL team may seem like just a dream right now, unless a team tries to move him to safety.
#77 OT Austin Holtz
-Lines up at left tackle
-Tries to “catch” his opposition, gets forced backwards frequently
-Tries to exert all of his power when getting beat, becomes very unbalanced, ends up on the ground
-Has some plays where he runs right by guys when he goes downfield, bad awareness
-Has a good first outside step to prevent the speed rusher
-Keeps everything in front of him, very slow bringing his hands up
-Very destructive on down-blocks, has the ability to take out multiple defenders
Overview: Holtz had a lot of trouble against a typically weak UCF pass-rush. Holtz isn’t a “bad” player but he needs a lot of technical help (footwork, hand-placement, etc.). Holtz showed that he had decent strength but he needs to become more aware of what approach the DL will take against him; he has the tools he just needs to clean up his mechanics.
#11 OLB Jonathan Newsome
-Showed little productiveness through the first few drives
-Tries to use his speed to get around the tackles but struggles once contact is initiated
-Seemed “gassed” at the end of long drives
-Wasn’t spotted playing in the second half
Overview: Jonathan Newsome hasn’t been getting much recognition this season so it would’ve been nice to see him make a name for himself on a national scale; unfortunately, he didn’t. Newsome displayed good speed for an outside backer but he struggled to bring down opposing RB’s; he’s going to have to hit the weight room and test well at the combine.