Minute-by-minute report from the couch

It was a difficult assignment but someone had to do it, so we asked Jim Wexell to stay home, watch all the New Year's Day bowl games and provide analysis, with an eye on how it pertains to the Steelers.

This is the timeline of a sportswriter who sat on his couch for 11 and a half hours New Year's Day, but who retired before the fireworks began:

11:21 a.m.: Every Steelers fan watching the Penn State game, who saw Britton Colquitt drop back to kick for Tennessee, is thinking the same thing. However, the latest in the Colquitt dynasty is only a sophomore.

11:25 a.m.: Rangy and rugged running back Tony Hunt looks to have more power and speed than originally suspected. Either he's a first-round pick or I haven't had enough coffee yet.

11:37 a.m.: The Steelers need running backs and linebackers. My guess is they'll have a shot at Paul Posluszny in the second round, and will pass. Now, Tim Shaw, the 237-pound OLB in the Penn State 3-4, is someone who'd interest me on the second day.

1:09 p.m.: Posluszny just made his first play of the game. He shot a gap and stuffed the back.

1:10 p.m.: Whoa. Posluszny's starting to wreck this game. He just sniffed out a Tennessee screen pass. I have to admit, he looks much more fluid than he did early in the season. Perhaps rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.

1:17 p.m.: Seeing Joe Paterno in the press box reminds me that he turned the Steelers down in their search for a coach in 1969. Maybe he's waiting for another chance.

1:35 p.m.: Calvin Johnson just scored for Georgia Tech. He could have a monster day. It looks like Tech has replaced Kordell Stewart with a young Ben Roethlisberger.

1:38 p.m.: Ben Grubbs and Tim Duckworth are out in front of Kenny Irons on a sweep and it's easy to tell which guard is the first-round prospect and which is the second-day prospect. But Grubbs, the first-rounder, doesn't splatter linebackers the way he should, or the way you expect when you see all of that power on the run. Or maybe I'm just projecting Kendall Simmons back into his Auburn uniform.

2:05 p.m.: Nebraska 3-4 end prospect Adam Carriker looks like Aaron Smith, but unfortunately he doesn't play like him. And when Aaron was in college, he was a skinny 4-3 end with speed. Carriker, as many Nebraska prospects before him, is maxed out and has next to zero upside.

2:07 p.m.: Auburn's big wide receiver, Courtney Taylor, just ran a short out, caught the pass, spun away with a stiff arm to the DB's chest, and ran down the sideline for a big gain. I'm wondering if Courtney Taylor is related to Otis Taylor.

2:09 p.m.: Tennessee can't block Jay Alford, who could be had at a bargain rate. I know, I know, he's a 4-3 tackle, but if the Steelers can draft a short, stubby and stinky 4-3 tackle like Orien Harris in the fourth round, they sure can take a chance on a tough son of a gun like Alford.

2:11 p.m.: Let's see if our boy Tony Hunt can close out this game for Penn State.

2:18 p.m.: The ticker tells me Calvin Johnson is indeed running amok against that porous WVU secondary.

2:19 p.m.: With nine Volunteers in the box, Hunt carries seven consecutive times for 39 yards. The fullback scores from the one and Hunt goes off to ponder playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

2:23 p.m.: I turn the channel just in time to see Wisconsin kick an extra point. Please don't tell me that Stocco kid threw another touchdown pass.

2:24 p.m.: I thought I said don't tell me!

2:33 p.m.: The tight end's kid, Keith Jackson, just intercepted a Stocco screen pass and Arkansas is driving. I knew Stocco couldn't pull this one off.

2:38 p.m.: Well, he is going to pull this one off, and he owes a thank you to Houston Nutt. The Arkansas coach just called a fourth-and-one (incomplete) pass and his receiver ran a half-yard pattern. Is Darren McFadden hurt or something?

2:40 p.m.: Nutt's not the worst coach today, not with Bill Callahan walking the Nebraska sideline. He's playing for a tying field goal with 2:30 left, and his team is moving backward. The fourth-and-11 pass sails high out of bounds and Callahan has the dumbstruck, open-mouthed gaze that John L. Smith made famous.

3:00 p.m.: All's quiet on the living room front. Maybe a nice butter sandwich can hold me over till the second halves of the 1 p.m. games begin.

3:21 p.m.: West Virginia shows signs of life. The "sleeper play" called by Rich Rodriguez goes for a touchdown and the Mounties trail by 35-24 with 12:31 left in the third. Is this play – where the offensive line stands frozen as the QB throws for six -- the turning point?

3:34 p.m.: Brandon Myles pulls WVU within four with a great catch. The replay shows him running the route like he's Walter Young. Another big guy who's too slow into and out of his break.

3:39 p.m.: An Arkansas linebacker intercepts a hideous Stocco pass, but of course I'm being redundant.

3:44 p.m.: Pat White scores to put WVU in front. What a comeback.

3:57 p.m.: Stocco is sacked on third-and-nine, and with 12:30 remaining in the fourth the Badgers have zero yards offense in the half.

4:06 p.m.: Arkansas' Marcus Monk drops a second-and-19 pass at midfield with 20 yards of open field in front of him. That's the second game in a row he's dropped a pass at a critical point in the game. Another big receiver gets scratched from the draft list.

4:30 p.m.: Wisconsin's first down with 2:06 left clinches the win and makes the Badgers the worst 12-1 team in the history of major-college football.

4:35 p.m.: Calvin Johnson catches nine for 186 in a loss. He'll be the third player selected. The first two – considering Oakland and Detroit are picking – MUST draft Brian Brohm and Brady Quinn.

4:45 p.m.: Oh, no, it's Musberger.

5:24 p.m.: That second-round pick on Posluszny? Make that David Harris. The Michigan middle backer makes three plays on the first series of the Rose Bowl. He's physical, explosive and seems to enjoy contact.

5:35 p.m.: Something called Morgan Trent is trying to cover Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith. Something tells me a safety won't be there to help Trent the rest of the game.

5:47 p.m.: Jake Long would make a perfect right tackle for the Steelers. Someone should tell him that if he doesn't come out until next year, he'll be a Cardinal and not a Steeler.

6:08 p.m.: Um, maybe he'd better stay in school. USC is swarming the Michigan quarterback, and it seems that every time Long stands up (to indicate pass pro), USC brings the house. It makes me wonder how the Ohio State defense allowed the Michigan offense to keep up. USC has sacked Chad Henne five times in the first half.

6:19 p.m.: This is the best I've seen Keith Rivers play. Still, I think the USC inside backer would be a better fit on the edge. That's probably his pro position. In college it's more difficult to run away from him in the middle.

6:55 p.m.: Chad Henne just threw a screen pass to USC defensive end Lawrence Jackson. It could be the turning point.

7:00 p.m.: USC goes right at Trent three consecutive times before throwing to a wide-open receiver in the end zone. I can't even blame Trent for that since he's not in the picture.

7:06 p.m.: Jake Long is looking bad. Stay in school, kid. Stay in school.

7:16 p.m.: Trent + Jarrett + no safety = USC touchdown.

7:26 p.m.: John David Booty runs a quarterback draw to convert a fourth-and-one. He was tackled by Lamarr Woodley. I only bring this up because it's the first time Musberger has mentioned Woodley's name.

7:32 p.m.: Bob Davie makes a good point: "Whoever wins this game will be the No. 1 ranked team next season because players don't come back if the chemistry's not right on the football team."

7:33 p.m.: David Harris busts up a pass in the end zone, but USC gets closer to that No. 1 ranking next season with a field goal, 19-3.

7:54 p.m.: Jarrett just beat Leon Hall for a 62-yarder. One's looking like a top 10 player and the other is not.

8:02 p.m.: Rivers blitzes up the middle, forcing Henne to dump off to Michael Hart, who struggles for a few yards, stays up, and gets his arm broken by the rushing Rivers.

8:06 p.m.: The sideline reporter tells us that Michigan's trainer doesn't want to answer, but finally told her that, no, there's nothing wrong with Hart's shoulder. She should've asked about the broken arm.

8:07 p.m.: There's a stark contrast in sideline demeanor here at the Rose Bowl. While Michigan's sophomore nose tackle is pointing fingers and screaming at teammates, about 120 USC players are bouncing up and down and yelling across the field. I think they're yelling this: "Do you want cheese with that whine?"

8:08 p.m.: Musberger's on the soapbox about the comportment of wide receivers. It's time for the next game.

10:30 p.m.: All I'll say about Oklahoma is that running back Adrian Peterson is a horse. Yes, he runs a bit high, and yes he'll take a pounding in the NFL, but the guy's too big and fast to ignore. He's the fourth pick of the draft.

10:35 p.m.: Boise State has this game in hand. Time to turn out the lights because my instincts tell me this game won't be worth staying up for.


Steel City Insider Top Stories