Head 2 Head Preview: Week 5

NFL Analyst Chris Steuber makes his picks for this weekend's top "Head 2 Head" individual matchups between college players who will be eligible for the 2008 NFL Draft. Find out who you should keep an eye on inside...

#5 West Virginia at #18 South Florida

Game Result:  Friday, September 28th at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN2

The Prospects:  West Virginia, RB - Steve Slaton (Jr.) vs. South Florida, MLB - Ben Moffitt (Sr.)

The Matchup:  Steve Slaton is a dynamic running back that can change the pace of a game. He displays excellent vision and is able to run between the tackles. He's explosive around the end and has outstanding cutback ability. He's a patient runner that allows blockers to set up in front of him and is able to hit the seam quickly. Slaton is also a tremendous receiver. He's a threat out of the backfield on a screen, flat, or post pattern; whenever he touches the ball great things happen for the Mountaineers. The Bulls' Ben Moffitt is an aggressive, instinctive middle linebacker that displays outstanding leadership qualities. He's quick to the initial point of attack and sheds blockers very well. He's a consistent tackler who excels defending the run. Moffitt will have to pick his spots to attack Slaton. Slaton has one of the better fullbacks in the country blocking for him, Owen Schmitt. It'll be Schmitt's responsibility to keep Moffitt from getting his hands on Slaton.

2007 Statistics:  

     

Rushing

No Name GP Att Yds Avg Lng TD
10 Steve Slaton 4 84 502 6.0 58 9

 

     

Tackles

Sacks
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL/Yds No-Yds
59 Ben Moffitt 3 9 14 23 3.5-15 0-0

 

Maryland at #10 Rutgers

Game Details:  Saturday, September 29th at 3:30 p.m. on ABC

The Prospects:  Maryland, DT - Dre Moore (Sr.) vs. Rutgers, RB - Ray Rice (Jr.)

The Matchup:  Ray Rice is a tough runner that has quick feet, great vision, and the ability to break tackles. He's not the fastest back in the country, but Rice uses his strength and leverage to his advantage against the opposition. A workhorse that can carry the majority of the carries, Rice can lift a team to victory on any given down. However, he doesn't have great hands and isn't used much out of the backfield as a receiver. Maryland's defensive tackle Dre Moore is a balanced interior lineman. He has an explosive burst off the line of scrimmage and gets into the opposition quickly. He's an outstanding run defender, as well as a pass rusher, who has great instincts. Moore has a unique blend of skills that causes the opposition problems in the trenches. Moore's ability to get up the middle will detour Rice from running between the tackles effectively.

2007 Statistics:  

     

Tackles

Sacks
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL/Yds No-Yds
92 Dre Moore   4 7 6 13 3-15 2-13

 

     

Rushing

No Name GP Att Yds Avg Lng TD
27 Ray Rice 3 74 431 5.8 41 8


UCLA at Oregon State

Game Details:  Saturday, September 29th at 6:30 p.m.

The Prospects:  UCLA, DE - Bruce Davis (Jr.) vs. Oregon State, RB - Yvenson Bernard (Sr.)

The Matchup:  Yvenson Bernard is a good running back that has good size and is deceptively quick. He's not a burner, but he gets tough yards through hard work. He shows good vision, has excellent strength, and is hard to take down. He's a bit inconsistent; he'll have a great game where he's very productive and then in the following game he'll struggle. The one part of Benson's game that may cause UCLA problems is his ability to catch the ball. Benson has 13 receptions for 62 yards this season. UCLA's Bruce Davis has tremendous speed and causes a lot of trouble in the backfield. He's not the strongest defensive end, but he's fast and uses his hand really well against the opposition. At 6-foot-3, 235-pounds, Davis, who's one of the premier pass rushers in the country, is athletic enough to drop back in coverage and mirror Benson on screens. This is something UCLA may decide to do with Davis, especially if Oregon State has success throwing the ball to Benson.

2007 Statistics:

     

Tackles

Sacks
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL/Yds No-Yds
44 Bruce Davis 4 11 3 14 5-20 3.5-16

 

     

Rushing

No Name GP Att Yds Avg Lng TD
26 Yvenson Bernard 4 83 377 4.5 54 4

 


#6 California at #11 Oregon

Game Details:  Saturday, September 29th at 3:30 p.m. on ABC

The Prospects:  California, S - Thomas DeCoud (Sr.) vs. Oregon, WR - Jaison Williams (Jr.)

The Matchup:  Jaison Williams is a physical receiver with a lot of skills that cause a defensive back a lot of problems. At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Williams uses his size to his advantage and is able to box out defenders and make difficult receptions. He gets off the line easily and excels in press coverage. Williams tends to drop easy balls and gets frustrated if things don't go his way. This is something Cal's Thomas DeCoud can take advantage of. DeCoud is a physical safety who plays aggressively and doesn't mind getting his hands dirty. Decoud is a versatile defender that's played both corner and safety during his time at Cal. He's good in coverage and should provide Cal with insurance covering Williams in the open field.

2007 Statistics:  

     

Tackles

Pass D
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL/Yds Int-Yds
4 Thomas DeCoud   4 16 13 29 1-12 1-0

 

     

Receiving

No Name GP Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
4 Jaison Williams 4 18 267 14.8 50 4

 


#8 Ohio State at Minnesota

Game Details:  Saturday, September 29th at 7:00 p.m.

The Prospects:  Ohio State, MLB - James Laurinaitis (Jr.) vs. Minnesota, RB - Amir Pinnix (Sr.)

The Matchup:  James Laurinaitis is an instinctive linebacker with playmaking ability. He's an aggressive force that can shed blocks and has a nose for the ball. He's an excellent tackler who displays great technique. Laurinaitis anticipates plays well and seems to always be in position to make a play. He excels in coverage and can turn defense into offense at any moment. This will be a tough matchup for Amir Pinnix. Pinnix is a good back who displays moments of brilliance followed by inconsistent play. He's has an explosive first step and is able to get in between the tackles and gain positive yards. He has good vision and has nice cutback ability. He has great hands out of the backfield and is used as a receiver in the offense. Laurinaitis' anticipation and instincts will be a huge factor in this game and will be Ohio State's key to stopping Pinnix on Saturday.

2007 Statistics:

     

Tackles

Sacks
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL/Yds No-Yds
33 James Laurinaitis   4 14 15 29 3-20 3-20

 

     

Rushing

No Name GP Att Yds Avg Lng TD
29 Amir Pinnix 4 77 439 5.7 58 3


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.


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