East-West Shrine countdown
Counting down our 10 questions that should be answered in today’s East-West Shrine Game at Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl (3 p.m. EST, ESPN2):
10. It’s been an ugly week of practice for Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark. Does he show enough in today’s game to warrant a spot as a quarterback in an NFL training camp, or does he start getting himself ready to work out for teams as a non-quarterback prospect?
9. How does Fordham quarterback John Skelton handle the jump in competition? The guy has all the tools to play at the next level and seemed to get more and more comfortable as the week went on. This could be his chance to take the next step in front of NFL teams during live game action.
8. One thing is for sure, the tighter splits this week along the offensive line have definitely helped Texas Tech’s slow-footed guard, Brandon Carter, in pass protection. How will he hold up inside vs. the quick-twitch defensive linemen on the East?
7. How effective will Arizona State running back Dimitri Nance be breaking tackles inside and creating yards after contact? The guy is physical, compact and shifty for his size, and I expect him to show well for himself.
6. With the bright lights on, does Ole Miss defensive end Greg Hardy play up to his abilities and dominate the unimpressive West offensive tackles? Or does he simply call it a week early and allow himself to be blocked by guys who shouldn’t be able to handle him one-on-one?
5. Does Indiana offensive tackle Rodger Saffold put a final stamp on his outstanding week with another strong performance vs. the best pass rushers the West has to offer?
4. How well will former defensive ends O’Brien Schofield and Dexter Davis play in their first live action as outside linebackers? Will they show enough to at least be considered potential stand-up 3-4 guys in the NFL or will they need to be content in the role of nickel rushers at the next level?
3. How do safeties Kam Chancellor and Robert Johnson hold up when asked to play in space? Both are tall, long-legged guys who have struggled in the past transitioning out of their breaks and redirecting in coverage. So how do they fare in this one after a week working with NFL-caliber coaching?
2. Much like Greg Hardy, if North Carolina State DE Willie Young can’t generate pressure off the edge vs. the West tackles, how can you expect him to do it at the next level? Young isn’t real explosive or physical off the snap, but he’s a coordinated athlete who can at least use his length to slip blocks and work his way toward the quarterback on his counter move. He’s one guy who needs to show well.
1. How will undersized defensive tackles Earl Mitchell and Nate Collins hold up inside when asked to defend the run game down after down? We know both of them are gifted athletes who have the ability to create havoc on passing downs, but their ability to make plays vs. the run inside could go a long way toward improving their potential.
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