More MMQB: Jimmy G on His Return to QB1 | Ten Takeaways: Trevor Lawrence Takes Off
The past few years, my Six From Saturday notes have been included at the bottom of my MMQB column on Monday mornings. This year, they’ll be published as a separate post each week.
Here are my thoughts on this weekend’s college action, geared mostly toward what should be of interest to NFL fans.
1) On Saturday night in a nondescript Big 10 vs. MAC matchup, Ohio State QB CJ Stroud—through the level of throws he made, his ball placement, and his ability to buy himself time to find an all-star crew of receivers—looked like the first pick in the draft. He’ll have to be more consistent to get there, of course, but his play only highlighted, to me, how we really haven’t seen those sorts of performances yet at this early point in the college season from the presumed top group. Check the numbers from Saturday.
- Alabama QB Bryce Young (vs. Louisiana-Monroe): 13-of-18, 236 yards, three TDs, two INTs.
- Kentucky QB Will Levis (vs. Youngstown State): 27-of-35, 377 yards, two TDs, two INTs.
- Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke (vs. Texas A&M): 21-of-41, 217 yards.
- Florida QB Anthony Richardson (vs. South Florida): 10-of-18, 112 yards, two INTs.
That, by the way, isn’t to denigrate those guys; Stroud had issues playing against Notre Dame earlier in the year. I just think, having talked to NFL people about this the past few months, there’s a lot of promise in the 2023 group, but not much is set in stone. So, yes, I think this group will be better than last year’s—when we get to March and April. How much better, and which guys emerge from the group, remains to be seen.
2) And while we’re there, USC true sophomore Caleb Williams, who came to Los Angeles from Oklahoma with Lincoln Riley, is worth putting on your radar for 2024. He was excellent as a freshman last year as a Sooner and has completed 74.4 % of his throws for 874 yards, eight touchdowns and no picks through three games. Sure, the games were against Rice, Stanford and Fresno State—and while that’s not as soft a start as some powers’ schedules, there also isn’t some big test in there. Still, Williams adapting that quickly to his new surroundings is notable. And his tools, both as a quarterback and as an athlete, are top-notch. So again, keep an eye on him.
3) The Nebraska mess underscores how it’s going to be more difficult for fired NFL coaches to land in college than it used to be. The Huskers’ coaching search is already underway. And if they move like USC, LSU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame did last year, it’ll be over well before the NFL season is. USC and LSU poached coaches from Oklahoma and Notre Dame, respectively, by Dec. 1 of last year. Four days later, on Dec. 5, both Oklahoma and Notre Dame had their replacements in place. For context, that same date this year is the Monday of Week 13. Meaning when we get to that point in the calendar, there’ll still be five weeks left in the NFL season. So if, say, Nebraska wants Matt Rhule—and Rhule isn’t fired by midseason—the Huskers would probably have to ask him to pull a Bobby Petrino to come. And it’d be hard to see another coach doing that after the mess that one created.
4) Clemson pulled away in the second half, but the Tigers’ lead over Louisiana Tech (which lost to Missouri by four touchdowns) was just 13–6 at the half. And so it’s absolutely fair to ask, when you add that to the slow development of quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, whether it’s time for staff changes. And I’m not just talking about a single coach on offense. Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence both had Clemson playing with a pretty sizable margin for error from 2014 to ’20, but what we’ve seen since doesn’t look the same.
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5) Georgia’s got a lot of pros on offense (you already know about the defense), so I know that Stetson Bennett’s got a boatload of help. But it’s hard not to wonder whether there’ll be a nice 10-year NFL career for him as a backup and spot starter. That’s where so much of his experience—leaving Georgia, coming back, and going in and out of the lineup—could be really valuable. Physically, he may be small and not overwhelming in any category, but it looks, to me at least, like he’s got enough to carve out a nice Chase Daniel–style run in the pros.
6) One last note, and I say this knowing it’s possible there’s a freshman not playing that could develop into one—Alabama, for the first time in a half decade may not have a first-round receiver on its roster. And that, I think, might actually help NFL teams evaluate Young ahead of April’s draft.
BEST OF THE NFL INTERNET
This isn’t the only NFL-related thing someone wishes was being run by Apple on Sunday.
This, of course, from when the Ravens were blowing the Dolphins out.
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Just in case you didn’t get my Apple reference above.
I don’t know why I enjoyed that tweet so much.
They basically placed him on the ground politely! Where’s the roughness?
This is really nice.
Was only a cameo. Too bad. Revenge was right there for him.
Best dance of the day.
… I take it back. This is better.
This would be funnier …
… If I didn’t do the same thing (basically).
Broadway Joe, still rolling.
I really like this Lions team.
At least he knows what’s coming with the tablet thing.
You can’t just buy it in a store there?
An objectively hilarious media session.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Any suggestions you all have for the column, I’m all ears. So send those along. And we’ll see you for the MAQB and our MNF Twitter Live tonight!