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May 122012

Spotlight #1: Stanford G David DeCastro

Spotlight #2: Washington WR Jermaine Kearse 

1st quarter

13:47: DeCastro with good speed and hand use on a pull block.

8:57: Kearse can’t quite catch a pass over the middle against tough coverage.

8:18: DeCastro allows a man to beat him, defensive lineman can’t get pressure it’s a roll out.

5:49: Kearse takes a dump off for a few, but Stanford’s swarming defense does a good job of containing him.

3:00: Chris Polk, who had been bottled up to this point in the game, with a long touchdown run, breaking a few tackles along the way. He’s impressed me tonight getting a few yards on plays with awful blocking and then, of course, here on this long run. He’s in the running for the #2 back behind Trent Richardson. I was also impressed with him against Nebraska, a tough defense. He wasn’t tackled for a loss that entire game.

2:50: DeCastro with a nice pull block.

1:59: DeCastro helps open a big hole, but the running back doesn’t see it and runs right into a pile for a gain of no more than a yard.

1:17: DeCastro with an awesome run block to open up a long run. 30 yards.

2nd quarter

14:54: DeCastro can pass block too. Nice job.

13:34: Polk with a 61 yard touchdown. Very impressive back.

13:22: Led by DeCastro, Stanford gets a huge touchdown run by Stepfan Taylor. 70 yards.

12:01: Kearse catches a quick slant against bad coverage. Able to get a few afterwards with decent straight line speed.

11:31: Kearse drops an accurate ball after a nice route. That could have been a sizeable gain. Terrible.

6:42: DeCastro with a nice 2nd level block. Very mobile.


3rd quarter

12:12: DeCastro pushes two guys off the play on separate 2nd level blocks.

11:45: DeCastro with a nice 2nd level block on a 30 yard run.

11:16: DeCastro on a nice 2nd level block on a rushing touchdown.

11:06: Chase Thomas takes down Chris Polk by himself for a loss. That doesn’t happen very often.

10:20: Thomas in on another tackle for loss on Polk. He had help this time. Stanford is manhandling a terrible Washington offensive line.

8:53: DeCastro with another great pull block.

0:13: Kearse with a nice catch over the middle.

4th quarter

14:33: Kearse catches it short, nice job of fending off a few tacklers to get a few. Fumbles out of bounds.

13:26: Kearse bobbles and drops a fade in the end zone.

9:19: DeCastro with a nice 2nd level block on a sizable touchdown run.

0:00: DeCastro, simply put, had a dominant game, especially against the run. He blocks in the 2nd level extremely well and he pull blocks extremely well. He’s best fit as a zone blocking player at the next level because of his mobility, but he’ll work in whatever scheme. He wasn’t a bad pass protector either. He’s part of a Stanford line that has allowed 2 sacks all season. He had a pretty perfect game here as Stanford ran for 446 yards on the night. Stanford has had a terrific running game all season and DeCastro’s dominant blocking of all forms has been a big part of the reason. He is still a guard, however, so I can’t rate him too high. He also hasn’t had a particularly tough schedule.

Washington doesn’t have a bad defensive line, however. Defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu is a potential first round pick from Washington, but he had a terrible game tonight as Stanford’s offensive line manhandled him, especially against the run, which is supposed to be the 330 pounder’s strength. He wasn’t even matched up with DeCastro on most plays, though when he was, DeCastro dominated him.

The two other first rounders on Stanford’s offense are Jonathan Martin and, of course, Andrew Luck. Luck was 16 of 21 for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns. This game doesn’t affect his stock in anyway because he didn’t have to do anything to win. Martin was part of Stanford’s strong run blocking line and once again didn’t allow any sacks. He’ll be tested for the first time all season next week against USC’s Nick Perry.

Washington’s Chris Polk is in the running to be the 2nd running back off the board behind Trent Richardson. Polk rushed for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns on 15 carries despite the fact that Stanford was manhandling Washington’s awful offensive front. When Washington blocked well, Polk was able to pick up huge chunks of yardage. When they didn’t, Polk did a very good job of getting something. He wasn’t tackled for a loss at all against Nebraska the last time I watched him and tonight, when he was, it was very rare and because of how well Stanford was playing. There was only one play where he was solo tackled for a loss and that was by Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas.

Thomas was the standout on Stanford’s impressive front 7. Thomas plays 3-4 rush linebacker for Stanford. He has 5.5 sacks on the season and could be getting day 2 consideration if he keeps this up, though he was hardly going against a strong offensive line this week. We’ll see how he does against USC next week. At 239 pounds, he is a bit undersized to be a 3-4 rush linebacker.

The other spotlight in this game was Jermaine Kearse. Kearse caught 4 passes for 52 yards, but he didn’t stand out much. He was only his team’s 3rd leading receiver and he dropped a couple of passes, including a touchdown. Drops have been an issue for him all season. Kearse has been playing better of late, but he’s having a disappointing senior season. After 63 catches for 1005 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2009, he has just 27 catches for 336 yards and 6 touchdowns in 7 games in 2010. He’s not his team’s leader in yards and he’s barely his team’s leader in receptions. He seems to miss Jake Locker. He’s athletic enough at 6-2 210 to get some mid round consideration, but I don’t know how good this guy can be at the next level. He’s not productive and he has problems with drops.


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