Week 1 College Football Preview

Week 1 of College Football is finally here! Hussam Patel gives his top three game previews and games that you need to watch.

Week 1 of the 2022 college football season is finally here. Here are the top three Week 1 college football games you need to watch, and a preview of each.

Arkansas vs. Cincinnati preview

#23 Cincinnati Bearcats v #19 Arkansas Razorbacks. 3:30 P.M. EST, ESPN

  • Line: Arkansas -7, o/u: 52

Cincinnati Week 1 College Football Preview

There might be big talent losses in several areas, but the offensive front is loaded with all-stars and veterans, and it should be among the best in the nation at keeping defenses out of the backfield

Coach Luke Fickell’s comments raise some alarms heading into the Razorbacks stadium. He admitted that the Bearcats are not suited to play against a loud SEC home crowd.

Cincinnati lost a talented quarterback in Desmond Ridder, can they replace his production week 1 against the Razorbacks?

The biggest key in winning this top 25 matchup in week 1 for the Bearcats is containing Arkansas quarterback K.J. Jefferson.

Arkansas Week 1 College Football Preview

Razorbacks quarterback K.J. Jefferson was good last year; however can he be special against a good defense in the Cincinnati Bearcats in week 1?

Without a doubt, Jefferson will be the key for the Razorbacks. Furthermore, their running game should help him out. The team led the SEC in rushing.

The passing efficiency should be there against a revamped Cincinnati secondary that lost a slew of NFL talents. With the loss of Treylon Burks to the NFL, coach Pittman wants to see how good receiver Drew Sanders can be. 

Utah vs. Florida preview

#7 Utah Utes v Florida Gators. 7 P.M. EST, ESPN

  • Line: Utah -2.5, o/u: 53.5

Utah Week 1 College Football Preview

Linebacker Devin Lloyd might be gone, but former Gator Mohamoud Diabate is a good one to try helping the cause. 

The defensive front will once again be a killer in the backfield, and the tackles are massive human beings who’ll gum up the works.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham brings a veteran, disciplined team against the Gators in Week 1. The Utes are led by standout QB Cam Rising, who threw for 2,493 yards and 20 touchdowns to five interceptions, along with 74 rushes for 499 yards and six touchdowns.

Florida Week 1 College Football Preview

Gainesville’s own Anthony Richardson, with his superb athleticism and arm, is the face of the team as its quarterback. Richardson’s supporting cast is full of returning players. 

Head coach Billy Napier squares off against a top-10 team in Week 1 as his first game as the Gators coach. Napier brings along a few of the good parts from Ragin’ Cajun days; the offensive line really will be a strength, and the running back situation is about as deep as any in the SEC.

The Gators will have to rely on a good rotation on the defensive front and return top NFL draft prospects in Brenton Cox Jr., Gervon Dextor, and Jason Marshall Jr.

Florida’s run defense has to prove it can be night-and-day better than it was last season, as Patrick Toney is in charge of the defense this season.

Notre Dame vs. Ohio State preview

#5 Notre Dame at #2 Ohio State. 7:30 P.M. EST, ABC

  • Line: Ohio State -16.5, o/u: 58.5

Notre Dame Week 1 College Football Preview

New head coach Marcus Freeman’s biggest test is right out of the gates Week 1 against last year’s college football finalist Ohio State. No pressure, Marcus.

It’s the debut of new quarterback Tyler Buchner. Notre Dame needs to establish a running game that is much more effective than that in order to support Buchner. Furthermore, stud tight end Michael Mayer will be targeted most of the game due to an injury sustained by wide receiver Avery Davis.

Al Golden is the new defensive coordinator for the Fighting Irish. Will he and his secondary hold up against a talented trio of another batch of Buckeye receivers in Jaxson Smith-Njigba, Marvin Harrison Jr., and Emeka Egbuka?

Notre Dame fills the loss of Kyle Hamilton with Northwestern transfer Brandon Joseph, and eyes will be on EDGE rusher Isaiah Foskey who has first round potential in this year’s draft cycle.

Ohio State Week 1 College Football Preview

Ryan Day’s squad returns Heisman hopeful quarterback C.J. Stroud against a top-5 team in Notre Dame in Week 1 of college football. No one boasts Ohio State’s skill position talent, and it may very well be the reason why they are heavily favored.

The Buckeyes feature three of the top 12 players in the Heisman odds with quarterback C.J. Stroud, running back TreVeyon Henderson, and receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. 

The Buckeyes defense was its major problem last season against top teams in Alabama, Michigan, and Oregon. Ryan Day brought in Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State to shore up the run defense. 

The linebacker play from Steele Chambers and Tommy Eichenberg will come into focus to stop the Fighting Irish ground attack.

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What’s going on with Liam Eichenberg?

How does Liam Eichenberg, who is one of the better technicians as an offensive line, continue to struggle on the Miami Dolphins?

Following the Miami Dolphins shocking victory against the Baltimore Ravens, PFF usually comes out with ratings and pressure rates. Liam Eichenberg allowed a team high seven pressures.

On the season, Eichenberg has allowed 44 pressures. How does one of the more technically sound lineman on the roster and in the 2021 NFL draft allow this much pressure?

Notre Dame

Accolades:

  • During his Fighting Irish career Eichenberg started 38 games at Left Tackle
  • Eichenberg went the last 30 games of his career without allowing a sack
  • He allowed just three sacks his first year as a starter in 939 snaps. He would not allow a sack in either of the next two seasons on his way to consensus All-American honors in 2020
  • At 15, Ohio State offered Eichenberg a scholarship

Pre-draft analysis

Eichenberg was regarded as a technically-sound tackle prospect. At Notre Dame he played efficiently out of his stance in pass protection. In run blocking, he excelled at moving down on blocks and finishing at the second level.

There were concerns about Eichenberg’s footwork as he would get caught against faster edge rushers, especially in a Wide-9 stance.

In turn, this style of play limits Eichenberg’s fit in a west coast and RPO style of scheme, he seems better suited in a scheme that will utilize his powerful arms. A scheme that runs a lot of power run plays and play action passes would benefit from his blocking.

Film

Here you can see Eichenberg strike with force on first contact and gain depth into his pass set.

Eichenberg’s powerful lower body shines when he is able to put one hand onto the ground and finish his defender off into the second level. He does this on combo blocks too.

One of his worst traits is his timing, and hand placement. Eichenberg routinely punches rushers off the line and does not change it in different sets, making his contact predictable

Upon further review he reaches for contact instead of patiently waiting for rushers to make a move.

Miami Dolphins

Pre-season

In training camp, it was reported by Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post that Liam Eichenberg was getting reps as the first team left guard.

At first, it made sense to plug Eichenberg as a left guard, as a former left tackle he would understand a bit of the nuances. Furthermore, Eichenberg’s arm length is not on par to an average starter at left tackle. Eichenberg’s arm length is around 32 ⅜”. An average NFL LT’s is 34″ while a guard has an average of 33’ arms. 

That move inside showed that Eichenberg had the ability to start right away. It also shows his versatility as an offensive lineman. Versatility goes a long way in any player’s NFL career. Former Miami Dolphin Laremy Tunsil started his career by playing left guard.

Regular Season

However, Liam Eichenberg was inserted as the starting left tackle Week 1 against the New England Patriots. Austin Jackson, the team’s starting LT was out due to Covid-19 protocol.

“I’m a guy you can plug in and play right now,” Eichenberg said before Notre Dame’s Pro Day in March. “I’m not a guy that needs a lot of development. I’ve been coached well. I use my technique and my fundamentals very well.”

So how is it that a Notre Dame OL prospect, a school known as the OL factory, has given up 44 pressures and leads the league in sacks given up?

Film

The same instances pop up when Liam is struggling, primarily in pass coverage, as a left tackle.

From Lance Zierlen of NFL.com :

“Could struggle gaining early depth with kick slides versus NFL speed.

Timing, hand placement and body control all need work in pass sets.

High hands easily swatted and discarded.

Punch is monotonous and predictable.

Needs to eliminate punch hitch and diversify his attacks on rushers.

Reaches looking for two-hand contact rather than sitting back and ripping it.

Has a tendency to play too far forward when seeking moving targets.

One-pop hitter, allowing rushers secondary opportunities”

Eichenberg himself has said he feels like he is a better RT than LT in the NFL. While Austin Jackson looks to have improved at LG, moving Jackson back to LT may prove costly.

Eichenberg #74 gets pushed back

Another OL change will break the Dolphins continuity, which Flores preaches. Moving Eichenberg to RT may work or may not. If it doesn’t, he can try RG and slide Robert Hunt to RT where he played last season.

Root Cause

The main issue with Eichenberg is that he pushes forward against faster edge rushers which allows defenders to hit that extra gear and get home.

The root cause? His stance.

Notre Dame Stance
Week 1 vs. New England
Week 9 vs. Jaguars
Week 11 vs. Ravens

Throughout the NFL season Eichenberg’s stance has worsened. He’s playing with a higher pad level. In the trenches it’s said, the low man always wins.

In the NFL, there are much more powerful rushers compared to college. I would understand why Eichenberg’s base and stance has been altered to get more drive out of his body. However, this leads to him playing to high. Thus, the result making him lose his one-on-one battles and giving up more pressures.

The Fix

This is not only an Eichenberg issue, it an issue amongst the entire offensive line, especially the younger lineman. It will take some growing pains for Eichenberg to hold down the fort. It has not helped that he has had to play multiple positions on this line for several weeks.

Also, it comes down to coaching. Coach Lemeul Jean-Pierre is a first-time offensive line coach tasked with developing Eichenberg, Jackson, Hunt, and Kindley. It has taken Austin Jackson 21 games to show he’s is not up to par to play left tackle. Recently, Jackson is serviceable as a left guard.

Against the Ravens, the pocket looked a bit cleaner compared to recent weeks. If the offensive line can continue to improve as they did against Baltimore they have some experience to carry over into the remaining schedule.

Conclusion

If Eichenberg continues to show the same struggles at left tackle it might be better to move him to right tackle or as a guard.

After all, his former college coach thinks he would be a fit at right tackle in the NFL.

“Those who are going to draft him are going to get a plug-and-play guy on the right side. He’s probably not a left tackle. If you’re talking about that kind of athleticism, you could make the case that maybe he’s not a left tackle. At the right tackle position, you plug him in and he plays right away in the NFL because of his consistency, because he’s going to be there every single day.”

Brian Kelly on Liam Eichenberg

One positive of Eichenberg play is that he does well when his hand is on the ground and he has to push people around and move up to the second level. Whether it be in the ground game or in passing sets.

He does not get pushed off the line easily when he plays with his hand in the dirt.

While it may be late to change offensive philosophies this late into the season, a change in personnel, technique, and coaching may help Eichenberg’s development and the entirety of the offensive line.

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USC at Notre Dame Prospects Stock Watch

Which players from the Trojans and Fighting Irish should get hard looks at?

Saturday evening I was able to attend one of the most historic rivalries in college football, USC and Notre Dame. Both teams have plenty of NFL Draft prospects to examine. Southern California has been down for the past several years, firing their head coach earlier this season exemplifies that.

Notre Dame has been on the other end of the spectrum for “blue blood” CFB programs. They’ve made it to two College Football Playoffs in the past three seasons. Although it looks like they will be out of this upcoming playoff, they still boast a (6-1) record, with their one loss coming at the hands of #2 Cincinnati.

Even with these two programs seemingly on different spectrums, this rivalry proves to always show a good game. So without further ado, here are my game notes for some of the top 2022 NFL Draft prospects from USC at Notre Dame.

USC at Notre Dame Prospects

Stock Up

Drake London, Wide Receiver, USC

Drake London was an absolute menace for USC against Notre Dame. London was used mainly as USC’s “X” receiver, but spent time in the slot as well. As USC’s alpha wide receiver, London accumulated 15 catches and 171 yards receiving. That’s good for 56% of USC’s receptions and 57% of USC’s passing yards, in this game!

London displayed incredible yards after the catch ability all night, highlighting his incredible “wiggle” for his size (listed at 6’5” — 210 lbs.).

Cam Hart, Cornerback, Notre Dame

Cam Hart has been someone on my radar since his incredible game against Wisconsin at Soldier Field about a month ago. He continued to show great technique and awareness all night last night. Hart completely locked down his side of the defense.

In his two reps against Drake London he recorded a pass breakup on one and was in his hip pocket the entire route on the other, forcing Slovis to throw the ball away on a roll-out. It is still too early to tell how high Hart can go in this upcoming draft, but he is a name draft fans should be aware of before testing in Indianapolis this spring.

Drake Jackson, Edge Rusher, USC

Drake Jackson was held in-check for most of the night against Notre Dame. Tommy Rees (Notre Dame’s Offensive Coordinator) chose to run away from Drake Jackson’s side of the field often. This is proving smart as Kyren Williams tallied 25 rushes for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground.

However, Jackson still continued to show why he’s a first-round talent while recording a sack using incredible bend and speed. I would still love to see Jackson add a counter move to his game, a few times Notre Dame’s tackle’s would “catch” Jackson and let him run around the pocket while ushering him away from Jack Coan or Tyler Buchner.

Stock Down

Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame

This has absolutely nothing to do with what Kyle Hamilton did on the field, but has everything to do with him getting injured early in the second quarter of the game. Hopefully, it is not a season ending injury and he’s able to come back and prove to NFL scouts and teams that he’s 100% and ready to dominate the NFL.

The prognosis seems very encouraging here, I expect this will be the last time we see Kyle Hamilton on anyone’s “Stock Down” lists. Hamilton is a Top-5 talent in the draft when healthy.

Kedon Slovis, Quarterback, USC

Kedon Slovis had one of the best true-freshman seasons in recent memory, battling with Joe Burrow for the title of most accurate quarterback in college football. Slovis then had a rough sophomore season, which some attributed to a shoulder injury that was bothering him all season.

Now in his junior year, Slovis had to prove he’s a legitimate option for NFL teams as their franchise-altering quarterback. Slovis has failed to prove that this season and it continued Saturday evening.

Kedon Slovis has a few good playmakers at his disposal, including star receiver Drake London, but he continues to struggle to get the ball out on-time and in rhythm. This also could be a coaching knock, but USC’s offense against Notre Dame was basically all Drake London (as shown above by his receiving stats and percentages).

Slovis also had to deal with USC starting two freshman tackles, but if he wants to be a round one quarterback in the NFL draft, he needs to be able to play through that and make his team around him better.

Slovis has talent, he also has hustle. At the start of the second quarter Kedon Slovis had a batted pass that resulted in an interception. Notre Dame’s Bo Bauer had a free 88-yard pick-six, but Slovis busted his tail and tackled him just short.

Notre Dame’s Offense would fail to score. Slovis saved USC four points because of that tackle, that means something to me. Slovis may not be a round one quarterback, but I believe he has a spot in the NFL still.


Make sure to keep a look-out for more articles about the NFL Draft and every other sport at atbnetwork.com. Any questions or writing inquiries please DM me, @ryfootballscout on Twitter!

Check Out My Other 2022 NFL Draft Content here:

2022 Quarter-Season Mock Draft

Tyler Linderbaum Summer Scouting Report

Jarrett Patterson Summer Scouting Report

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Summer Scouting Report: Jarrett Patterson

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We will be kicking off our summer scouting in the Midwest Region with University of Notre Dame’s starting interior lineman Jarrett Patterson. Patterson was the starting center when healthy for Notre Dame the past two seasons and is expected to move over to guard for his Senior year.

Be sure to keep a lookout for more Summer Scouting Reports as the college football season approaches so you know who to be watching for on Saturdays! As always Like, Comment, Retweet and Follow me, (Ryan McAloon) @ryfootballscout on twitter. Peace!

Summer Scouting: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

There aren’t many players who can draw comparisons to Derwin James of the Los Angeles Chargers, but Kyle Hamilton is one of those guys. In his sophomore season, Hamilton flashed his versatility and ability to play all over the back half of the field for the Fighting Irish; whether it be the deep safety position or in the nickel covering the slot, Hamilton was able to find success in any role Notre Dame put him in. Standing 6-foot-4 and 219 pounds, you’d think he was built in a lab, especially with the athleticism he possesses. Again, not many players can draw the Derwin James comparison, but Hamilton has the skillset to bring a similar impact to the NFL that James does.

Pros:

  • Takes read-step, attacks downhill v. the run.
  • Frame
  • Plays w/ a good bend in his lower half, solid balance.
  • Smooth transitions, click-n-close looks easy.
  • Athlete, phenomenal range as a deep safety.
  • Vision as a depth defender.
  • Makes several plays at/around the LOS from deep.
  • Trustworthy tackler.
  • Not afraid to lay the wood.
  • Motor is always running.
  • Purpose behind everything he does.
  • Backpedal.
  • Versatile, true chess piece who can play all over.

Cons:

  • Has a tendency to approach his tackles high, around the ball carriers shoulders.
  • Can be indecisive at times.
  • Overestimates his athletic ability and can cut his tackle angles short.

2021 Season Statistics:

51 solo tackles, 12 assisted tackles, 63 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 4 pass deflections

Preliminary Grade:

8.38 – Top-10 Grade