2011 East-West Shrine Game Recap

The East - West Shrine game is typically the cornerstone of the beginning of draft season. Saturday marked the 86th annual meeting between some of the nations best East and West NCAA college football players. 

The final score was 25 - 8 and was very indicative of an unbalanced roster selection. The East seemed to be in control of this game the entire time. While the East did seem to control, the West Team had a few flashes of talent sprinkled throughout the game. The East piled up 301 yards of total offense, most of which came on the ground as they ran for 169 yards. Syracuse running back Delone Carter led the team with 54 yards capped off with a touchdown. Carter rushed for over 1000 yards on the season with 9 touchdowns. Out of all the running backs, seemed to have done the best.

The West did not have as much luck. A majority of the game, they certainly lacked competency in a bunch of different areas. It's not assumed that it was in partial blame of the coaching staff which was led by former Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips, but his nonchalant attitude on the sideline when he was interviewed certainly gave things the appearance that the team sloppily prepared for this illustrious game. Vai Taua popped off a 13 yard run, but that seemed to be it as far as the run game went. Idaho's Nathan Endlerle wasn't regarded too high coming in to the match up, but out of all three West quarterbacks, he was the only one to toss a pass in to the end zone for six. The pass was thrown to West teammate, Portland State tight end, Julius Thomas who seemed to have had a semi-decent game.

Both defenses looked good, particularly the defensive linemen. However, the East dominated just a bit more. There were two interceptions in the game. One by East's cornerback from Iowa State, David Sims. The other came by West's linebacker from Boise State, Winston Venable. Venable's older brother currently plays for the San Diego Padres as an outfielder. Venable's father also had a stint in the Major's as well and currently is the hitting coach for the Oregon State Beavers.

Most of the players that played this past Saturday are guys who didn't receive an invite to play in the Senior Bowl. Bottom line is that they all had the opportunity to shine in the Shrine. Some of them found their stock dropping a bit, some of them found their stock elevated a bit, and then there are those who feel somewhere in to a gray area with more evaluation to come in the months leading up to the draft in late April. We will see some of these guys again at the NFL Scouting Combine (February 23rd through March 1st).

Below, we will look at some of the players whose stock plummeted and some of the players whose stock shot up some. Following that, we'll take a look at the days of practice leading up to the game.


1 - Marvin Austin | UNC | DE | 6'3", 310 LBS

2 - Delone Carter | Syracuse | RB | 5'10", 225 LBS

3 - Jah Reid | UCF | OT | 6'7", 326 LBS

4 - Ryan Whalen | Stanford | WR | 6'2", 205 LBS

5 - Shiloh Keo | Idaho | SS | 6'0", 216 LBS



1 - Scott Tolzien | Wisconsin | QB | 6'3", 205 LBS

2 - Jerrod Johnson | Texas A&M | QB | 6'5", 245 LBS

3 - Da'Rel Scott | Maryland | RB | 5'11", 200 LBS

4 - Joesph Barksdale | LSU | OT | 6'6", 318 LBS

5 - Jermale Hines | Ohio State | SS | 6'2", 216 LBS



1 - Pat Devlin | Delaware | QB | 6'4", 222 LBS

2 - Nathan Enderle | Idaho | QB | 6'5", 233 LBS

3 - Evan Royster | Penn State | RB | 6'1", 228 LBS

4 - Greg Lloyd | Connecticut | LB | 6'1", 245 LBS

5 - Jeff Maehl | Oregon | WR | 6'1", 184 LBS


Day 1 Practice Notes: 

Todd McShay's Top-Performers:

Lester Jean - WR - FAU

"Jean is still developing into his body and needs to be more polished as a route-runner, but he has long arms, big strong hands and deceptive speed. He's a good athlete, and of all the wide receivers, he had the best morning".

Scott Tolzien - QB - Wisconsin

"He had good command, got to the line, knew what he was doing and handled the offense with authority. He threw with good timing and anticipated wide receivers coming out of their break, which is not easy to do on Day 1, and threw accurately".


Steve Muench's Top-Performers:

Mike Smith - OT - Nebraska

"He got set, delivered a good punch and kept his hands inside, and once he established his position, he didn't lose. At one point, he just stoned UCF DE Bruce Miller right at the line. It was an impressive first-day performance".

Ricky Elmore - DE - Arizona

He got his hands up when he saw passers start their throwing motion. He used a nice push-pull move during drills to get by a blocker. Elmore starred in the two-minute drill, again using his hands to create separation, and made QB Jerrod Johnson leave the pocket and throw it away.


Kevin Weidl's Top-Performers: 

Akeem Dent - LB - Georgia

"He shocks and sheds blockers. He controls the middle. He's a pure Mike linebacker, or a 3-4 guy who can take on blocks and get rid of the blocker. He has good awareness in coverage but struggles with subtle changes in direction. However, he finds the ball well and makes plays".

Alex Green - RB - Hawaii

"Green showed good burst and quickness, and his ability to get to and through the hole is exceptional. He showed his versatility by doing a good job of running routes out of the backfield, creating separation and catching the ball well. He's a one-cut-and-get-vertical runner and will be a good change-of-pace back at the next level".


Day 2 Practice Notes:

Todd McShay's Top-Performers:

Terrell McClain - DT - USF

"Whether it's anchoring and being difficult to move versus the run, or getting penetration and driving lineman back in the backfield on the pass, McClain disrupted a lot during group session. I thought he was overall the toughest player to block in all drills".

Andrew Jackson - OG - Fresno State

"When he locks on to a defender, the drill is over. He can sustain it and finish the block. He also showed the ability to reset his hips and feet on Wednesday during drills. Some linemen have problems when they get off balance and have to reset, but Jackson was smooth and did it naturally. He can be a starting guard in the NFL and will probably get one of the top-10 grades of any player here".


Steve Muench's Top-Performers:

Akeem Dent - LB - Georgia

"There are some concerns about his pass coverage -- he was picked on during drills because he would peek at the QB and get out of position -- but he can work on that and develop into an effective zone guy. Overall, he had another big day on the practice field".

Jordan Cameron - TE - USC

"Once he's free, he quickly gets into his route, has a good burst at the top of his stem, tracks the ball well and caught everything thrown his way today. He doesn't have great speed, but he has enough speed to stretch the field and man an occasional play downfield".


Kevin Weidl's Top-Performers:


Justin Rogers - CB - Richmond

"We love his instincts, and he's opportunistic. He does a good job of reading receivers, has great anticipation and did a great job of jumping short routes. He had a couple of picks on Wednesday, including one on a deep ball in seven-on-seven drills when he squeezed the receiver to the sideline, then went up and got the ball. He shows good ball skills and is certainly making an impression in the first two days here".

Brandyn Thompson - CB - Boise State

"He's a good fit in a Cover 2 scheme for the way he jams receivers and for his aggression in run support. He's not good on an island or off man coverage, but he's much better when he can get up on a receiver. We like the way he plays the ball. He tracks it well and comes up with INTs. He made a name for himself on Wednesday".


Day 3 Practice Notes:

Todd McShay's Top-Performers:

Anthony Sherman - FB - Connecticut

"He's tough and has some power at the point of attack. He also has good hands. He caught the ball smoothly and got up the field. It's a pretty good fullback class and right now he's No. 6 in the class. He's a longshot to get drafted yet he's done nothing but help himself this week".

Virgil Green - TE - Nevada

"On Wednesday, TE coach Jimmy Johnson implemented a drill for contact catches, draping himself all over the tight ends to see who could catch with defenders literally on them. Green was the strongest. He was catching the ball and bringing it in to his body despite Johnson being all over him".


Steve Muench's Top-Performers:

Tyrod Taylor - QB - Virginia Tech

"It was a light practice and this really showcased Taylor's athleticism. He didn't complete a pass of more than 15 yards but was accurate. He really shined during the two-minute drill. He was accurate making passes and took control of the offense. But remember, there weren't any big offensive linemen in front of him to make it tougher to find throwing windows. Still, on a day when the intensity level was down, Taylor made the most of practice".

Nathan Enderle - QB - Idaho

"He is a lot more mobile than we thought he was heading into the week. He also showed off good arm strength and touch. He zipped a rope to the TE in a tight window on one play, and on goal-line drills, he threw back-to-back perfect back-shoulder fades, one to the right and one to the left".

Kevin Weidl's Top-Performers:

Chris Hairston - OT - Clemson

"He has good hands. He kept his hands inside, had quick contact, a good punch and good hand placement. He had good angles as a run blocker and a good inline power base. He had a good day and is one of the better offensive linemen at this game".

David Carter - DT - UCLA

"We like his initial quickness, strength and wide lower half. He has good feet and good hands, and does a good job of using them when battling offensive linemen. He made a few plays throughout the day, especially in team drills, disengaging, then redirecting or stopping the run on the interior. He showed a good swim and inside rip move to win as a pass rusher".

Source: http://insider.espn.go.com/?&action=login&appRedirect=http://insider.espn.go.com/

Summary: There were two more days of practice but notes were not provided... or at least yet. Two elements of this process make up the total evaluation process.

Of course the beginning of the process starts with the practices. The practices are mainly so that the scouts and coaches there to watch, are able to see how well these players have been taught fundamentals, how well they respond in different game-time situations, and how well their game will translate in to the NFL.

The second, and potentially most important is how they actually play once in a game. Players can practice well all week long, but turn around to have a poor game. Sometimes, it happens the opposite as that as well. Players will play well in a game, but not necessarily respond too well in practice.

Most scouts look for a combination of good performances in both the practices and games. If there is no marriage between the two, then there is definitely an issue somewhere that needs to be addressed. 

Although, it is such a small sample-size, it allows the scouts to get a good feeling as to what guys are bringing to the table to draw conclusions if they are worth considering for their respective teams.

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