2018 East-West Shrine Game RecapBy Nicholas Volinchak
2018 East-West Shrine Game Recap
I am definitely a little late on this one, but better late than never. It has been four days since the East/West Shrine game, but I finally got to sit down and watch it. As usual, it was a pretty quiet game. Defenses usually tend to dominate in these and this was no different. My biggest takeaway is that into the future it will do quarterbacks and their weapons a service to take some more shots downfield.
This is a game where we really do not care about winners and losers from a scoreboard perspective, but rather, we care about the talent. There are definitely some guys here who should be able to make an impact at the highest level.
What I want to do is take a drive by drive breakdown and look at anything that made me take not. In truth, my notes are some of the worst I have ever taken, with notes barely legible. I do want to mention I value what a player did in repetition during these times and not what they could do. A lot of time is spent on intangibles and what they could develop into, but I like talking about what happened.
JT Barrett starts the offense out for the East. The first play sees Austin Kunhert of North Dakota State make a nice protection for Barrett and the running back. On the next play, Leon Jacobs of Wisconsin of the defense breaks coverage and makes a nice tackle for a loss on Ralph Webb out of Vanderbilt. On third down, Joe Ostman of Central Michigan breaks past Austin Kunhert and gets to Barrett. Ralph Webb does manage to get open after a nice chip block, but Barrett does not have time to make the pass to him. East punts.
Nic Shimonek of Texas Tech starts the game as QB for the West. On the first play, Phillip Lindsay gets a great block from Jacob Alsadek of Arizona, Zachary Crabtree of Oklahoma State and Andrew Vollert to rip through the hole for a nice gain. He gets the ball again for the second carry, but is stopped for a short gain by Chad Thomas, from Miami. Jordan Chunn comes in for third and short and makes a punishing short yard gain for first down. I always liked him and felt as if he has potential in the NFL as a short yardage back with good hands.
The first pass of the game for the West sees Shimonek target Steven Dunbar from Houston, but they are not on the same page, so the pass falls incomplete. The ball goes back to Lindsay on second down, who gets stopped by Folorunso Fatukasi of Connecticut for only a small gain. Left Tackle Greg Senat with another awesome pass protection sequence gives Shimonek the time to dump off to Justin Jackson for a fourth down set-up. Kentavious Street gets into the backfield as Zachary Crabtree cannot contain him, but Shimonek manages to get the ball to Jeff Badet from Oklahoma, who gets over the line to gain. You have to give credit here to Jake Wieneke who made a great block on the cut route to force Badet open.
On first down, Senat gives Shimonek another great block to get the pass to Blake Mack from Arkansas State. Phillip Lindsay gets the handoff on second down and runs straight into a defender. It looked like he had enough of a hole, but he ran into the defender straight on. They bring in Chunn to try to convert the third and short, but Jason Cabinda of the defense gets behind the line of scrimmage untouched and tackles him for a loss. Andrew Vollert had another very good block here. This sets up a field goal on fourth down, which goes wide left. This happens a lot in college football, but you hope not in the Shrine game.
Barrett is back on the field for offense. He hands it to D’Ernest Johnson from USF who runs into the hole but makes a few nifty moves to pick up some extra yardage. The offensive line deserves a ton of credit, as well as TE Ethan Wolfe. On first down, JT Barrett throws a perfect pass on a slant route to DeSean Hamilton who simply drops it. The defenders were lost and it would have been a huge gain at least, but likely a score. Barrett uses the run-pass option in his favor for the first down on the next play. People may get mad at me for saying it, but I think Barrett could find his best fit in the CFL.
On first down, Austin Kunhert misses a block and lets James Looney from Cal into the backfield unimpeded. On the next play, Barrett hits Ethan Wolfe for a first down. There was nice protection by the OL to give Barrett the time to throw.
With the endzone in sight, Barrett makes a bad throw to Jester Weah of Pittsburgh who just could not get off coverage by Malik Reaves. On second down, Johnson is able to get space from the offensive line, setting up a third and short. What happens next is just sad. The ball is snapped, the entire offensive line basically misses their blocks, and does not attempt to come back for the defenders. Bilal Nichols goes unimpeded to Barrett, who decides to try to throw the ball, and it ends up going backwards. Natrell Jamerson picks it up and takes it in for the first score of the game. This is probably not doing a good job in explaining just how bad of a play this was. It was a failure of the offensive line and then another poor decision by Barrett. Just a really, really, really bad play.
After that series, one would hope that the East will come out swinging. First down sees a handoff to Ralph Webb who goes for a pretty solid gain. Back to Ralph Webb on second down, but James Looney gets into the backfield and hits him with a TFL. On third down, Barrett has to throw the ball away as protection breaks. He did have a receiver, Regis Cibasu, open, but it was tough to see if he saw him. After a disaster sequence, we now get a punt.
Senat gives Shimonek another solid block allowing him to throw deep to no one. That was unimpressive. Second down sees a pitch to Justin Jackson of Northwestern. He is underrated and could contribute for a good team as a third down specialist if he can improve a little bit in pass protection. Nic Shimonek then takes a delay of game penalty. It was really just bad awareness. Shimonek makes up for it with getting a pass to Badet and that dude is fast!
The OL does a poor job of blocking, on the next sequence, but Shimonek finds Jackson who gets knocked down by Parris Bennett of Syracuse. Jackson then gets the handoff and a hole but makes more than what he should have got. He has a lot of miles on those legs coming out of school. On third down, Shimonek throws incomplete to Andrew Vollert. It should have been caught, though the defender did get a piece. Punt back to the East team.
JT Barrett is done for the time being, so Riley Ferguson will take the helm now. His first pass is as bad as it gets and is a dart straight into the ground intended for Daurice Fountain of Northern Iowa. Second down sees a handoff to D’Ernest Johnson right into a tackle. Third and ten sees Ferguson make a tough throw right into coverage where it should be, but the receiver does not make the catch. Punt to the West team.
Nick Stevens is now in for the West. The first play is not seen due to an interview. The second is a deep pass that is well over Steven Dunbar and almost intercepted. Stevens then take a delay of game penalty. Pressure gets to Stevens on third down and he needs to dump off to Jackson. Good move there, but it puts the punt team back on the field.
Ferguson takes his second series with the East, and starts it off with a hurried through to Jester Weah who is not ready to make the catch. Weah takes a hard hit from Chucky Williams of Louisville after the play for an unnecessary roughness call.
Webb makes a few nice runs in a row, but on third down, Ferguson, under no pressure, passes quickly intended for Fountain, who does not make the catch. Another punt for the East team.
The first down call sees a handoff to Jordan Chunn. Nick Stevens hurries on second down and ends up with a poorly placed screen pass to Chunn. It was complete, but not effective. On third down, Stevens is able to hit Jeff Badet again for a first down.
First down sees Zachary Crabtree miss a big block, but under pressure, Stevens manages to get the ball to Dunbar in coverage. It was an interesting wheel stop route that worked perfectly.
The offensive line then gives Chunn a huge hole to run through, but the play is called back due to holding on Jake Bennett of Colorado State. Chunn gives way to Lindsay again, who takes a late handoff for a nice gain. On the next play, Stevens manages to get around the defenders before getting hit by Chris Worley, linebacker from Ohio State. This gets an unnecessary roughness call for a first down.
Folorunso Fatukasi gets into the backfield again but misses Stevens. He still manages to disrupt the play. Under pressure on second down, Stevens has to throw the pass away. Folorunso Fatukasi again gets the pressure. The defense was holding Chunn on this, though. As the half is ending, they have to punt.
Daurice Fountain finally gets release against press coverage. Ferguson responds with a perfect throw and Fountain has the longest gain of the day. It could have been longer, but he blew a tire.
On first down, Ferguson goes through his reads and finds Jackson open. As the ball is snapped, the defense gets into the backfield, forcing Ferguson to have to move and gets the pass to Justin Watson of Penn. The defense goes single high safety again which forces Ferguson to hit Hamilton for the big first down.
The clock is ticking down now, and Poona Ford and Ja’Von Roland-Jones get in the backfield to sack Stevens. This forces him to spike the ball to get the kicking team in. They nail the field goal here.
Out of the half, Jeremiah Briscoe of Sam Houston comes in. Justin Jackson gets another big chunk of yardage on first down. Second down sees a bad Briscoe incompletion, but Chunn saves the day with a short third down conversion.
Briscoe makes his second throw and it goes over the head of Jake Wieneke. It was almost intercepted. Jackson takes a carry for little gain tackled by Capinda. He is all over the place today. Kentavious Street makes another big play here, getting off the left tackle and into the backfield. Briscoe makes the smart throw, but the receiver is not paying attention. Another punt for the west.
JT Barrett is back on the field for the East. Ray Lawry of Old Dominion checks into the game for the first time. He is the replacement for Chase Edmonds of Fordham. On two straight attempts, Lawry gets monster gains. Ethan Wolf has been hitting his blocks like mad and could very easily be succeeding in getting himself some attention for that purpose in the NFL.
On his third carry, Lawry gets a single yard, but then drags at least five defenders another five. He is a very strong runner. I am going to be interested in his pro day and combine. The next time, he is hit in the backfield, but manages to get back to the line of scrimmage. This is the best showing in my opinion so far. On third down, Barrett looks, looks and looks some more before getting sacked by Chad Thomas who beats Jake Bennett. Another punt for the East.
Phillip Lindsay gets the first down carry for about a one-yard gain. The offense then gets nailed for 12 men on the field. Second and long sees a two-yard carry by Lindsay. Third and long sees Briscoe go deep for Badet, who had no idea it was coming. It was another Briscoe overthrow that was almost intercepted. Punt.
Barrett gets the first down pass to Fountain, who puts a nice move on the defender. Ralph Webb gets the first down with a short carry. Joel Lanning involved in tackle. He is a QB turned LB that I think will make it in the NFL.
First down and Barrett hits Fountain, who shows his talent by taking the ball away from the defender. Barrett sneaks for the first down. The next sequence is not great. The audio catches JT Barrett unable to remember the play, which forces the team to take a timeout. He really needs to have this stuff together.
On first down, they stack Fountain behind another receiver, but opt to run the option with Barrett. It is easily snuffed out and stuffed. On second down, Barrett locks in on his receiver and passes for the touchdown. The problem is that Fountain was wide open in the end zone and because he did not go through his progressions, he missed him. Extra point is good.
This drive starts out again with another Lindsay 2-yard gain. Street gets into the backfield again. On second down, Briscoe, you guessed it, makes an awful overthrow. The pass gets tipped 40 feet into the air, and Jake Wieneke comes down with it. Great awareness for the first down.
Briscoe passes again on first down, incomplete up the middle on a seam route to Dunbar. It was just some miscommunication. Second down sees the OL make a monster hole for Lindsay, who gets the first down yardage.
Briscoe makes a throw to Steven Dunbar who is unable to make the catch. Lindsay rushes on second down for 12 yards and another first.
Briscoe misses the snap and fumbles it, and the East recovers it. This was not a good series at all for Briscoe.
Ferguson comes back out for this series. He immediately over throws Hamilton. On second down, with a lead block by D’Ernest Johnson, he keeps the ball and runs for a nice gain. D’Ernest Johnson manages to lose the ball but recover it thankfully. The ball is punted, and Jester Weah gets penalized for kick catch interference.
Justin Jackson gets through a lot of tackles here and gains at least 12 yards. Nic Shimonek who has returned gets sacked. I missed the next play because of the Willie Roaf interview. On third down, Shimonek avoids pressure and dumps to Jackson, but not enough for the first. Good blocking by Brett Toth. Punt to East.
Lawry back in and gets 4 yards on first down. Damon Gibson misses the tackle and Marcell Frazier gets to Ferguson for the sack. On third and long, Lawry gets a few yards, but this is just another punt.
This is perhaps the last chance for the West. Chunn starts things off with a run for a few. Second down sees Shimonek pass to who knows who and it is almost intercepted. On third and many, Shimonek hits Chunn who weaves through defenders for the first down.
The backfield becomes very crowded very fast and Shimonek has to dodge just about the entire defense to get the pass to Chunn on the sidelined. He was not in, but no one seems to care.
Shimonek hits Dunbar, before Chunn is tackled for a loss by Chris Worley. Shimonek goes for the late handoff to Lindsay, who almost breaks the run off, but 97 gets him at the last second.
Shimonek hits Badet for the first and we are under 2 minutes. On the next play, Shimonek goes deep to Dunbar who catches the pass for a touchdown. It took an entire game, but this was a fun series. Extra point is good.
Barrett has one last chance to be remembered for something huge in his senior year. Webb runs the ball for a short gain on first down. On second down, DeSean Hamilton runs a great seam route with the corners and safties completely out of hit. Barrett hits him in stride for a big first down.
On first down, Barrett is under pressure and throws incomplete to Webb. Same deal on second down. The defense gets into the backfield on third down and Barrett has to throw the ball away. On fourth down, Barrett throws to the double covered Fountain who misses the catch, though it was catchable. This ends the game.
Positive Thoughts Only
- Daurice Fountain is the guy that everyone is talking about. He had the best game out there, I think, and it would have been fun to see him around some stronger offensive talent. It will be interesting to see his progress toward the draft.
- Ray Lawry definitely has some burst. He is a strong runner who went under appreciated because of the school he played at. He could be an interesting player that could be in the discussion pending pre-draft process.
- Ethan Wolf showed me a lot, especially with his blocking abilities. I think he will be a worthwhile add in the late rounds for a team in need of his specialization.
- It would have been nice to see Javon Wims, Cam Serigne and Chase Edmonds, but unfortunately injuries prevailed.
- Jason Cabinda was everywhere. He raised his stock in this game. He was one of my favorites to watch.
- Chris Worley was also everywhere. He took a bad penalty on the late hit, but really, I think that is a needed rule change more than anything else.
- Folorunso Fatukasi was constantly getting in the backfield. He has some size and the strength and I think we will hear his name called.
- Kentavious Street was another shining star on the East defense. He made a lot of disrupting plays and I like what he brings to the table
- Chad Thomas is yet another guy that made me take a deeper look at him. He should be moving up draft boards.
- Jeff Badet is fast. He looked really good during the game. He caught everything that they got to him within reason. I was out on him coming into this, but I am going to have to take a closer look.
- Nic Shimonek was probably the best quarterback in the game. That is not high praise, though. I still think he shows discipline combined with enough evasiveness that it will make him a potential mid-round pick, that could go as high as day 2. He is not a day one starter, but he could develop.
- Jake Wieneke put his football smarts on display, being in the places they needed him to be. He made good reads, strong blocks and used his strong hands. He is a late round flier that could make some waves in the right camp.
- I have already seen a lot of hype on Phillip Lindsay, but I actually liked what I saw on Jackson better. It seems like he has been playing forever, but he has strong senses and excellent footwork. He could contribute on a good team as a third down specialist.
- Conversely, I think Jordan Chunn has a future as a situational short yardage back in the league. He has the size and determination to make money that way.
- Greg Senat showed that he could be an interesting developmental tackle. He gave Shimonek a lot of time and made some next level blocks to give his quarterback extra time. He is a low risk pick in my opinion.
- Steven Dunbar was a guy I liked to use a lot in daily fantasy, and he showed up to this game. He had to be the most targeted player in this game. When he was not overthrown, he made plays. He also made a nice catch that won the game.
- Joel Lanning from Iowa State is a quarterback turned linebacker. He could use some size, but he actually knows how to read the QB well (I wonder why) and can make plays. He is unintimidated and could be worthwhile on special teams.
- James Looney made some big plays in this one.
- Bilal Nichols was criticized by Mike Mayock going into this game as someone who was inconsistent. That is not shocking, as many players are. He showed up in a few situations here and I think he put himself on radars.
- Poona Ford had his moments as well. He was another guy who had some buzz coming in that helped his case.