Broadcast Information: (initial airing) 5pm - FCS (Fox College Sports)
The West is 0-2 in the short history of the Offense-Defense All American Bowl and while on paper, it appeared as though this year's game would be another mismatch, this week of practice has shown that this game will very closely contested. Here are some things to watch.
The East Passing game vs West Defense
The East's wide receivers look almost like an NFL group. Michael Bowman and Stephen Hill both go 6'4-6'5 and are built ready to play in college. Throw in the precise routes of Steadman Bailey and the speed of Larry Raper and Chris Fields and this is one impressive group. They also have some quarterbacks who can get the ball downfield in Zach Mettenberger and Eugene Smith, as well as an accurate underneath guy in Adam Morgan. On the flipside, the West's strength has been their defensive line. The ends are great pass rushers, with Montez Robinson, Colton Nash, Ty Phillips and Kevin Young all having strong weeks of practice. The tackles, especially DeQuinta Jones and Will Sutton are also more of the pass rushing variety than run stoppers, so the pressure will be key for the West in stopping that explosive East pass attack. I also look for some big plays out of Tommie Hopkins, who has been the best defensive back on the West this week. Don't sleep on the West quarterbacks either, as Jordan Luallen, Raymond Cotton and Chris Garrett have all done nice things this week.
What's in a name?
Longtime football fans should recognize a few names out there today. One in particular is West wide receiver Jerry Rice Jr. Rice has finished strong this week and made some highlight reel catches. Kwame Geathers has been nearly impossible to block this week and anyone who has played against his father, Robert or uncle, Jumpy, would not be surprised. The 6'6, 320-lb defensive tackle will control the middle today for the East squad.
Hello, My Name Is...
On the other hand, there are some names who came into the week as lesser known quantities, who have proven they can play with the big boys. For the East, Demond Dennis has been tabbed by several coaches as MVP. Ceasar Rodriguez and David Mackall have spent a lot of time in the backfield this week and are primed to make an impact and Kenneth Gilstrap has probably been the best defensive back on the East. On the west side, Aaron Hardwick, Ryan Reardon and Tyrell Webster have all turned heads despite barely having an offer between the three of them.