1) Will Logan Thomas rebound off his terrible campaign of 2012? Thomas entered the 2012 season ranked as our number 1 quarterback prospect and graded as a first round pick. He left his junior year barely holding onto a second day grade. We still have hope, as do NFL scouts, who grade Thomas as a third/fourth rounder. He’ll be thrown into the lions den on Saturday against Alabama who have seven players on defense we presently rank as top 100 prospects. Mistake free football and accurate passes would give the impression the talented Thomas is heading in the right direction. But a poor performance for Thomas could be a confidence killer and worse, it will make scouts roll their eyes.
2) Is the Temple defensive line as good as we think? The Owls have three draftable players on their defensive line including tackles Levi Brown and Kamal Johnson as well as versatile Shahid Paulhill. The offensive line of Notre Dame is solid with tackle Zach Martin leading the way. Next to Rutgers and Louisville, this will be the toughest test for the Temple trio and playing in South Bend could be intimidating.
3) Which Tom Savage will we see on Monday? Back in 2009 when he was the starting quarterback at Rutgers as a true freshman, Savage displayed flashes of next level ability. His arm strength and accuracy were impressive at times yet his decision making left much to be desired. Savage soon fell into the doghouse of then coach Greg Schiano, saw limited action as a sophomore then left the program for Arizona. Three years later, including two seasons in which Savage never played in a game, he’s now the starting quarterback at Pittsburgh. The early returns on Savage from practice have been favorable but he’ll be thrown into the fire head first against Florida State, a traditionally fast defense with no less than half a dozen NFL prospects who’ll look to make miserable the return of Tom Savage.
4) Will Khalil Mack live up to the hype? Mack is a terrific football player who disrupts the action in the defensive front seven. Last year he ran circles around Brian Winters of Kent State, who was selected in the third round of April’s draft by the New York Jets. Mack has two things going against him on against Ohio State; 1- his disruptive counterpart Steve Means graduated to the NFL (5th round pick of the Tampa Bay Bucs) and 2- the Buckeye offensive line has four starters likely to be drafted in 2014. Its a great test for Mack and an opportunity for the defender to make a statement.
5) Can receiver Robert Herron make a statement against Nebraska? One name that kept coming up all summer long in conversations centering on lesser known prospects was Wyoming receiver Robert Herron. The speedy wide out, who’s run under 4.4s in the forty, is graded as a potential second round choice by NFL scouts. He’ll face his stiffest test of the season in week one when the Cowboys travel to Lincoln, Nebraska. The Cornhuskers have some talented yet underachieving defensive backs who will be keying on Herron. Its a major opportunity for the game breaker to get national notice.