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Rodney Hudson at Chapel Hill Recap

Yesterday's post about Rodney Hudson became a spontaneous game thread. Mostly I was talking to myself, but Fearless, Kidder and Nate were around. Now, my semi-intoxicated* live viewing of a prospect should not be considered a scouting report. These are only follow-up opinions and impressions. I welcome others who watched to add their own.

*Avoid New Belgium's Hoptober. NB talks a good game and I have had some success with their 1554 and Tripel, but Hoptober is easily one of the blandest beers I've had since I stopped shotgunning Keystone Ice. A definite avoid and a real disappointment. I have three left from my six-pack and I'm tempted to give them away.

I didn't tune in until the second half and as fortunes turned, Florida State caught fire and North Carolina fizzled. I became a de facto State fan. I was rooting for the State offense and for the NC offense to three and out.

Hudson stands out. When Jesse Palmer and whoever else was in the booth could be distracted from cracking each other up**, they made a point of Hudson's value to FSU. In a typical pass rush, Hudson stands full yards ahead of his line mates, a vision of sturdiness standing apart a mediocre line. He staggers when faced with a full on pass rush, but rebounds impressively and holds ground well. That is surprising and exciting because smaller, quick-twitch guys that use their athleticism and explosiveness to win at the point are often overwhelmed when they can't. They can't sustain.

**Is it me or is ESPN the lumbering empire, arrogant and fat and desperately in need of competition? I have never heard three people paid to commentate so unworried about commentating, tracking the game or providing insight. Palmer reflexively talked about his great Florida teams of yore and the great Florida State teams they faced, and doing so talked mad shit about the current Seminoles. Not every kid that straps it on is going to be great, but everyone playing their brains deserves some basic respect. Palmer stood out, but while the other two, I didn't recognize who, were not as cutting with their comments, they displayed similar disrespect by acting as if they were bigger than the game. As if I, the viewer, tuned in to listen to them shoot the shit.

I grew up adoring ESPN, but what I see now is bloated and desperate for a competitor.

The Seminoles run their offense through Hudson. It's a fun part of the college game that a standout talent at any position can become a focal player and a centerpiece for a unit. The few times FSU ran, it ran behind Hudson, and Hud was at fore like a legionnaire, repelling the Tar Heels, creating rush lanes on either side of him. Mostly the Seminoles ran a screen and swing system that should be familiar to Seahawks fans. He moves so well, as Nate pointed out, he can be hard to track. Hudson didn't just launch into the second level, he ran from the line 10-15 yards down field and locked up DBs.

Hud is a great athlete and every bit as small as you'd think. Mostly, he was winning individual battles, getting the turn when he needed to turn, standing defensive tackles up or locking down linebackers, but on one occasion, he shot forward and was swatted off and his man blew through and stopped the rusher in the hole. That will happen more often as a pro, and it is clear short yardage and an ability to sustain blocks are his biggest weaknesses.

But I was very impressed. Hud wouldn't work in a lot of systems, but he fits the Knapp-Gibbs prototype. He is rare-quick, rare-fast, ultra rare-agile and delivers a pop on the move. The timing was right to see him shine and he did.

If you like these instant recaps, tell me and I can produce more.***

***Apologies to Joe Posnanski, whose style I accidentally aped.