Yesterday we took our first in depth look at the Arizona Cardinals newest first round pick, Chris "Beanie" Wells by looking at each of his carries versus the Michigan Wolverines last year. Overall the sentiments were that Wells showed more promising aspects to his game, including good vision, toughness, speed and the ability to get stronger as the game progresses. It looked like Michigan was geared to shut down Wells and they did a good job of getting into the Buckeye's backfield and cutting down Wells before he was able to get going. The Wolverines preformed decently against Ohio State but their rushing defense wasn't exactly stellar last year and our second in depth look will be a much tougher test for young Beanie. The Penn State Nittany had a great season last year and their defense against the run was certainly one of the big reasons why. Only seven teams in the NCAA allowed fewer rushing yards per game than the Nittany Lions and 2.9 yards per rush is an awfully good number for the team in the Big Ten. When Ohio State played Penn State both teams were ranked in the top ten so it probably goes without saying that Wells had a tough game. Let's take a look and we'll give some thoughts after the jump....
- Two carries into the video this thought pops into my head, he's not dancing in the backfield today. It looks like he knows how tough the Penn State defense is and he's looking to find a small crease and get whatever positive yardage he can manage.
- Of course right after saying that he's cut down for the loss on the third carry, but it wasn't his fault by any means. The defensive tackle shot a gap and got into Beanie's legs almost as soon as he got the ball. Very few backs would have turned that into yardage and maybe the only move he could have made would be a spin against the grain. The day we see a 230 pound back do that, we'll have made history.
- Fourth play is simple middle screen that Wells pulls off nicely. It was a simple throw and easy catch but considering how rarely he caught the ball it's worth mentioning that he looked comfortable in space.
- Back to back plays around the 1:10 mark show the Ohio State offense backed up against the own goal line and just looking for some wiggle room. Wells get the ball on first and second down and manages to pick up about three or four yards. To his credit though, both plays could have easily resulted in negative yardage.
- In my mind, crazy as it may be, the most encouraging play I seen from Wells is at the 1:37 mark with the offense facing a second and one. If you only watch one play from this video, fast forward and find watch this one. Wells gets the ball on a simple dive play and meets three linebackers (one of his lineman is in the scrum as well) right at the first down marker, but you can clearly see Beanie's legs churning as he pushes the pile for another four or maybe even five yards. Might not look like much in the box score but a 'soft' back isn't going to push that pile four yards down field.
- Another tough run by Beanie (1:55 mark) as he runs a counter play that's pretty well sniffed out by the Penn State defense. Two Beanie stiff arms gets him to the corner but runs out of room thanks to the sideline. Just like the play above, a two yard gain won't stand out in the box score but seeing it does show that Beanie's certainly not a soft runner.
- I hate to sound like a broken record but Beanie's toughness is again on display at the 3:10 mark. He meets the Penn State middle linebacker in the hole and literally runs him over, spins off another defender and drives the next would-be tackler backward for another yard.
- Last play is another good example of vision and patience as he picks his way through the trash for a six yard gain.
It sounds really weird to say I was much more impressed with Beanie's 22 carry, 55 yard performance against Penn State than I was with his 134 yards against Michigan but that's the feeling I got after watching each carry. He battled a really good front seven and fought for every single yard. Every positive aspect of his scouting reports was on display in this game, with the exception of open field speed, and on several carries he showed the ability to run with the toughness that his 230 pound frame would suggest. Enough of my thoughts though, what do you think? Am I over selling?