Winner of the Main Event: No Decision
A huge concern selecting Cam Sutton vs. Isaiah Ford as the focus for the week 2 Film Session was that VT could easily move Ford across the field to take advantage of more favorable match-ups for the Hokies. The Vols typically have true left and right corners as opposed to lining up across from a specific receiver under HC Butch Jones.
Surprisingly, well over half (55% by my count) of VT’s snaps saw Sutton lined up man to man over Ford. What was even more surprising, however, was the disinterest shown in Justin Fuente’s gameplan to keep Ford involved in the offense.
Ford finished the game with just 5 catches for 51 yards so by looking at the box score only it would appear that Sutton won the battle. As we all know the stat line doesn’t always tell the full story.
Early in the first quarter, at around the 12:30 mark, Ford used his elite speed to burn Cam deep down the sideline only to have QB Jerod Evans under-throw Ford by what seemed like a half mile lap around the track. Ford used his under-rated route running skills to sell that he was going to break his route short. Sutton bit and tried to jump the route underneath allowing Ford to beat him down the line. Sutton did well to not quit on the play and he tracked the ball as Ford had to put the breaks on and wait. Sutton and Ford cancelled on what turned out to be a jump ball and the ball hit the ground for an incomplete pass.
The only other targets that this match-up would see for the rest of the game comprised of screen passes and 3 step drop slants across the middle of the field leaving both scouts and VT fans longing for more.
With that said there are some nice things to take away from each competitor watching Saturday’s game. Sutton played his side of the field very well. It should be considered a compliment how rarely VT threw his way. Sutton also offers a spark in the return game as well.
As for Ford, NFL scouts should be excited that he is growing into a complete WR. He can beat you beat, certainly, but he is using that speed to back up coverage and expose the middle of the field for shorter-first down grabbing targets. Ford also shows the interest and capability of being an asset as a blocker in the run game. While his frame isn’t going to intimidate defenders, he uses his quickness and athletic ability to get to the spot to take the best angle to wall off defenders. A perfect example of this is in the first quarter at the 3:05 mark as his block sealed the edge for a long TD run.
While you are enjoying college football this weekend join NFL scouts by putting your grade on these marquee individual match-ups with draft implications. We will revisit the “Main Event” early next week to see who came out on top of their battle.
#1 Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech, WR
#23 Cameron Sutton, Tennessee, CB
#5 Allen Lazard, Iowa State, WR
#14 Desmond King, Iowa, CB
#68 Joseph Noteboom, TCU, LT
#48 Deatrich Wise JR, Arkansas, DE