Area scout Todd Brunner discusses his second visits to several schools, as well as his insights on one of the players the 49ers will see this weekend in Buffalo Bills second-year linebacker Paul Posluszny, a former Penn State player who fans may remember Brunner talking about prior to the 2007 NFL Draft.**
It's been a couple of weeks since I've checked in with a blog, but I've been on the road so I've got plenty of information to share.
Back in the summertime you have a pretty good idea of which games you'd like to go see in the fall, but once you get into late-October to mid-November things tend to switch up on you because a certain player or a certain program may come on strong and require you to take another thorough look at before you finish up your reports.
So personally, I like to keep my schedule a bit flexible this time of year. I will still hit the schools I had planned, but I might add another third or fourth trip back to a certain spot. It just gives me another chance to ascertain their skill level, and that's basically what I've been doing the last couple of weeks.
Going back to two weeks ago, I stopped by the University of Connecticut for a second visit and watched their practice.
I wanted to take a closer look at cornerback Darius Butler, but unfortunately he was injured and wasn't able to go that day. However, their quarterback Tyler Lorenzen was coming back from injury, and so I did get to observe him practice.
After UCONN, I went over to Boston College for my second visit. It's important to check up on schools a second time, because right now they're in the latter stages of their conference schedule. In BC's case, it allowed me the opportunity to watch tape of some of the toughest games on their schedule.
Some of the guys have really come on since my first visit including two of their defensive linemen, B.J. Raji and Ron Brace. I think they've both been playing well, against good competition as they're in the late stages of ACC play.
That weekend I went to Rhode Island to see them host Maine, as I wanted to get a closer look at defensive end Jovan Belcher, who also plays linebacker at Maine. I was able to watch his whole season on tape and then I visited with his coaches prior to the game. After seeing him play live, I felt that I had a pretty good for the guy,
Once the workouts come, we'll get a better feel for what a hybrid guy like Belcher can do because we can have him do all the drops that an outside linebacker would need to do, and see how he handles it. He's shown pass-rushing skills, and you can see athletically that he has a lot of tools.
Following the Maine game, I made a brief stop back home and then drove down to James Madison that Sunday. I timed it up so I would be able to listen to our game against the St. Louis Rams on the radio, which was nice.
While at JMU, I primarily wanted to look at their quarterback, Rodney Landers. I was there earlier in the year, but currently they're ranked No. 1 in the country in all of Division I-AA so I thought a second chance to look at Landers would be wise. He's an athlete, similar to Michael Robinson.
Following my visit there, I headed over to Liberty to see their running back, who transferred from Pittsburgh. I was there earlier in the season, but I wanted to watch film and see how he's progressed through the season. He's been very productive this year, averaging over 140 yards on the ground per game.
Next, I went again to Virginia Tech to watch more tape on them, but mostly because I hadn't had a chance yet to see them practice life. I felt like it was a very beneficial visit as I was able to see how they play physically, up close and in person.
Later in the week, I drove over to Marshall to watch updated tape on wide receiver Darius Passmore and cornerback C.J. Spillman, and check out their progress.
From there, I drove up to West Virginia to watch practice. It was especially great to see more of quarterback Pat White in person. Personally, I like him. And I'm not the only one. Around campus they say that "He's the driver of the bus."
After watching the Mountaineers practice, I drove up to Pittsburgh the next day and watched more tape on their guys. They had an offensive lineman switch his position to center so I went back to see him play at his new position.
That visit wrapped up my week, and so I spent Friday and Saturday with my family before driving down to the University of Virginia on Sunday. While I was there watching tape they had Direct TV, so I was actually able to catch our game against the Dallas Cowboys. It was an unfortunate outcome, but I thought we played well. We couldn't punch the ball in the end zone early in the game, but that's just the way the year has been going.
This week the 49ers will travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills. They have a player in Paul Posluszny, who I followed on the scouting trail a few years ago. I haven't gotten a chance to watch him play this year, but he was hurt last year, so this is really his first year playing. I know he's leading their team in tackles, and coming out of college at Penn State, I got to know him fairly well and really liked him. I visited with him during the season a couple of times, then again at the Combine. We also saw him at the Senior Bowl and spent time with him there. We really liked the guy. He's a smart player, a physical player and is very instinctive on the field. He also doesn't put himself in bad positions. He may not be the fastest guy in the world, but he compensates for that because he's a smart guy. Just like any of the Bills linebackers, we have to account for him. Paul is really a smart player and if you don't account for him, you'll see him make a lot of tackles in the backfield or right on the line of scrimmage. Hopefully we can neutralize him and get a road victory on the East Coast.