Senior bowl not exactly full of prime chances

It was supposed to be all about chances.

At the Senior Bowl on Saturday, USF running back Andre Hall didn’t get many.

That is, unless you call two rushes for one yard a chance.

But for the life of me, I can’t understand why Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams is so popular all of a sudden.

All week long, talking head (and hair) Mel Kiper Jr. talked this guy up like a saint about to be martyred.

I’ll admit the guy is good.

He finished third in the nation in rushing with 1,959 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2005.

He finished a three-and-a-half-year career with 6,021 yards and 55 rushing touchdowns.Impressive, right? No wonder Mel and those alike are drooling.

However, in the 31-14 loss to the North, Williams played sparsely, had three carries for 31 yards and a total of 59 yards, earning the South team’s MVP award.

Mike Nolan and his coaching staff from the San Francisco 49ers must not like running the ball much, because they did a lot of passing, barely using LSU running back Joseph Addai and Hall.

He’ll be USF’s lone representative come April 29.

Poor guy. His stock rose Saturday about as much as Kmart’s.

What I don’t get is why Williams is higher than a kite on everyone’s radar.

Even though most Bulls fans want me to say it, I’m not going to say Hall should be a first-round pick. Probably not even second- or third-round pick. Kansas City’s Kawika Mitchell is the highest Bull ever drafted at 47th overall.

Hall and Williams seem like mirror images. They say Williams has NFL size, which I suppose with running backs, is anything taller than a mailbox.

They say he’s got power to push people, which must mean he’s about as strong as a riding lawnmower.

Now quickness I can understand, and you don’t have more rushing yards than most back in the NFL in 2005 and not be fast.

But scouts raise the issue of durability with him, especially after his injury in the GMAC Bowl in 2004 and a broken ankle in his sophomore year.

Scouts also say he fumbles a lot, has more mileage than an ice cream truck and not the elite speed on top of being just above 5-foot-6. (Settle down Detroit. Barry wasn’t mortal.)

I just don’t see this guy being an every-Sunday “premier” back in the NFL. Those guys are stronger, faster and bigger than he will ever be.

Most in Tennessee will brag about his numbers and the school record he set in 2004 with 263 rushing yards in a game against USF.

Yeah, those great numbers he had – against Conference USA teams.

Woo hoo. The next closest rusher was Marshall’s Ahmad Bradshaw with only 997 yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

A dog with three legs wearing a lampshade collar can rush for 100 yards against teams such as Houston, UCF and UTEP.

The only premier thing about this guy was he had two and a half years to be a starter in Division I and on weak teams.

Hall did a lot more; so did Addai – both against much stronger teams in stronger conferences.

Hall is a generous 5-foot-9. So what does Williams have that Hall doesn’t?

What about Addai and Southern California’s LenDale White?

White had 1,302 yards and 24 touchdowns behind Reggie Bush. Hall, who’s probably good but not great because of the team that surrounded him, outrushed the other Bush – Michael from Louisville – by about 200 yards, but was outscored by 10 touchdowns.

The scouts say Hall is undersized, but he’s bigger than Williams. They say he does not have power or bulk and can’t handle linebackers and that he needs to run routes better – but he broke just about the same amount of records as Williams. Not that Hall had a chance to prove anybody wrong.

But where does Williams have power and size? When did he need any of that against C-USA?As of Sunday, he was predicted to go 12th overall in the draft, straight to the Cleveland Browns, whose leading rusher is Rueben Droughs with 1,232 yards, but only two touchdowns.

I can’t see them sharing time.

Even if I don’t see what Kiper’s hair sees.