Players on the Hot Seat in College Football Week 3

Erin Sorensen@erinsorensenContributor ISeptember 13, 2013

Players on the Hot Seat in College Football Week 3

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    That's what the 10 players on this list are under.

    From personal player-cams to make-or-break games, Week 3 looks to provide a lot to watch. It also provides a lot of opportunities to stumble.

    So how will the players on this week's list fair?

    Depends on how they handle pressure. There is no doubt the individuals on this list are feeling it.

10. Cyrus Kouandjio, OL, Alabama

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    Come kickoff in College Station on Saturday, Alabama's offensive line will be feeling the pressure.

    For junior offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio, most attention will be diverted in his direction. At 6'6" and 310 pounds, Kouandjio looked slow against Virginia Tech.

    It was shocking too, considering Kouandjio has been touted by may pro scouts at the end of 2012 that he has potential to be a future top-10 NFL draft pick.

    Head coach Nick Saban believes it comes down to communication.

    "We need to have faith, trust and confidence in what we're doing, but we need to communicate it and have trust in that, too -- and each other, so that we can all play with confidence," Saban said in his weekly press conference, via

    Protecting quarterback AJ McCarron will be key, as he was sacked four times against Virginia Tech. With Kouandjio leading the way, the Crimson Tide cannot have a similar repeat against Texas A&M.

9. Jeff Driskel, QB, Florida

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    Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel finds himself at a possible turning point.

    Gator fans know Driskel can make big plays with his legs. Everything else from there is a bit shaky.

    Against Miami, Driskel threw for a career-high 291 yards. However, he was also the direct result of three of Florida's five turnovers. With two interceptions and a fumble, the junior now has more turnovers than touchdowns in 2013.

    So what does the future hold for Driskel? Only time will truly tell. However, if Driskel does not find the answers he's looking for soon, the second-year starter will find his numbers towards the bottom of the SEC once again.

8. Blake Bell, QB, Oklahoma

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    With quarterback Trevor Knight missing at least one game with a bruised knee, junior Blake Bell gets a chance to start.

    Fans are anxious to see what Bell can do after a disappointing start to the season with Knight. To win over fans, it won't take much from Bell.

    Knight has only completed 44 percent of his passes for only 205 yards, throwing for four touchdowns and three interceptions.

    If Bell performs this weekend against Tulsa, there is little doubt fans will be calling for the junior to start against Notre Dame.

7. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

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    Quarterback Braxton Miller has made it clear that he will not lose his starting spot if he's healthy.

    The key here is whether or not he is healthy. While Miller got some work in during Wednesday's practice, head coach Urban Meyer says Millers fate for Saturday is still uncertain.

    Miller will still join the team heading to California. However, the Buckeye quarterback's hot seat gets a lot less hot if he's unable to start.

    If he is able to start though, expect an explosive Miller out to lead the Buckeyes.

6. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska

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    UCLA head coach Jim Mora called Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez "dynamic" in the Los Angeles Times.

    For Martinez, he is going to need to live up to every bit of that description against the Bruins.

    The senior quarterback's ability to run when needed is what will challenge UCLA. After all, Martinez has rushed for more than 100 yards in 13 games over his collegiate career with Nebraska.

    Last year again the Bruins, Martinez ran for a 92-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

    Needless to say, UCLA will be watching Martinez's feet.

    As for the hot seat, Nebraska fans will be closely watching the outcome of Saturday's game. Never has there been a more pressing point in Martinez's career to win.

    For the sake of his legacy, this one is going to be key.

5. Jake Waters, QB, Kansas State

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    Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters has company.

    Daniel Sams, the Wildcats' No. 2 quarterback, shared snaps with Waters against Louisiana-Lafayette. It seemed to work out just fine, with Kansas State winning 38-17.

    Sams, in fact, was a spark for the KSU offense. So far this season, he has scored two touchdowns on 10 carries and has rushed for 80 yards, gaining eight yards per carry.

    Waters has been solid too but mistake-ridden. If Waters wants the job solely to himself, he'll have to find ways to carry Kansas State's offense with as few of mistakes as possible.

    If he can't, Sams may even pass him by.

4. CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama

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    CJ Mosley has one goal on Saturday—stop Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

    It shouldn't be too much to ask either, as Mosley is exceptionally talented. During the 2012 season, the All-American became the first Alabama linebacker since Rolando McClain to record more than 100 tackles.

    Mosley has been touted as the best backup in the country and he's on his way to becoming one of the best linebackers in college football.

    Needless to say, Mosley is the defender to stop Manziel. Pressure will be there to do just that. A quiet force, Mosley won't say much about it but he's going to be a force to be reckoned with for the A&M offense.

    Mosley should make the matchup interesting.

3. Nebraska Defense

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    There are few seats hotter than that of the Nebraska defense.

    With young players leading the way, head coach Bo Pelini is trusting and counting on the Blackshirts to stop UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley.

    The 56-13 victory over Southern Miss should have provided the defense with a fair amount of confidence. Against Southern Miss alone, the Blackshirts racked up nine tackles for loss.

    There were will some moments of weakness, but Nebraska's defense kept the pass-happy Golden Eagles out of the end zone plenty of times.

    Saturday against UCLA will need to be similar. Hundley will try to put the ball in the air and test Nebraska's ability to defense the pass. Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Ciante Evans will be on the spot to replicate the interceptions they snagged against Southern Miss.

    This will be the ultimate test for Nebraska's young defense.

2. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

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    Defensive end Jadaveon Clowney has been vocal with his frustrations.

    Especially in the aftermath of Georgia, where the Bulldogs played away from Clowney. He eventually got his first sack on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. It wasn't enough to please Clowney though.

    "It's hard out there trying to chase from the backside, and they just took me right out of the game," Clowney told

    So Clowney is off to a slow start. Can he bounce back?

    Teams will continue to double- and triple-team the defensive end. That will continue to frustrate Clowney. How he reacts and adjusts will say a lot about the player, which starts this week.

1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

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    Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is under enough pressure this week with his "Johnny Cam."

    CBS isn't making it easy on the quarterback. However A&M coach Kevin Sumlin isn't worried.

    "I think anybody who's watched the first two games and the last six games last season will see he's gotten better," Sumlin told USA Today.

    So Manziel has gotten better, which no one has really doubted yet. However, the constant media attention the quarterback obtains is something else. An entire camera is dedicated to him alone on Saturday.

    The madness around Manziel is something that won't go away overnight. In fact, as long as Manziel is the starting quarterback for Texas A&M, the media is going to follow. He will be scrutinized, watched and hounded.

    Manziel must overcome all of that. He has so far, but it's only three weeks into the season. Alabama is going to test just how cool the quarterback is come kickoff.