A Partial View: Much to my chagrin, today's scrimmage was of the non-tackling variety. That being the case, it was virtually worthless as an indicator of where the offense stands vis-à-vis the defense and vice versa.
In a non-tackling situation, the defense, and particularly the back seven, are forced to play in third gear rather than overdrive. They simply cannot play with full aggression, attempting to force fumbles and dislodge receivers from balls.
Conversely, receivers go over the middle happy in the knowledge they won't be hit and running backs plunge into the line knowing they'll meet with minimal resistance. On the other side of the coin, the play is whistled dead with a touch, which works to the defense's benefit.
But the bottom line is that tackling, along with blocking, is the essence of football. Remove it from the equation and you've got yourself a glorified walk-through instead of a real scrimmage.
Diamond Doege: Seth Doege's day started on a sour note when D. J. Johnson intercepted him in the end zone on the first drive of the scrimmage. Doege rebounded, however, with as good a practice as I've ever seen from a Tech quarterback. He was a surgeon slicing up the defense. He made all the throws—short, intermediate and deep. He completed drop passes with great finesse, fired the deep out without difficulty and was on the money with the fade. Doege demonstrated excellent pocket presence and patience, and he bought time when necessary. And most important, Doege demonstrated utter command of this offense.
If what we saw today was the norm rather than an aberration, the Big 12 is in for a wakeup call from hell.
Doege's Caddies: Jacob Karam ran the second offense today. Like Doege, he got off to a slow start but by the end of the scrimmage was throwing darts. Getting balls tipped at the line is arguably his greatest disability right now. Outside of that, he looked pretty good.
Michael Brewer is currently third string, but after today's scrimmage may have inched closer to Karam. He was consistently good from start to finish and is amazingly advanced for a true freshman. There's little daylight between Brewer and Karam. Both look like good options.
The fourth quarterback was Scotty Young, and based upon today's performance, is probably a fairly distant fourth. He simply was not as accurate as the other quarterbacks, and is the least mobile of the bunch as well.
Center and Linebacker: Terry McDaniel was the starting center today and Blake Dees has already moved into the starting strong linebacker berth after transferring there very recently from middle linebacker.
The move of McDaniel to center is something I speculated about after seeing David Neill struggle with his snaps, and it certainly makes sense. McDaniel has now demonstrated he can play every position on the line, and his value is incalculable.
I'm thrilled with Dees' move into the starting lineup as well. Practically from the moment he stepped onto the field in the spring it was clear that he and Cqulin Hubert were Tech's two best linebackers, and it made no sense to stash Dees behind Hubert. This move means Tech has two young, talented, physical linebackers on the field at all times.
Torres looked like the good old Alex Torres today. The healthy Torres who tormented defensive backs by catching everything that passed through the solar system. Today he was sheer murder on crossing routes, reeling in touch catch after though catch. He was also money on third downs. Torres at inside receiver looks like a much larger Danny Amendola.
Moore is proving that his excellent spring was no fluke. He was uncanny on the fade route again today, proving to be practically unstoppable on that route. And the great thing about Moore is that it makes no difference whether he is open or not because he will catch the ball even if covered like a blanket. Moore is solidifying himself as Tech's top deep threat.
The big surprise was Marquez. He flat out belongs on the field and looks like he's played the receiver position all his life rather than having only recently moved there from running back. Marquez has the speed, he has the size, and he gets separation from defensive backs. The Red Raiders have a major find here.
Impact Frosh on Defense: Sam Eguavoen and Pete Robertson are already running with the twos at middle linebacker and strong safety respectively. And defensive end Kindred Evans also saw snaps with the second defense.
A Surprise in the Offensive Backfield: DeAndre Washington saw huge reps with the second offense today, although Aaron Crawford and Ronnie Daniels also ran with the twos. Washington has incredible quicks and it's easy to see why Neal Brown said he was the most underrated offensive recruit in Tech's latest class.
A Must: It is imperative that Delvon Simmons' clearinghouse issues get straightened out quickly because he is legit. He was quite possibly Tech's most active interior defensive lineman, and was almost impossible to keep out of the backfield. Controlling for the fact that he was facing the second- and third-string offensive line he was still impressive.
A Taste of 2012: Tyson Williams, who unfortunately is not eligible to play this year, is the best blocking receiver on the roster and it's not even close. He is simply devastating. A fullback with a wideout's number. You can be certain Williams will spring many a huge play before his time at Tech is through.
Knighton Shining Armor: Don't sleep on Chris Knighton. This defensive tackle is very strong at the point of attack and plays much larger than his listed weight of 250 pounds.
Defensive Notes: Chad Glasgow's defense did a good job of applying pressure on the quarterback. It was less successful at containing quarterback scrambles, and still looks shaky when it comes to defending the deep ball.
Coverage appeared to be primarily man-to-man, blitzes were fairly rare and were usually of the delayed variety.
Third string safety Chris Yeakey suffered what appeared to be a serious leg injury. He was fitted with an air cast and removed from the field on a cart.