Receivers Impressive: Even without Eric Ward, who will miss most of spring practice with a bruised shoulder, Tech's receivers looked quite good.
Marcus Kennard, getting first-team reps in Ward's absence, was having a particularly fine practice before pulling a hamstring on an attempted catch in the end zone. Kennard had several good catches on flies and fades and received much praise from the coaches.
Newcomer Javon Bell, a JUCO blue chipper much like Kennard, is also impressing early. He has excellent balance and is adept at digging low balls off the turf. Bell made a beautiful grab on a shin-high deep, skinny post and didn't lose a stride.
But the most impressive receiver of the day in my book was redshirt freshman Jakeem Grant. He repeatedly showed off excellent hands and demonstrated the rocket-like acceleration we saw from his prepster days. When Grant gets the ball in his hands he looks like a top fuel dragster when the Christmas tree turns green.
DB Report: The defensive backs made several excellent breaks on passes, but then dropped what should have been interceptions. Derrick Mays dropped two wounded ducks, back-to-back, in one particular drill. Eugene Neboh dropped a Seth Doege offering. Cody Davis got inside of Javares McRoy but failed to close the deal on another errant Doege pass. Cornelius Douglas dropped an interception and then dropped to the ground for a set of pushups. And linebacker Daniel Cobb dropped a pass from Doege that hit him squarely in the hands.
Foul Mood: East Texan LaAdrian Waddle must not like cold west Texas weather. He was extremely chippy in drills, blocking walkons well after the play was over and then sending them off with a shot to the head. Waddle is normally a mild-mannered guy, but not today.
The Morales Boys: Freshman center Tony Morales is built like an aircraft carrier. He seems to be broader across the shoulders than he is tall. And brother Alfredo was playing very rough today. He was abusing defensive tackles in blocking drills, and at one point knocked Dennell Wesley's helmet off.
Units: Depth charts are obviously very fluid at this juncture, and with lots of substitutions and various situational packages deployed, it is difficult to get a grasp of who is where in the lineup. That said, I did see the following: from left to right, Rashad Fortenberry, Alfredo Morales, Tony Morales, Kyle Clark and Matt Wilson, looks like the second team offensive line. D. J. Johnson, Cody Davis, Blake Dees, Daniel Cobb, Pete Robertson, Eugene Neboh and Cornelius Douglas looks to be the starting defensive back seven. Jarvis Phillips, Austin Stewart, Derrick Mays, Sam Eguavoen, Chris Payne, Will Smith and Jeremy Reynolds ran as the second team back seven at one point. Your starting defensive line was Kindred Evans, Kerry Hyder, Dartwan Bush and Dennell Wesley. Bear in mind that Leon Mackey and Jackson Richards were not on the field today.
Money Quotes from Coach Tubs:
The one thing you look for is enthusiasm and guys getting ready for practice, ready to listen and get better. The attention is very good right now.
Really excited by the junior college guys. Look like we've got some quickness and speed that's gonna help us at a lot of positions, especially linebacker. Javon Bell, really impressed with how he runs and how he carries himself and uses his body. We've got a little more depth on the offensive line than what we've had.
I like the speed of this team. We're getting a little quicker and faster, and that's the name of the game in this league.
A couple of guys, Eguavoen and Blake Dees, true freshmen, probably shouldn't even have played last year. That's hard to do in the Big 12 is play true freshmen at linebacker. And they'll grow up. They've learned and had some hard knocks. But they need a good spring in front of ‘em.
I think he [Deveric Gallington] likes center. He didn't like it much last year. He's a very athletic offensive lineman. He's exactly what you need and what you're looking for at center. He'll have a long career in front of him if he continues to get better.
I'd rather have this [cold weather] with no wind than 65 degrees and the wind blowing 30 miles an hour. We can get a lot more done. That's the reason we need an indoor workout area. When the wind starts blowin'—that's the reason I go earlier, one of the reasons, because the wind blows a lot harder once we get into March.
He [Tyson Williams] is going to bring some mental toughness and physical toughness to our receiver corps. He plays fast, he plays physical, he plays hard and our DBs last year hated to go against him because he pushes ‘em around, knocks ‘em around, talks trash, does all that stuff you don't want if you're supposedly a starter on defense by a scout team guy. He's the type of guy that really mixes it up on the run game and the screen game.
We're gonna work a lot on the running game starting Tuesday. We've changed some things up. Offensively we've got to be able to run the ball better. We ran it 50 yards against Baylor and they ran it 300. You can't beat anybody doing that. We've got to do what we did in the first three or four games last year. With Ronnie Daniels back, I think he's really gonna help.
We're gonna do the same thing over and over. We're gonna do a lot of technique and fundamentals and not take any shortcuts on both sides of the ball.
They're hungry. You want a hungry football team.