Practice Report: August 6th

With the first practice officially in the books, Joe Yeager shares his thoughts after day one.

The Gazelle: Derek Edwards is probably the most fluid, graceful and acrobatic receiver on the Tech roster. He looks more at home in the air than on the ground. And with the exception of alligator-arming a short slant, he had a great first day of practice.

 

Back in Black: For the first time in Tommy Tuberville's Tech tenure, the defense practiced in the traditional black jerseys and the offense in white. The attempted makeover of Tech's defense is not just physical, it is also psychological.

 

Whiplash Winbush: Sophomore linebacker Zach Winbush, much like defunct defensive Aundrey Barr before him, simply looks like a football player. He moves exceptionally well and brings some explosion to the game as he demonstrated today on tackling sled drills. If Winbush can harness his athleticism he will really help the Red Raider defense.

 

Moving Micah: True freshman Micah Awe was recruited as a defensive back and is so listed on the current Tech roster. Today, however, Awe worked with the linebackers. At six feet and 205 pounds, he's not yet an imposing presence, but he is two inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than fellow linebacker Chris Payne.

 

Bad Start for Brewer: There's no point in sugar-coating it; backup quarterback Michael Brewer was totally errant with his passes today. He threw ‘em high, he threw ‘em low, and he threw ‘em in the dirt. We can write off Brewer's inconsistency to his inexperience, but you can be sure he's still not happy about it.

 

Dominique's Debut: True frosh wideout Dominique Wheeler had his moments today. Most of them were negative. He gave weak effort on a fly, short-arming it, and later dropped a crossing pass from Seth Doege.

 

Starts' Start: As Art Kaufman said in the post-practice presser, we can't know much about the high school players until the real hitting commences. That said, in running drills Starts busted through for a pair of tackles for loss, once slinging a runner to the turf. If nothing else, Starts has the size and aggression you love in a defensive lineman.

 

Tyson Slicin' and Dicin': Wideout Tyson Williams, doubtless the most vocal player on the Red Raider offense, did more than talk today. I don't have the stats, but it appeared to me he caught more passes than any other player.

 

D. J. McDoit: Safety D. J. Johnson was exceptional in coverage in skeleton drills. In these drills the defensive backs are sitting ducks because the quarterback doesn't face a pass rush. Despite the disadvantage, however, Johnson smothered Jace Amaro on an out route, and later jumped a Tyson Williams out route, nearly getting the oskie.

 

Marquez on the Mark: New cornerback Bruce Jones got a Big 12 baptism when Bradley Marquez worsted him on a stop route. It was a wonderful route by Marquez, and it caused Jones to leave some lingerie on the playing surface.

 

Davis' Debut: Like fellow freshman Dominique Wheeler, Reggie Davis had a rough opening practice, dropping a slant and later a crossing ball.

 

Numbers Game: Receiver Javon Bell, formerly sporting the number 82, is now decked out in the number 1. And linebacker Will Smith, once bedecked in the traditional linebacker number of 50, now wears the number 7.

 

Brown Ball: Offensive coordinator Neal Brown, no doubt seeking to avoid hamstring injuries, has directed his players not to chase balls that are clearly overthrown. Rarely will you hear a coach order his players to slacken their efforts, but in this case it makes sense.

 

Quick on Quick: You won't find a quicker player anywhere than inside receiver Jakeem Grant. That said, Will Smith, who's about twice Grant's size, is comparable. Grant ran a herky, jerky route across the middle in skelly drills and Smith was all over him like a shadow. Impressive isn't a big enough word.

 

Williams Starting: In what is perhaps a mild surprise, Kenny Williams rather than SaDale Foster, is currently running with the ones on offense.

 

Braveheart on the Caprock: After today's borderline broiling practice, strength coach Joe Walker put the Red Raiders through a grueling strength session that could best be described as medieval. Players were picking up medicine balls and slamming them to the ground repeatedly. They whipsawed hawsers across the field that looked like they came off the Titanic. They hauled massive ropes across the field that had some sort of anchor device attached to them. They quick-stepped bags filled with weights across the field and back. And again, this was all after practice.


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