The Red Raiders were back on the gridiron and under the lights Friday night. The defense set the tone early forcing an interception and a safety on the Red Raider offense, but after the intermission, the offense bounced back scoring on nearly every drive in the latter portion of the scrimmage. Here are the reviews:
QB: Neither Michael Brewer nor Davis Webb really shined in the first part of the scrimmage. Brewer was hurt by some drops in the open field, but was also more consistent overall. Brewer also had a higher completion percentage for the second consecutive scrimmage. Webb was impressive throwing the ball and showed mobility completing passes on the run. Webb drew wows from the crowd throwing a couple of deep passes that didn't connect. Most impressive to me was a pass that Webb actually threw away. Located on the left hash mark, and off his back foot, Webb launched a pass that sailed over the home bench and hit the façade of the west side Jones AT&T stadium stands.
RB: Quentin White is the only RB that has participated in both scrimmages and looks to be competing for playing time. The skill position talent on this team is at running back and White solidifies that. Kenny Williams will be the back called on to get the tough, inside yards this season. It's a lot of fun to watch Williams run because he's so tough to bring down. There were a number of occasions Friday night where Williams ran through and around contact, and does a good job of keeping his feet under him and moving forward, gaining those extra yards.
The inside receivers outshone the outside receivers Friday night. Jakeem Grant led the team in receiving yards, including a 65 yard catch and run where he shook a defender and then outran the entire defense to the end zone. You're seeing Grant run some vertical routes from his H receiver spot. We saw this last spring, but those passes disappeared in the offense last season. They shouldn't this year. We're also seeing the inside receivers, Grant, Jace Amaro, Jordan Davis, among others have more catches than the outside receivers. I don't know how that changes when Eric Ward (held out of contact) plays in the offense, but the IRs are stepping up and garnering a lot of attention. For the outside receivers, Shawn Corker had another solid scrimmage. If I were Javon Bell, I'd get my academic affairs in order because Corker is ready and capable of taking my spot.
OL: The offensive line was the primary cause of the offense struggling early in the scrimmage. There still aren't enough healthy bodies out there as Rashad Fortenberry and Kyle Clark were held out and I didn't see Alfredo Morales get in the game, but he was suited out in shoulder pads, unlike the other two. The lack of depth and consistency on the OL is going to be a recurring theme into fall camp. There will be 5 new faces here in the summer to compete with the guys that are here, but four of those are freshmen.
The defense lived up to their word as they brought the fight to the offense early. The interception from Newbold was forced by the defensive line getting pressure on Brewer and forcing a bad throw. Will Smith's sack and safety was a great call on a blitz deep with the offense playing inside their own 5 yard line. I think the defense will take some chances like that under Matt Wallerstedt because the risk reward is so incredibly in the favor of the defense.
The two LBs that really stood out are Micah Awe and Brandon Jackson. Awe brought the lumber and hit everything around him. He's easily the most physical player on the defense. Brandon Jackson also did some good things making adjustments when the offense moved around. His biggest play was reading and stopping a screen pass to Sadale Foster for a loss covering the slot receiver.
This scrimmage went as expected. The defense figured to bounce back after the offense gained the upper hand in Midland scrimmage, and they did. The first half was as dominating a performance as we have seen from a Texas Tech defense in awhile. The offense responded, however, and did some really good things late. We'll see how things shake out next Saturday for the Red – Black spring game.