Today's practice saw an increase in intensity, particularly between the defensive backs and receivers. Things started to heat up during screen drills when cornerback Antonio Huffman and receiver Brandon Douglas got together on a play. The intensity continued in the skeleton drill that followed. You like to see that kind of intensity in players in practices. It's great, as long as nobody gets hurt. This sort of rivalry is bound to happen between two units that see lots of each other in every practice. With the defense looking to prove that they can field a competitive unit, the competitiveness will continue to grow as players fight for positions.
The defensive backs are still up in the air, but there appears to be a fairly stable depth chart at the moment. At safety Meeks and Rangel are the first unit. Chad Johnson and Raymond Pierce make up the second unit, while Garcia and Greg Aycock are the third unit. Time is being split pretty evenly between the first two groups, so the spots will probably be up for grabs well into fall camp. Meeks was the defensive player of the day, making several plays on passes. The only downside to his day was the number of dropped interceptions. Texas Tech will need those turnovers next season. Don't be surprised to see Johnson move into a starting safety spot later on. Johnson is too good of an athlete to keep off the field, he just needs to finish making the adjustment to the safety position. If he doesn't start as a safety, I wouldn't be surprised to see the sophomore move back to corner.
The player of the day was Jarrett Hicks, who made several spectacular catches, especially in the one on one drills. Hicks continued to make impressive catches throughout the practice. Also evident today was the ability of Hicks to create separation between himself and the defensive back. Jarrett Hicks is quickly shaping up to be an exceptional wide receiver, and his numbers should prove him worthy of a starting position.
Things continue to heat up at the quarterback position. Robert Johnson showed off his arm today, hitting everything from deep balls to out patterns with apparent ease. We're still waiting to see the running ability of Johnson, but he's already impressive based simply on his throwing ability. If Johnson can learn the offense, he'll certainly make a strong case for the starting spot. Cumbie continued to play well, though he did have seem to overthrow quite a few balls between one on one drills, skeleton drills, and the live scrimmage against the scout defense. Johnson also received some more snaps in today's practice. After not taking any snaps in the skeleton drills, Johnson split the snaps in the scrimmage against the scout defense. Both quarterbacks moved the ball effectively. Johnson is picking up the system, but he was confused at times with the play calls. The spot is till Cumbie's to lose, but Johnson is making a strong case with just two practices under his belt.