The skeleton drills started out good for the offense. Robert Johnson completed 12 of his 15 passes in the drill. Despite the strong offensive performance the defense wasn't totally silent. Antonio Huffman made his presence felt when he laid a devastating hit on Trey Haverty on the first play of the drill. The defense took things over once Phillip Daugherty started to take his snaps. It started with a nice breakup by Joe Garcia, but SirDon Lewis raised the bar by intercepting a Daugherty pass. Not to be outdone, Antonio Huffman also plucked a Daugherty pass from the air. Freshman Chris Parker got into the action with an interception of his own.
The defense continued to play well in the team drills against Sonny Cumbie. On Cumbie's sixth play SirDon Lewis made a nice breakup on a pass to Cody Fuller. Four plays later, Brock Stratton nearly came away with an interception of his own when Cumbie tried to force a pass to Haverty. Three plays later, John Saldi intercepted a pass intended for Joel Filani and celebrated by raising the ball in the air victoriously. Huffman and J. Smith both intercepted Cody Hodges later in the drill. The offense did manage to get the play of the day when Filani leaped over Lewis to catch a touchdown pass from Cumbie.
Overall the defense made a huge statement today. The cornerbacks stood out the most, especially Huffman, Lewis, and J. Smith. Right now these three should all be considered potential starters at cornerback. The race is simply too close to call right now. The safeties also played well. Josh Rangel, Garcia, and C. Johnson all made some impressive plays. Those three combined with a healthy Vincent Meeks give the Red Raiders a very solid two deep at the safety position. The linebackers made some plays, highlighted by Saldi's interception in the team drills. The surprise of the day might have been Sione Havili, who was able to find his way into the offensive backfield on several plays during the team drills. Today's practice definitely gave the defense some swagger. The change in attitude started to happen during the skeleton drills, and by the end of the team drills the defense wasn't backing down from the offense at all. This new attitude will be crucial once the season gets here, if the defense can keep that swagger in their step until they travel to SMU.