Spring Practice Report 4/10

The second scrimmage of the spring workouts brought some changes from the first scrimmage, as the defense stepped up its game to finish off a strong week of practices.

The Texas Tech defense has had a pretty good week of practice. It started on Monday when the defense had a great performance in the skeleton and team drills. Wednesday saw a small drop-off, but it was still a solid performance. The offense came out ahead on Friday, but Saturday's scrimmage was another great performance by the defense.

Cody Hodges started things off with a 48 yard pass to Joel Filani that went for 48 yards when Filani broke a tackle and streaked up the sideline. The drive ended when Brock Stratton sacked Hodges for an 8 yard loss on third and goal. Hodges moved the ball just 10 yards in his final set of downs. Hodges completed 3 of 4 passes for 65 yards.

Sonny Cumbie was up next, and looked good initially. Cumbie found Jarrett Hicks for a 15 yard pass on first and ten for a 15 yard gain. Cumbie found Nehemiah Glover on the next play for an 11 yard gain. On the third play of the drive the offense attempted a hook and ladder. Hicks caught the pass, but the toss was off and the defense recovered. The next drive also started strong. Cumbie moved the ball to the 26 yard line before a Joel Filani fumble was recovered by the defense. Cumbie's tenth and final snap was a 31 yard pass to Hicks, who made a nice move to run up the sideline for a nice gain. Cumbie was 8 of 9 for 92 yards in his first ten plays.

Hodges took his second set of snaps after Cumbie. Following an offsides penalty, Keyunta Dawson scored a sack to make it second and twelve. On second down Bristol Olomua caught a pass for 29 yards. On the next play Jabari Smith nearly intercepted a pass intended for Hicks. On third down Brett Bischofberger sacked Hodges to end the drive. Hodges was able to move the ball to the 9 yard line before his set of plays was over. Hodges completed 4 of 6 passes for 41 yards.

Robert Johnson took the field next and got of to decent start before asack by Patrice Majondo-Mwamba stopped a fourth and one rushing attempt by the speedy quarterback. The coach's charged the defense with a penalty for hitting the quarterback, and it was first and ten on the thirty. Following a pass for no gain, the offense was charged with a 15 yard penalty to make it second and twenty five. Johnson found Filani for a 22 yard gain. A 14 yard rush by Taurean Henderson was followed by a 2 yard rush by Johnson to place the ball on the 7 yard line. Taurean Henderson lost 7 yards on a reception to move the ball to the fourteen yard line. Johnson found Hendersona gain, this time for a 5 yard gain that ended Johnson's set of plays. Johnson completed 6 of 7 passes for 29 yards.

Phillip Daugherty participated in a seven on seven drill, and scored the first touchdown of the day when he found Brad Bergfeld for a 20 yard touchdown pass. Daugherty was 8 of 10 for 72 yards in the drill.

Hodges took the field next, and started just 15 yards from the end zone. Brian Bishop was stopped for no gain on a first down rush. On second down Hodges completed a pass to Filani for a 7 yard gain to make it second and three. Johnnie Mack was only able to gain two yard son third down. On fourth down, Vincent Meeks flew into the backfield to shut down another rush by Mack. Hodges moved the ball to the 1 yard line on his next set of downs, largely due to a 13 yard rush by Henderson. Hodges completed 1 of 3 passes for 7 yards.

Next up was Cumbie, but his first drive was cut short when Sione Havili got back to back sacks on the senior quarterback. The next set of downs went better for Cumbie. On the first play Filani gained just a yard when he fumbled, but the offense did recover. On second down Cumbie found Hicks in the middle of the field for a touchdown. Cumbie was 1 of 2 for 14 yards and a touchdown.

Johnson was up next, but only moved the ball 4 yards on his first set of downs. On the next set of downs, Johnson found trey Haverty for a 14 yard gain that set up a touchdown rush by Henderson. Johnson was 1 of 2 for 14 yards.

The balled moved out to the 40 for Johnson's final set of plays. On first and ten, Ken Scott chased down Johnnie Mack for a 7 yard loss. On second down Chad Johnson intercepted a pass intended for Bishop, and ran it back 40 yards for a touchdown. The defense continued to build momentum on the second set of downs when a bad snap was recovered by Stratton. The snap never got back to Johnson who was in the shotgun. Stratton kept up the good play when he intercepted a pass from Johnson to Bishop. Things settled down for the Johnson's final five plays. Johnson completed 5 of 7 passes for 15 yards, but threw two interceptions.

Cumbie took his final set of snaps from the forty as well. He started of strong with a 16 yard pass to Joey Hawkins followed by am 11 yard pass to Haverty, but a Filani made a bad toss on a reverse attempt, and the ball was recovered by Fletcher Session. On the enxt drive Cumbie found Haverty for a 16 yard gain to start the drive. Jarrett Hicks caught the ball for a 12 yard gain a couple of plays later. The drive stalled at the 22. Cumbie completed 4 of 7 passes for 55 yards.

The final numbers for Cumbie came to 13 of 17 for 161 yards, and one touchdown. Johnson completed 12 of 16 for 58 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. Despite the numbers, neither quarterback looked good in the scrimmage. Cumbie did make fewer mistakes, but he also had better protection for most of the scrimmage. Based on this scrimmage Cumbie would have a slight advantage in the quarterback race, but if you take the past week into consideration Johnson is still the leader. Johnson did stumble in a scrimmage that could have solidified his chances as a starter, but nobody on the offensive side of the abll played particularly well.

The defense was another story, as defenders flew to the ball throughout the scrimmage. This performance makes it seem like this defense could be for real. There was already a decent amount of physical talent on the defense, but the year of experience along with a couple of position changes has had a major impact. It's tough to say just how good this defense will be, but it certainly should be better than last season's. A few players really stood out today. Stratton certainly stood out with his fumble recovery and interception, but the real story was in the secondary. C. Johnson made a very nice interception and return, and Vincent Meeks had a great scrimmage, especially considering that he hasn't practiced for much of spring. Both players have been great in run support, an area that plagued the Red Raiders last season. Jabari Smith and SirDon Lewis also made several plays in the scrimmage. Those four are your current leaders for the starting spots in the secondary, Meeks and Johnson at the safety positions, and Smith and Lewis at the cornerback spots. Josh Rangel could make a push for a spot, though it will be tough to displace Johnson, who has been playing great football this week. Huffman will be the nickel back, though he could move into the starting line up if he can improve his coverage skills slightly. Havili was impressive on the defensive line. It's tough to see him as a starter, but he will make a solid backup at the end position. Overall, today was a major victory for the defense. Hopefully this play will carry over into the final week of practices.


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