Spring Practice Report 4/14

Monday's practice session was not one of the high points for the Texas Tech offense this fall. The coaching staff counted a total of fifteen passes dropped in the previous practice, something that concerned Head Coach Mike Leach. Today's practice saw the offense step out of it's slump to show some of its potential.

The Texas Tech offense may have been down for the last couple of practices, but nobody thought it would last very long. There is simply too much talent on that side of the ball for the defense to dominate practices on a regular basis. The offense's improvement made the defense look somewhat human again, but this defense continues to separate itself from previous defenses in the Mike Leach era. Even with the offense completing more passes, the defense was preventing the big play, and stopping the run, both of which were problem areas last season.

The quarterback race could be the major attraction in the Red and Black game. There aren't a lot of positions in the air right now, but the upcoming scrimmage could either place Robert Johnson further in the lead, or it could keep Sonny Cumbie in the running as the team heads into off-season workouts.

As usual, Cumbie and Johnson split the available snaps. Cumbie got things started in the seven on seven drills. the drill got off to an auspicious start when Taurean Henderson dropped the first pass, but the receivers regained their catching ability in a fairly quick fashion as Cumbie completed the next four passes. Fletcher Session made a nice play on the next pass, but was unable to hold onto the ball. The defense tightened up to allow just two completions in the final five pass attempts. Cumbie completed 6 of 11 passes in the drill. Johnson managed a better performance in the first drill, completing all ten of his passes. The only miscue came on a play that was blown dead after the junior was unable to find a receiver on the eight play of the drill.

The seven on seven drills continued in the red zone, where both quarterbacks went 2 of 2. Things moved to the goal line area for the final segment of seven on seven drills. Cumbie found Jarrett Hicks on the first play for a nice touchdown catch with Khalid Naziruddin playing nearly perfect coverage. On the next play, Cody Fuller caught a touchdown pas sin the back of the end zone. Cumbie's third attempt was directed at Hicks, but fell short. Johnson managed to do one better when he completed all three of his passes for touchdowns.

Cumbie was able to step up his game in team drills, completing 6 of 7 attempts. Johnson completed hi first three passes, but threw his first incompletion of the day on the fourth play when the ball was tipped at the line. Johnson used a strong finish to complete 6 of 7 passes in the drill. Cumbie stumbled in the red zone drills when Greg Aycock intercepted his second pass. Cumbi was 1 of 2 in the red zone. Johnson was a perfect 2 of 2 in the drill. In the goal line drills, Cumbie handed off to cumbie on the first and third plays, but the defense was able to keep the speedy back out of the end zone. Cumbie did find Hicks for a touchdown on the second play. Johnson completed his first pass, but Chad Johnson had nice coverage on an incomplete pass to trey Haverty that ended the practice.

This was another impressive performance by Johnson, who completed 24 of his 26 pass attempts in the seven on seven and team drills. Cumbie played well in the team drill, though the interception was a bad mistake. Since the quarterbacks started splitting snaps, Johnson has been either as good or better than Cumbie in every practice. If things continue like this, the decision will be an easy one for Coach Leach.

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