Wednesday Practice Report

August 17th practice report

Practice Conditions:

Hot and muggy today
Still not wearing full pads (shoulder pads and shorts with thigh pad inserts)
Manny Ramirez very talkative before practice (e.g., getting O-line fired up, encouraging other players during individual drills, yelling across field to WRs)
Coaches and players had high spirits at beginning of practice (e.g., Sonny Dykes yelled at Hicks, "It's a good day to be a Red Raider!")

Individual Drills:

Manny Ramirez and Gabe Hall seemed to take the lead on the drills and were always the first to step up and go.
Quarterbacks looked sharp in pre-practice warm-up.  Passes looked good, and qb's hit receivers in stride.
Ruffin McNeal was very vocal during D-line drills (e.g., a lot of yelling was heard across the practice field).

1-1 Passing Drills:

Continued work on Robert Johnson with the double pass.  Leach seems to have high confidence in the abilities of R. Johnson to make plays.
Graham Harrell was looking very sharp in this drill, hit his receivers and timing looked good (threaded the needle on more than a couple of passes).
Hodges also looked very confident in this drill.  He made the throw before the receiver was visibly open (seemed to feel where and when the receiver would find an open spot).
Marquis Johnson (#27) is looking phenomenal.  Made a move in this drill that would have left your shoes in the ground.  He is looking VERY impressive, and is catching everything that comes to him.
Hicks made several great grabs and continues to be leading of WR core and seems to be a magnet (anything around him is caught).

Goal line 1-1 passing drill:

Harrell was looking great here.  Was really hitting the fade to the corners well.  Seemed to be less nervous when choosing a receiver.  He was impressive to watch.
Several receivers made some impressive grabs, we are truly blessed with how deep our depth chart is at receiver.  These guys were moving and it was a pleasure to witness.

Special Teams:

No field goal attempts were longer than 30 yards, and many of these were missed today. 
Reyes (punter) is impressive to watch!  We clocked his hang time on four punts and they were as follows; 5.17 seconds, 4.29 seconds, 3.95 seconds, and 4.43 seconds.  These were boomers!  Very high and had all had a perfect spiral!
Amendola has very quick takeoff after catching a punt.  He will be threat this year. 
Morris looks to be the second option at punt return.


Hodges started 7-7, and had a great TD pass to Filani who laid out for the catch. 
Hodges started off with a bang and fizzled out near the end of his reps, overthrowing three or four passes. 
While doing 7-7, Leach encouraged Hodges to work on throwing a short pass to the flats.
Harrell, once again, looked hesitant to throw the ball downfield.  We only saw him throw one or two passes that were over eight yards in the air.  He was accurate, but looked panicky when he couldn't find an open receiver downfield.
Todd Walker looked impressive and was working hard to get open.  He received praise from Coach Leach on breaking away from DBs to make a catch.


Defensive ends, as a whole, looked very good.  Bischofberger sacked Chris Todd from behind.  He looked really quick on the play.  Dixon looked quick and intense.  He was constantly in the backfield, forced a fumble from Rawls in the backfield.
Fletcher Sessions really gave the receivers that came over the middle problems.  On one particular play, he blitzed and made a sure tackle on Henderson.
Leach was upset about the tempo of this drill and yelled at the team.  He then asked Hodges to address the offense and get their heads back into practice.  This, in our opinion, shows that Leach believes Hodges is the true leader.
Hodges got over his bad day yesterday and looked very sharp in today's 11-11s.  He made several good reads and connected on more than 80% of his passes. 
Joel Filani continued to make play after play.  He made several very athletic catches.  He wasn't afraid of being popped after the catch, and really fought for some completions.  He was the favorite target of the day.
Slade Hodges seems to have worked his way into some P.T.  He appears to be improving with every practice.
Marquis Johnson is, in our opinion, going to get some P.T. this year.  He seems to be in very good shape, and has made a considerable jump from last year.
Graham Harrell looked nervous running the offense.  He had to ask Leach several times what play was being called.  On the first play, he brought the ball up to pass and the ball slipped out of his hand. 
Harrell underthrew Filani, and he made an incredible adjustment coming back to the ball and making the catch in front of Chris Parker.  Filiani appears to have very good field awareness.
Henderson doesn't seem to have lost a step and made several good looking runs today, including a 20 yard draw. 
Ken Scott (defensive tackle) smelled out a short shovel pass and popped Henderson for a TFL.
Chad Hill struggled with 7-7 and drew the ire of Lyle, but bounced back nicely in 11-11, drawing praise from Ruffin. 
Both quarterbacks showed good pocket awareness today, if they were flushed out of the pocket they adapted well. 
D-line didn't have much of a push, but seemed to scrape well to the ball.  Thwreatt looked out of shape, and got stood up several times.


Closing words:

Practice lacked intensity but we could see a lot of work being done.  No doubt the defense is getting better.  Against the run they made several plays and seemed to be reacting to the ball better.  Our pass defense still looks very solid, our starting corners and safeties are the real deal.  Leach seemed more involved with coaching individual players today than in past practices this week.  After practice, Bedenbaugh really got onto the linemen for what he felt was a sub-par day.  We think that the O-line did well, but he expects more out of them than they showed today.

 Look for August 18th practice report tomorrow evening.

Red Raiders for Life,
Andrew Swofford
Adam Probst



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