Fall Practice Report #1
-Jamar Wall -
-Chris Olson -
The first big surprise was that Leach made a big entrance by running out of the doors and showing off that he has lost quite a bit of weight. Seriously, TSO must have shaved 10-15 pounds off his frame, and looks much livelier than ever. He was sporting some brand new UnderArmour apparel, as were the players. By the way, the new UnderArmour gear is completely awesome. Anyway, on to the day's events.
Graham Harrell began the day a little rusty, and had a few of us slightly worried. Then, Harrell reminded us why he's a champion by running the no-huddle offense to perfection by completing 11-11 passes en route to a touchdown. Needless to say, I wouldn't have any problems seeing some no-huddle this season. Had Graham gotten off to a better start, he would have had a fantastic outing. I am still in awe of how well he throws the fade pattern. Harrell was literally dropping passes on the back end-zone pylons in the goal line drills. It was beautiful.
Chris Todd threw the ball better overall than Harrell did today, but he wasn't as quick or as careful in his decision-making. He did have an impressive scramble today, outrunning several players to the corner. Todd needs to tuck the ball when running, though. His day would have been spectacular had it not been for three plays that stuck out in my mind. One of these was a poor throw that was intercepted, another was a bad decision that should have been picked off, and the last one was taking a sack by trying to buy too much time scrambling instead of dumping it off to one of the running backs. Still, Chris deserves commendation for the rest of his day, as it was damn impressive.
A surprise was the number of other quarterbacks this season. Taylor Potts was obviously expected, but his trimmed haircut was not. Potts was relegated to scout team duty today. The same goes for Ryan Rowland, who has proven himself to be a talented player. The new faces were Steven Sheffield and Christian Sterling. Add incoming transfer Derek Shaw to the mix, and you have seven quarterbacks on the roster. Then again, you can never have too many guys to throw passes to our talented stable of receivers.
Harrell 21-27, 192 yards, 4 TD
Todd 24-27, 263 yards, TD, INTs
Full Scrimmage Statistics:
Shannon Woods: 3 rushing attempts for 24 yards; 8 catches for 57 yards
Kobey Lewis: 4 rushing attempts for 15 yards; 2 catches for 21 yards
Baron Batch: 5 rushing attempts for 23 yards
If anyone ever questions where the best receiving corps in the nation is, they would have no more doubts had they seen today's practice. Several players were simply dominant. Danny Amendola was lightning-quick on his cuts, Crabtree again proved to be a playmaker, Filani was impossible to keep up with, L.A. Reed is simply scary with his size and speed, Robert Johnson and Grant Walker were making incredible catches, etc., etc. However, in their absence, both familiar and unfamiliar faces stepped up their game. We all know the starting four can seriously play football, so I'll give an in-depth look at the difference makers behind the scenes. L.A. Reed played quite a bit at Y today, and seriously is dangerous. Tech has to get this man on the field to simply scare people. It's almost like he runs with his shoulder lowered, and it is very apparent that no one wants to try and tackle him. Crabtree has been impressive as well with his RoJo-esque gamebreaking ability, and will add some more depth to an already ridiculously deep unit. Believe me, though, he is a big part of the future of Red Raider receivers. Eric Morris is an Amendola clone with sure hands and quick feet. Grant Walker seems to always be in the right place at the right time. He has a chance to make a big impact in the future as well. Adrian Reese is a big fella who will likely redshirt based upon his lack of reps today. Edward Britton is an extremely speedy Z who might need to add some size for Big 12 play, but he has the tools to become something special. The receiving corps is indescribably talented, and will be a huge part of the offense's dominance this year.
Cumulative Practice Statistics:
Joel Filani: 4 catches for 121 yards, 2 TD
Danny Amendola: 7 catches for 80 yards, 1 rush for 10 yards
Eric Morris: 3 catches for 67 yards, TD
L.A. Reed: 8 catches for 65 yards
Robert Johnson: 5 catches for 63 yards
Grant Walker: 4 catches for 47 yards, 2 TD
Michael Crabtree: 3 catches for 24 yards, 2 rushes for 11 yards
Jarrett Hicks: 1 catch for 20 yards
Todd Walker: 1 catch for 6 yards
The offensive line is not to be worried about. Manny Ramirez, Gabe Hall, and Ofa Mohetau were imposing forces today, and Glenn January and Louis Vasquez proved to be solid as well. Ofa has dropped a bit of weight since his arrival in the interest of maneuverability, but don't worry, he's still a huge guy. Rylan Reed is nearly back to healthy status again, so it will be nice to see him in the mix as well. Whoever gets the starting QB nod next season should be well-protected.
The big story here is that it appears that Keyunta Dawson has been moved back to the line to replace the depth lost by the departure of Rashad Hunt and McKinner Dixon. Also, Jared Williams is working out with the scout team, which may indicate some disciplinary issues. The defensive line was shut down pretty well today, but that was more attributable to solid O-Line play than anything else. Sandy Riley recorded the day's only sack from his defensive end position. However, keep in mind that the defensive lineman are extremely discouraged from getting too physical without pads on the offensive players. I expect much greater things from the unit when they can play their hardest as the pads are put on. We'll keep you apprised of any further developments here.
The addition and now removal of Dawson threw a kink in the mix of the starters at Linebacker. It seems that the team will be trying out mixed sets of Session, Stratton, Williams, Tillman, Hill, and Stratton to find the best unit. Williams was the star of the unit today, as he had some impressive pass deflections. However, it is still possible that Dawson will play at linebacker. Perhaps he practiced with the D-line today for leadership and teaching purposes, or maybe the coaches are trying to throw everyone for a loop. We will look further into the situation tomorrow.
Darcel McBath was the obvious star of the unit today with his coverage, but Jamar Wall continues to impress as well. Anthony Hines was in attendance today, but was doing nothing more than walking around. Joe Garcia might be favoring an ankle as well, as one of them was taped up for today's practice. On a positive note, it was good to see Chris Parker start to be worked back into the mix, and Marcus Bunton also played well. They had to take it easy on the receivers today since they were out of pads, and had to restrain themselves from "Slaying" our wideouts today. Again, I expect to see them be more impressive when they are unleashed.
Now lets hand out some awards:
Best Overall Unit:
Best Individual Performance:
Best Newcomer: (tie)