Wednesday Practice Report

The third Fall Practice took place today in Texas Summer heat, and the players finally put on the pads for a hard-hitting practice. I already miss the late afternoon practices, but the players didn't seem to be affected by the heat. It was a great practice on both sides of the ball, and there were a few deviations from the average practice today.

Fall Practice Report #3

Special Features

Chris Todd -

Gabe Hall -

Chris Hudler -

Graham Harrell was again impressive, throwing only two incompletions on the day. The stats are going to look strangely different today because of the structure of practice. Although the numbers suggest that Harrell got less reps than Todd, this is not the case. Graham handled most of the handoffs today, and the playing time he got was comparable to Todd, as it usually is. Also, the TD numbers are low because the drills today were all run from the 35-yard line, instead of the usual red-zone and goal line repetitions.

Chris Todd is about as talented as Freshman QBs come. His throws are nearly always in the right place. However, he occasionally tries to force things, which can get him into trouble on occasion. He was having a phenomenal day until he tried to get a deep ball in between several defenders. It hit Lance Fuller right in the hands, but he dropped it. Nine out of ten times, that will be a costly interception in a game situation. Still, Todd continues to look better than a Freshman should, and has some tremendous potential. Chris also has some serious arm strength, which is a valuable attribute.

The backup QBs did well, but they were getting their receivers pummeled by the DBs. I'll elaborate on that further down in the article. Taylor Potts really has a cannon for an arm, as he was firing the ball across the field with ease. I was sold on the idea of moving Christian Sterling to receiver today when I saw him field a wobbly pass that he wasn't expecting with one hand. The other quarterbacks had a serviceable afternoon.

Passing Statistics:
Harrell 15-17, 166 yards
Todd 23-27, 219 yards, TD

Running Backs
Shannon Woods again did very well, but it was Pete Richardson that stole the show today with his speed to the outside. He broke two large runs of 14 yards apiece, and no one could catch him. Kobey Lewis was great out of the backfield catching today, and bailed out the QBs several times. Baron Batch was listed with the scout team today, and given light duty. Batch is still a very impressive player. As requested, I watched for the blocking by the RBs, but there just wasn't enough blocking performed today to make a comprehensive assessment on anyone. I will be sure to keep an eye out for their blocking. The full scrimmages will likely provide a more definitive picture of this. That being said, the running backs all did extremely well today.

Full Scrimmage Statistics:
Shannon Woods: 5 rushing attempts for 36 yards; 4 catches for 19 yards
Pete Richardson: 2 rushing attempts for 28 yards
Kobey Lewis: 5 catches for 24 yards
Baron Batch: 2 rushing attempt for 4 yards, 1 catch for 6 yards

Wide Receivers
Joel Filani is the man. That's all there is to it. I watched Antonio Huffman perform flawless coverage on him, and Filani still elevated over him and stole the ball from him. Just in case anyone didn't know, Filani is really, really good. L.A. Reed continues to be threat anywhere on the field. Reed caught a short crossing route, a quick in, and a deep slant today; running all of these patterns well. Chris Cunigan is still nursing a minor leg injury. RoJo did well receiving today, and also returned punts and even ran a few double passes. Hicks, Amendola, and Grant Walker all fulfilled their duties today, and looked sharp in the process. Eric Morris continues to be a valuable contributor, as do Britton, Todd Walker, and Crabtree. It's simply going to be a nightmare for DBs to deal with all of our receiving threats.

Cumulative Practice Statistics:
Joel Filani: 6 catches for 94 yards, TD
L.A. Reed: 5 catches for 81 yards
Robert Johnson: 2 catches for 33 yards
Grant Walker: 2 catches for 32 yards
Jarrett Hicks: 5 catches for 30 yards
Danny Amendola: 3 catches for 26 yards
Eric Morris: 1 catch for 14 yards, 1 rush for 11 yards
Edward Britton: 2 catches for 13 yards
Todd Walker: 2 catches for 12 yards
Michael Crabtree: 1 catch for 7 yards, 1 rush for 2 yards


Offensive Line
The offensive line again refused to show any weaknesses. Brandon Carter was a beast today, surprising many onlookers who began raving about his performance. In the 1-on-1s, Gabe Hall, Manny Ramirez, and Brandon Jones held their own, and Ofa Mohetau gained some ground on Louis Vasquez and Glenn January today with his performance. Steven Hamby looked solid today, as did Marlon Winn. Rylan Reed is coming along very well. The offensive line also does an excellent job of communicating on the field, which seems to be a large part of their success as a unit.

Defensive Line
There was finally a decent indication of the possible starting lineup here. Jake Ratliff appears to be the starter at SDE, next to Chris Hudler at DT, then Ken Scott at DT, with Seth Nitschmann rotating in and out at WDE depending on Dawson's place. If there is only a 4-man front, it appears that Dawson and Ratliff will be the DEs, but there were several instances where Dawson was a fifth upright, hybrid Defensive Lineman/Linebacker. Jake Ratliff, Ken Scott, and Chris Hudler were the stars of the unit, and Dawson did well forcing RBs way to the outsides. Rajon Henley is also looking quite strong for a freshman, and will earn some PT if he keeps up this kind of effort.

Fletcher Session was the best performer in the unit today, covering well and breaking to the ball. Kellen Tillman plays with a ton of intensity, much like Sylvester Brinkley did last season. Victor Hunter also continues to be an effective blitzing threat. Paul Williams and Brock Stratton both had a quiet afternoon, but have both proven their abilities on the field. Chad Hill and Brent Slaughter have looked impressive in nearly all of the practices as well. Blake Collier was also doing well in coverage today. The coaching staff is still experimenting by moving players around to find the best mix of talent that will perform the best for the Red Raiders next season. 

Defensive Backs
Jamar Wall is getting an awful lot of reps for a Freshman, which may indicate that he could see the field some this season. Antonio Huffman is doing well closing on the WRs, as is Darcel McBath. Steven Harris proved that he was a big-hitter today, laying a big one on Kelly Hildebrandt. Joe Garcia looked faster today, which was a good sign. Chris Parker unfortunately did not see that much action today, so maybe he is still taking it easy on his leg. Brent Nickerson is performing well, as is Nathan Stone. Clarence Ward is also a strong defender, but has to sit out this next season. Still, the unit looked better today, now that they were allowed to hit a bit harder. Keep in mind that the coaches don't want to see the DBs leveling our WRs, though, so they are still a bit restrained. For example, Slay wasn't knocking people around in practice, so give the DBs and LBs more credit as units.

Now lets hand out some awards:

Best Overall Unit:
Running Backs

Best Individual Performance:
Joel Filani

Mr. Underrated: (tie)
Brandon Carter
Pete Richardson

Best Newcomer:
Rajon Henley


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