Thursday Practice Report

The fourth Fall Practice took place today in the hottest weather yet, and the players showed the most intensity today as well. There were fights, yells of encouragement and trash-talking, and everyone, including the coaching staff was just fired up. As always, was on hand to report on what would be the most energized practice yet.

Fall Practice Report #4


Graham Harrell was nearly flawless today, and handled the defensive pressure well today.  Graham was audibling based on the defensive schemes, and read the different looks that they were bringing to perfection.  Harrell also was more vocal today, encouraging teammates and getting more excited than usual.  If there was any doubt as to whether or not Graham will be the starter, it damn near disappeared today.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  Harrell should do great things in this offense.

Chris Todd had his first off day.  Todd was having trouble adjusting to the defensive pressure, and threw many more incompletions than usual.  The defense had Todd out of sync, but this is mainly due to his inexperience in the offense compared with that of Harrell.  Still, he managed to not commit any turnovers despite facing an extremely sold defense today.

The backup QBs saw light duty today, with Taylor Potts getting the majority of the playing time with the scout team.  Potts was also talking with Graham Harrell for much of the day in an effort to learn some of the tricks of the trade. Derek Shaw has not arrived yet, but we will be sure to keep an eye out for when he does.

Passing Statistics:

Harrell 24-28, 238 yards, 4 TD

Todd 14-23, 110 yards, TD

Running Backs

Shannon Woods showed off his receiving skills today, making a great touchdown grab on a route of the backfield.  It was Baron Batch that looked the best running today, though.  Batch powered his way into the endzone, and everyone tried to tackle him unsuccessfully.  Baron will likely be our short-yardage back this year.  Kobey Lewis had a serviceable afternoon, but didn't really do anything spectacular.  Pete Richardson has moved to RCB, and did well today there.  I have really been watching for the running backs' blocking, but the honest truth is that they are rarely blocking in practice.  I will keep an eye out.

Full Scrimmage Statistics:

Shannon Woods: 3 rushes for 8 yards; 5 catches for 43 yards, TD

Kobey Lewis: 5 rushes for 7 yards; 4 catches for 17 yards

Baron Batch: 2 rushes for 8 yards, TD

Wide Receivers

Joel Filani continues to impress me, even though I already know that he is a fantastic receiver.  He caught everything near him today, and was dangerous on a few reverses as well.  Robert Johnson was showing off his hands today, and quickly became a favorite target for both quarterbacks.  Grant Walker has been the surprise of the offseason with his abilities, and is currently flying under the radar, which makes him very dangerous.  Michael Crabtree got quite a bit of playing time today, which is a good indication that he will see the field next season.  Chris Cunigan practiced a bit today, but is still favoring his injured leg.  L.A. Reed continues to be a receiving threat and a good blocker as well. Speaking of blocking, Hicks and Crabtree were impressive on their downfield blocking today.  The receivers had a solid day, but the defense did an incredible job shutting down most of the receivers today.

Cumulative Practice Statistics:

Joel Filani: 8 catches for 92 yards, TD, 2 rushes for 20 yards

Robert Johnson: 6 catches for 86 yards, 2TD

Grant Walker: 4 catches for 36 yards, TD

Michael Crabtree: 4 catches for 27 yards, 1 rush for 6 yards

L.A. Reed: 2 catches for 21 yards

Landon Hoefer: 1 catch for 14 yards

Danny Amendola: 1 catch for 7 yards

David Schaefer: 1 catch for 2 yards

Offensive Line

The big news here is obviously the possible departure of Ofa Mohetau and/or Louis Vasquez, which would shake up the offensive line situation substantially.  In their absence today, Glenn January became a full-time LT, Brandon Jones moved over to LG, and Shawn Bynes and Josh Aleman split time at center.  As would be expected with all of these position changes, the weak side of the line was just that; weak.  However, the Defensive Line was playing extremely well even before Ofa and Louis left, so that exacerbated the situation.  In more positive news, Brandon Carter continues to play well, and Steven Hamby is also coming on strong.  Chris Olson also is getting better with every practice.  Hopefully we will have some positive news to report on the Mohetau/Vasquez situation tomorrow.

Defensive Line

The Defensive Line played with an intensity like I have never seen today.  After starting out the practice well, they began to smell blood in the water with Ofa/Vasquez missing.  Then, the unit was just dominant.  Ken Scott and Chris Hudler started disrupting the backfield, then Dek Bake, Jared Williams, Keyunta Dawson, Tyler Yenzer, and Jake Ratliff simply attacked with ferocity.  Their effort was extremely impressive, but one must wonder how much their success today had to do with the absence of Mohetau and Vasquez.   


The linebackers complemented the great play of the defensive line this afternoon.  Paul Williams was batting down passes and giving serious blitz pressure, as was Kellen Tillman.  Chad Hill and Brent Slaughter defended the outsides very well.  Hill was also one who fired up the defense at the start of practice leading the defensive huddle.  Brock Stratton made it tough for the QBs to find an open man by being in the right places.  Fletcher Session was solid, as he always is.  Even with all of the players moving around, the unit was dominant all afternoon and was a big part of shutting down the running game.

Defensive Backs

Half of the reason that the defensive line and linebackers were able to put so much pressure on the quarterbacks was the stellar play of the defensive backs.  They forced several throwaways, and several coverage sacks.  Chris Parker was out of pads today, but Jamar Wall, Nathan Stone, Brent Nickerson, and Marcus Bunton filled in very well for him.  Antonio Huffman continues to play great football.  Pete Richardson had an impressive debut at cornerback, with one particularly nice deflection to prevent a Chris Cunigan touchdown.  Darcel McBath is going to be really good this season, and has a very bright future as a Red Raider.  Perhaps the most impressive was Joe Garcia today.  Garcia acted like he was 100% healthy this afternoon, breaking up several plays, and laying some big hits.  He was nearly always in the right spot today, and was a huge part of the defensive backs' great play today.

Now lets hand out some awards:

Best Overall Unit: (tie)

Defensive Line




Best Individual Performance: (tie)

Joe Garcia

Robert Johnson


Mr. Underrated:  (tie)

Brandon Carter

Kellen Tillman


Best Newcomer:

Baron Batch



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