Fall Practice Report #8
Graham Harrell unfortunately had two miscues today. Harrell had a pass that was read well by Kellen Tillman and intercepted, and another that was deflected at the line and fluttered into the waiting arms of Ken Scott. It was almost shocking to see Graham have a day with two interceptions and no touchdowns. Other than the INTs, though, Graham had a good day, and was accurate as always. Graham also did a good job with his cadence today, drawing the defense offsides on two separate occasions. Still, Maybe Harrell is mortal after all without two of his starting receivers.
Chris Todd had another strong outing, and is gaining ground on Graham with his play. The only passing TD of the day came on a screen thrown by Chris to Shannon Woods that Shannon broke for a 35-yard gain thanks to some great blocking. Todd managed to avoid the mistakes that Harrell did today, which gives him the nod for the day.
Taylor Potts worked quite a bit on technique today with one of the Graduate Assistants. Potts was focusing on his footwork, and looks eager to continue improving. It appears Christian Sterling has moved to receiver for good, and Steven Sheffield is getting more reps because of this. Taylor Potts ran a route for him today, which was entertaining. Maybe he'd make a good TE. Derek Shaw is still as yet to arrive.
Harrell 22-27, 196 yards, 2 INT
Todd 17-25, 189 yards, TD
Shannon Woods and Baron Batch are quickly becoming the #1 and #2 players at running back. Shannon had a great run after a screen pass in which he dove for the pylon on a 35-yard TD. Not to be outdone, Baron Batch responded with a 35-yard TD run of his own. Kobey Lewis again saw limited action, and appears to be battling Batch closely for the second-string spot. Still, I expect all three backs to see the field some this year. They have all earned it.
Full Scrimmage Statistics:
Shannon Woods: 1 rush for 12 yards; 3 catches for 56 yards, TD
Baron Batch: 3 rushes for 44 yards, TD; 1 catch for 4 yards
Kobey Lewis: 1 rush for 1 yard; 3 catches for 21 yards
Joel Filani and Jarrett Hicks were both not practicing again today, but there is no cause for worry. Filani is moving around fine while his pulled hamstring fully heals, and it was confirmed today that Jarrett Hicks is indeed taking exams for his correspondence classes this weekend. However, it's not all good news. L.A. Reed went down hard today after his foot caught on the field turf, and looks to has suffered a somewhat serious muscle pull. As usual, Danny Amendola and Robert Johnson were the stars in their absence, followed closely by the Walker brothers. Landon Hoefer had his second-straight strong outing, making one particularly nice catch in which he ripped a possible INT out of the hands of Marcus Bunton. Michael Crabtree continues to impress in all facets of his game. Eric Morris had a good day catching the football, looking awfully dangerous on out routes. Adrian Reese has proven to be very capable in catching passes in the middle of the field. The unit had the passes spread around to them well today, but is still not quite as explosive without Hicks and Filani.
Cumulative Practice Statistics:
Danny Amendola: 6 catches for 55 yards
Robert Johnson: 4 catches for 45 yards
Grant Walker: 3 catches for 35 yards
Todd Walker: 3 catches for 33 yards
Landon Hoefer: 3 catches for 33 yards
Michael Crabtree: 4 catches for 32 yards
Eric Morris: 4 catches for 31 yards
Adrian Reese: 2 catches for 19 yards
David Schaefer: 1 catch for 10 yards
Chris Cunigan: 1 catch for 6 yards
Edward Britton: 1 catch for 6 yards
Ofa and Vasquez were both at practice again, so any issues there appear to be resolved. Chris Olson struggled a bit today in holding off Keyunta Dawson, but retains his second-string spot at LT and possibly RT. Glenn January, however, managed to give Keyunta all he could handle in the "bull in the ring" drill that kicked off practice. Manny Ramirez was a beast this afternoon, and continues to be the anchor of the unit. The Offensive Line did well in downfield blocking today, and handled a potent pass rush.
Jake Ratliff was the star of the unit in today's practice. Jake had two great pass deflections, one of which resulted in an INT. Ratliff is doing very well as a DE, and has what it takes to be a great player for the Red Raiders for years to come. Keyunta Dawson continues to cause problems for our offense, and they're well aware of what he is capable of. I can't wait to see what he does to opposing offenses next season. Ken Scott had the rare defensive lineman interception this afternoon, which got the unit fired up. The defensive line looks stronger than you would expect from a unit who last a few players.
The linebackers didn't repeat yesterday's near-flawless performance, but they had another solid day. Paul Williams is getting an awful lot of playing time, and making the most of it with great pass coverage. Calen Schearer also put impressive pressure on during a blitz today that resulted in a sack by Dawson. The unit's highlight of the afternoon came on Kellen Tillman's interception, in which Tillman read the play perfectly and jumped the pass. However, the linebackers struggled to shut down the running backs today. Still, the unit looks poised for a good season.
Joe Garcia and Chris Parker both appear to be in good health, and both had solid practices. Parker had a very good deflection, and Garcia's coverage was solid. Pete Richardson almost grabbed an interception this afternoon, but had it slip through his fingers. The same goes for Marcus Bunton, who all but caught an INT until Landon Hoefer stole it away from him. Huffman and McBath are both great in staying with their man, and the quarterbacks seen to be afraid to throw near them. Also of note was that Leonard Hewitt, who failed to qualify, was in attendance today. Even without him, the secondary is going to surprise some teams next season.
Now lets hand out some awards:
Best Overall Unit:
Best Individual Performance:
Mr. Underrated: (tie)
Best Newcomer: (tie)