Fall Practice Report #11
To the group of photographers taking pictures as the offense works on the silent count:
"Make sure I'm not in your way so you can get film of them screwing this up."
Graham Harrell surprised everyone with his willingness to take a few more risks today, and it paid off. As a result, Harrell piled up the yards and had his best practice of the Fall. Graham also had one of the finest throws that I have ever witnessed for a long TD to Edward Britton. It was literally in the only possible spot it could have been, and was simply perfection. I think Harrell could hit a dragonfly 35 yards away with the football if he wanted to. He's that good.
Chris Todd is losing ground on Harrell, and it's becoming more and more apparent that Graham will be this year's starter. Still, Todd has played extremely well for a Freshman, and deserves everyone's respect for his phenomenal abilities. I honestly expect there to be a serious quarterback battle every year, even if Graham gets the starting nod this season. Overall, Chris has played better than Harrell did in Graham's freshman year, and that's saying something.
Taylor Potts is impressing me with his leadership and work ethic for being so young. Potts seems to be pushing himself and fine-tuning his game, and the receivers seem to respond well to him. Ryan Rowland's face was looking a little puffy today, but there appeared to be no residual conflicts between any of the QBs, as they were getting along fine today. It was likely one of those moments where tempers flare, and the situation gets a little out of hand. This sounds awfully similar to some of the brawls that I have had with my brother over the years, and there's no bad blood there.
Harrell 22-29, 225 yards, TD
Todd 16-24, 145 yards
It appears that Kobey Lewis' effort yesterday was not enough to earn him more playing time in the eyes of the coaching staff, as Kobey had only one carry this afternoon. However, that might have something to do with the consistently solid play of Baron Batch. Batch had another long TD run, and is living up to the hype. That being said, Baron might have lost some points with the coaching staff today when he wasn't looking for the ball on one of his routes after cutting upfield. Several coaches reprimanded him for that mistake. Shannon Woods unfortunately had another quiet day in which he was neither impressive or disappointing.
Full Scrimmage Statistics:
Shannon Woods: 3 rush for 16 yards; 2 catches for 5 yards
Baron Batch: 1 rush for 35 yards, TD; 3 catches for 11 yards
Kobey Lewis: 1 rush for 6 yards
It was all about Edward Britton today. Britton had his second straight great practice, scoring one touchdown on a fantastic catch. It could be argued that he had two TDs today, because he had another catch for 27 yards in which one of the defensive backs had to hold up from the big hit, which allowed him to get in the end zone. After debating with myself for a bit, I decided that the DBs would have stopped him short of the end zone at full bore, so I didn't give him enough credit. Still, no one could argue that Edward didn't play well this afternoon in Joel Filani's place. Filani looks like he really wants to practice, but he's far too valuable to risk a more severe injury. Jarrett Hicks struggled early on with Marcus Bunton playing some phenomenal coverage on him, but then Hicks got determined and dominated for the rest of the day. Michael Crabtree is still way beyond Freshman abilities, and has more than made up for the loss of depth from Catron Houston leaving the team. Danny Amendola was burning the DBs all day long on out routes. L.A. Reed is still fairly injured, but seems to be moving around better each day. Robert Johnson sat out the day as well as a precautionary measure. Before you get too worried about these guys missing practices, consider that there is not much room for offseason improvement with Senior receivers as talented as Joel Filani and Robert Johnson. Grant Walker was his reliable self, and got the job done well today. Adrian Reese will be something special when he gets a bit stronger, and that will come with time. Eric Morris continues to be one of the most agile players on the team. Landon Hoefer is surprising many with his efforts. Todd Walker returned to light duty behind Hicks, but had a solid day.
Cumulative Practice Statistics:
Edward Britton: 5 catches for 75 yards, TD
Jarrett Hicks: 5 catches for 56 yards
Michael Crabtree: 3 catches for 50 yards
Danny Amendola: 6 catches for 43 yards
Grant Walker: 4 catches for 32 yards
Adrian Reese: 3 catches for 31 yards
Eric Morris: 5 catches for 29 yards
Landon Hoefer: 2 catches for 24 yards
Todd Walker: 4 catches for 16 yards
Manny Ramirez and Gabe Hall again sat out the practice, but this is also likely to be an extra caution, much like Filani and Johnson. Seriously, why risk the Seniors? Rylan Reed was back and practicing at RT today, which was great to see. Rylan did very well today, keeping pressure off of the quarterbacks from his side. I have been impressed with the contingency planning with the offensive line, as that coaches appear ready to put in the most effective group of players at a moment's notice. The run blocking was good today from what was mostly a second-team unit. The offensive line has more depth than I ever thought, and they have proven it in practice.
Keyunta Dawson is still the big star of the defense most days, as he is constantly disrupting the offense in every way possible. It is almost impossible to describe what he will bring to the table for our defense next year. Dek Bake was the big star this afternoon, putting pressure on the quarterbacks all afternoon. Dek Bake also had a strong performance, and will see the field plenty next season. Unfortunately, the rest of the defensive line was fairly quiet this afternoon.
Paul Williams was the impressive player of the linebacker corps in today's practice. Williams simply puts himself into position to make plays, which is why he is so effective. Brock Stratton also had a strong day, exhibiting solid coverage skills. Brent Slaughter has great speed, and prevented Danny Amendola from getting to the outside all afternoon, which is no easy task. Fletcher Session and Kellen Tillman are playing well, and forcing the ball to be thrown away from their coverage. Although it was not the linebackers' best day, they were doing a good job of limiting the mid-range passing game this afternoon.
Joey Garcia is rapidly jumping my list of favorite players, with his all-around skills seeming to get greater and greater each day. I think Texas Tech fans and opposing teams are going to be surprised by how talented Garcia really is. Chris Parker was not in pads once again, but looks 95% healthy. It is obvious that his talent will be saved for the season. Marcus Bunton played some of the best coverage that I have ever witnessed within the 1-on-1 drill. Marcus was frustrating Jarrett Hicks with three consecutive deflections. It's a great thing when a projected second-teamer has the talent to shut down one of the nation's best wideouts. This is further proof that the unit is very solid at each position. It seems that Franklin Mitchem and Steven Harris are having a "who hits the hardest" competition. Jamar Wall is quietly moving up the depth chart, and will be a great defensive back for Texas Tech.
Now lets hand out some awards:
Best Overall Unit:
Best Individual Performance: (tie)
Mr. Underrated: (tie)