Fall Practice Report #15
To Strength & Conditioning Coach Benny Wylie, about Robert Johnson:
"Here, I'm giving him to you until he gets healthy, and let's try to speed up this process. You know, like the little train that could. I think I can, I think I can."
Graham Harrell began the day extremely well, going 12-14 in the 7-on-7 drill with two great TDs. Harrell should have had a third TD in this drill, but Todd Walker had a pass glance off his hands in the end zone. Graham was not as impressive in the 11-11 drill, but he still did very well, making quick and correct reads to give him another great practice overall.
Chris Todd had a much better day than yesterday with a nearly flawless start to practice. Needless to say, Leach was much more pleased with his performance, and appeared fairly impressed with Todd throughout the day. However, Chris takes noticeably longer than Harrell to make his decisions. Todd may be the best Freshman QB in the country, but even that isn't enough to get the starting job.
Derek Shaw attended practice again, which is nice to see. I hope to see Shaw suit up soon to see what he can do. Taylor Potts is doing well throwing on the run, and seems to have been taken under the wing of Chris Todd. It will be great to watch his development alongside other great QBs under Leach.
Harrell 17-23, 125 yards. 3 TD
Todd 23-28, 159 yards. 2 TD
The most interesting development here was the usage of many 2-back formations today. Baron Batch was the best of the running backs this afternoon, proving to be completely unafraid of defenders throughout a great rushing and receiving day. Batch's touchdown run was rather humorous, because he had his shorts completely torn in half as he fought through the line, yet still got in the end zone without them. Shannon Woods is just a solid RB in all aspects of his game, picking up another good block today. Kobey Lewis had a big day receiving, and had an absolutely fantastic juke on one of his runs. I love all of the RBs for their different strengths.
Full Scrimmage Statistics:
Shannon Woods: 2 rushes for 11 yards; 4 catches for 25 yards
Baron Batch: 6 rushes for 25 yards, TD; 3 catches for 20 yards
Kobey Lewis: 2 rushes for 13 yards; 6 catches for 25 yards, TD
It might as well have been called "backup day" for the receiving corps. Danny Amendola was the only starter who played the whole afternoon. Robert Johnson left the field early because he was favoring his injured leg. Robert joined Joel Filani and L.A. Reed on the bikes as they all recuperate. L.A. Reed is healing rather well, and even ran a route for fun in the warmups just to see if he could. Jarrett Hicks showed up midway through the practice, apparently having other obligations today. Grant Walker was the star of the unit without the starters in. Grant is by far the best of anyone at working back to the quarterbacks when they get into trouble. Chris Cunigan was also doing an excellent job of getting open today. Adrian Reese continues to impress as a blocker as well as a receiver. Danny Amendola is the looking better than ever, both as a punt returner and receiver. Edward Britton is becoming a threat on reverses, and is using his quick feet to become a dangerous receiver as well. Todd Walker did a decent job of getting open today, but lost some points dropping a sure TD on a great throw from Harrell. Eric Morris and Landon Hoefer provide the unit with great depth, and are just waiting their chance to prove what they can do.
Cumulative Practice Statistics:
Grant Walker: 6 catches for 48 yards, TD
Chris Cunigan: 3 catches for 37 yards, TD
Adrian Reese: 5 catches for 31 yards
Danny Amendola: 3 catches for 29 yards, TD
Edward Britton: 4 catches for 28 yards; 2 rushes for 7 yards
Todd Walker: 1 catch for 20 yards, TD
Eric Morris: 3 catches for 11 yards
Landon Hoefer: 1 catch for 4 yards
Unfortunately, the offensive line had another member go down today. Brandon Jones got accidentally piled onto during one of the plays, and didn't get up like everyone else did. Jones had to be helped off of the field, and did not return. Gabe Hall and Ofa Mohetau were both out of practice to heal their injuries today, and both are expected to return shortly. The line is not quite the unit that they can be with all of the players working together alongside their usual partners. Chris Olson has also been practicing through foot pains up until today as well, but took the day off to rest. Considering all of this, they did a pretty good job against a healthy defensive line.
It was all about Keyunta Dawson today, who recorded two sacks this afternoon. Keyunta is just extremely good at football, for those of you who didn't know. Tyler Yenzer also made a great pass deflection, and has showed impressive awareness as a Red Raider. Richard Jones also had an impressive TFL on Baron Batch. Seth Nitschmann is still hurt, but is moving around well. Perhaps he is being saved for the season as well. Still, with players like Dek Bake, Jake Ratliff, Ken Scott, and Tyler Yenzer stepping it up, the defensive line should be fine.
The linebackers did an incredible job shutting down the midrange passing game this afternoon, thanks to the play of Paul Williams, Kellen Tillman, Fletcher Session, and Brock Stratton. Sandy Riley recorded a sack with his pressure as well. Chad Hill and Brent Slaughter are doing a good job defending the outsides against the running of Baron Batch, Kobey Lewis, and Shannon Woods.
Marcus Bunton is having many great Fall practices, and is progressing very well. Bunton is undoubtedly the best player on the team at jamming the receivers at the line, and is seriously pushing for some playing time. Chris Parker was out once again, which kind of surprises me. Hopefully this means that the coaches believe he has enough of a grasp of the defense that practice will not benefit him that much. Blake Collier continues to improve. Antonio Huffman had a touchdown-saving deflection on some phenomenal coverage today. The unit has the speed to be something truly special.
Now lets hand out some awards:
Best Overall Unit:
Best Individual Performance: