Competition Sparks Heated Practice

<b>LUBBOCK</b>--The sun was bright during Sunday morning's practice, but it didn't stop the <b>Texas Tech</b> receivers from catching the ball.<p><br> <b>AUGUST 4TH MORNING PRACTICE REPORT</b>

Mickey Peters, Carlos Francis and Wes Welker, who all snagged 50+ receptions last season, were impressive during pass-catching drills.

Whether it was an over-the-head grab or a simple out pattern, all three receivers were very sharp. Even with the recent talent influx at receiver, this trio dominated and their practice intensity speaks volumes about how to prepare for the upcoming 2002 season.

Thomas Bachman continued to shine. His effort and concentration often allowed him to race several more yards after the catch, especially during the 7-on-7 drills where he took one the distance.

Anton Paige and Joey Hawkins both proved to be effective possession receivers by catching tough passes during 11-on-11. Armon Dorrough looked light on his feet and was able to snare several acrobatic catches.

The quarterbacks had a solid outing as well, despite throwing several interceptions. Sonny Cumbie's arm strength looked better than last season and he was very accurate with his passes during drills.

Kliff Kingsbury looked confident during the drills, but many times he was forced to go to his fourth receiver. He also eased Tech fans' fears with several deep balls and frequent passes to Paige.

Back-up quarterback B.J. Symons' passes were tight spirals and hard thrown balls, but he was intercepted by linebacker Joe Norman during 7-on-7.

The running backs competing for the sole starting position all established strong cases. Foy Munlin's hustle is unsurpassed on the team, and one play saw him bull-dozing his high-stepping legs through the entire defense for a nice double-digit yard gain.

It must be noted that the defense is not allowed to tackle yet, but Munlin refuses to be arm-tackled by any defense.

On another play, Taurean Henderson swivel-hipped his way through several defenders who couldn't have tackled him even if they were allowed to. Knatt-like Johnnie Mack broke one loose, but he also put the ball on the ground once. Loliki Bongo-Wanga displayed nice hands with a finger-tip pass 12 yards down field and then successfully juked the first defender.

The offensive line played well and allowed little quarterback pressure. Injured early Saturday, All-America candidate Rex Richards worked out on the bicycle and stretched during practice. The injury is to his shoulder, but it doesn't appear that it will keep him from practice too much longer.

The defensive line showed a lot of enthusiasm during the morning practice. All-America defensive end Aaron Hunt plagued the offensive backfield during 11-on-11. On one play in particular, 349-pound defensive tackle Fred Thwreatt impressed by forcing Symons to leave the pocket.

However, another play by backup defensive end and pass-rushing enthusiast Adell Duckett, garnered unwanted attention from the coaches.

As he beat his man around the corner, Duckett instinctively slapped Kingsbury's arm and caused a fumble. Kingsbury appeared unharmed by the play, but Duckett received quite a verbal lashing from Coach Leach and others for hitting the Heisman candidate's passing arm during a throw.

Tower-like defensive tackle Clayton Harmon did not appear hindered from his off-season shoulder surgery. In fact, he required two offensive linemen on just about every play, which allowed Hunt and the linebackers to find the ball faster.

Middle linebacker and last season's Big XII-leading tackler, Lawrence Flugence seemed determined to have a stellar senior season, which was evidenced by his body flying around the field and looking a step quicker than last season.

Redshirt freshman John Saldi used his 6'5 height to swat down a pass on one play. Backup cornerback Damian Chandler provided consistent man-to-man coverage during drills today, giving Tech's secondary another viable cornerback. Byron Johnson started at free safety, eluding competition from speedster Tory Mitchell, who remains absent due to a family issue.

Strong safety Ryan Aycock appears to be very frustrated by the temporary no-tackling policy. On several occasions, he was perfectly positioned to tattoo a receiver.

On one play in particular, Paige grabbed a 20-yard pass over the middle. As soon as he saw the ball into his hands, Paige looked up only to see what everybody else on the field saw----Aycock only an ounce of discretion away from decleating him.

Junior college transfer safeties Josh Rangel and Raymond Pierce were suited up today. Both have good size, but neither received enough repetitions to determine whether Johnson's free safety position is in danger, yet.

Several incoming recruits played well. Running back Vincent Meeks, from Rockwall, disproved rumors of his small stature. He is one of the bigger running backs on the roster, standing at 5'11, with a good frame.

The two flanker receivers signed, Joel Filani and Jarrett Hicks, are sure to add size to the Raider's receiving corps. Both can be easily sighted since each stands 6'3. Ken Ross appeared recovered from his groin injury last season. He was participating in drills with the running backs.


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