Graham Harrell had a particularly good day completing nearly every pass he threw with the exception of one that was much too tall for Michael Crabtree and another that slipped out of his hand. Harrell did fumble the snap on two separate occasions but rebounded well and overall had a good day of practice. Ryan Rowland looked very calm and much like a senior should, leading by example. He made good decisions and proved to be good at disguising his cadence during practice when he felt so inclined. Sheffield had the most difficulty but he is still young and will have a chance to grow into his role within the Red Raiders offense. He threw a particularly nice pass to Michael Crabtree in the back of the end zone that flew past nearly the entire scout team defense without being touched, showing some serious power and aim with that pass.
Quarterback Depth Chart
Starter: Graham Harrell
Back-Up: Ryan Rowland
3rd String: Steven Sheffield
Scout Team: Taylor Potts
Overall Grade - B+, while they had a good day, consistency leaves a little to be desired.
Running Backs : Kobey Lewis has a new nickname, and it is show stopper. Lewis showed incredibly acceleration and agility while scoring multiple touchdowns highlighted by a 50 yard touchdown scamper. He seems to be developing into a terrific scat back and showed today that if he needs to he is capable of stepping in and playing well for the Red Raiders. Shannon Woods had a productive day and had several long runs but wasn't hitting the hole quite as fast or hard as Kobey. Shannon was doing a better job receiving out of the backfield and did an excellent job setting up shovel passes that were thrown in his direction. Shannon and Kobey both proved to be very capable pass blockers and did an admirable job at picking up the blitz when defenders made it into the backfield. Baron Batch did not practice and there seem to be some lingering concerns about his ankle but he was moving around at practice without a brace or any "hitch in his giddy up."
Running Backs Depth Chart
Starter: Shannon Woods
Back Up: Kobey Lewis
Overall Grade -A, pass blocking, receiving, and running lane decisions were all on target. All in all a great day for the backs.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends : The wide receivers were good but didn't seem to all be on the same page. While there were several great individual efforts, especially those by Michael Crabtree, as a unit they were not very effective. There were a few drops but routes were run extremely clean and precise. If the receivers can show the same attention to detail with their catching ability that they show to running routes the Red Raiders will be in good shape. Michael Crabtree had by far the best day receiving and this was punctuated by a very nice reception in the right corner of the end zone over the defender, Brent Nickerson. Danny Amendola spent most of practice at the Y inside receiver position and while it is unclear if this is a permanent move, he did excel and showed very soft hands. Adrian Reese showed good hands early in practice but did suffer a minor ankle injury early in practice and was held out for precautionary reasons. Eric Morriss proved to be elusive as always and Adam James and David Scahefer both proved to be outstanding blockers leading the running backs through the hole. Lyle Leong made his debut and while a talented receiver he is still in need of some increased bulk to be ready for the rigors of Big XII play. Kelly Hildebrandt had a good day receiving and is making the most of his recently granted scholarship.
Todd Walker did not participate and LA Reed only played sparingly, their injury status is unknown but neither seemed to have anything wrong with them that could be seen at practice.
Receiver Depth Chart -
Z- Crabtree, Britton
Y- Amendola, G. Walker (LA Reed, injured)
H- Eric Morris, Kelly Hildebrant
X- Lyle Leong, Brik Brinker (Todd Walker, injured)
Overall Grade - C+, while there were several good individual performances the receivers were not playing together well and few of the receivers showcased what was once a proud tradition of the receiving corps and that is downfield blocking.
Offensive Line : The offensive line had perhaps the best day of any group in practice. Opening massive holes and showing that the starters were dominant pass blockers, the groups great was highlighted by that of center Shawn Byrnes. Byrnes made all of the line calls and rarely made a mistake and helped lead the line to a dominant performance. The entire line, both first and second string showed very good footwork and extremely solid technique, accentuated by the large holes the running backs had and the large, clean pockets that the quarterbacks had. A young up and comer is back up left tackle Chris Olson who had the best day of any of the second string linemen, especially in one-on-one drills. He is explosive off the line and a very capable pass blocker who needs only game experience to be ready to help the team if called upon. The line gave up no sacks and no tackles for loss during the 11-on-11 portion of practice.
Offensive Line Depth Chart -
Right Guard: Josh Aleman
Center: Shawn Byrnes
Left Guard: Louis Vasquez, Stephen Hamby
Left Tackle: Marlon Winn, Chris Olson
Overall Grade - A, great technique and terrific blocking. Not quite worthy of an A+ but certainly a very good day for the big men in the trenches.
Defensive Line : The defensive line spent the majority of practice working on technique and perfecting the different moves that will be utilized during games. Brian Jones, Richard Jones, Britton Barbee, and Clint Stoffels were seeing the most seeing the most time at the defensive tackle positions. Phillip Jones and Jake Ratliff were playing at strong side end while Brandon Williams and Sandy Riley were playing at the weak side. Brandon Williams had the best day rushing the passer during individual drills and showed off a very good spin move that had not been seen up to that point. Rajon Henley did not practice but it is believed that he was in class during practice.
Overall Grade - B-, the defensive line didn't spend much of practice playing with the rest of the team but did look good when going against each other. However, there was not enough time spent going up against the opposing offensive players to show how far along the line may have come.
Linebackers : The linebackers had a quietly productive day and showed off some serious speed. The starters were changed a little because Chad Hill was held out of practice but the group looked good none the less, particularly in pass coverage. However, there was very little hitting in practice since the players were not wearing pads but the line backers were in the right place at the right time to make the play. Victor Hunter continues to defy gravity with his speed and agility in the middle and did an outstanding job of corralling Shannon Woods for a short gain. The starters were crisp and the back ups were extremely athletic and made several good plays by themselves. There was no blitzing and instead today focused on ready the pass and making the play. As was reported by RaiderPower back in December, Blake Collier was practicing at the weak side linebacker position and looked incredibly fast from that position, running step for step with Eric Morriss and several other receivers, something that very few if any other linebacker on the team could do.
Linebackers Depth Chart
Overall Grade - B, outstanding day in pass coverage but not terrific in run coverage, the linebackers were very businesslike and did a good job of putting themselves in the right place at the right time.
Secondary : The secondary had by far the best day of any of the defensive units even with starter Chris Parker on the sidelines. Jamar Wall recorded a one handed interception that probably would have gone the other way for six points and was very close to two others. Wall continues to show that he has terrific body control and does an outstanding job using the sideline as an extra defender. Marcus Bunton saw additional time as a starting corner with Parker out and had several very good pass deflections. Daniel Charbonnet and Darcel McBath were the best safeties, both making several leaping break ups and all in all just being around the ball. The secondary seemed very excited to play and definitely had the most intensity during practice, including a small shoving match between Darcel McBath and Michael Crabtree. The secondary was doing an outstanding job of getting to the ball and showed some of the speed that fans have been clamoring for the last several seasons.
Secondary Depth Chart -
Right Cornerback: Marcus Bunton, Brent Nickerson
Free Safety: Darcel McBath, Daniel Charbonnet/Lance Fuller
Overall Grade - A+, outstanding day, terrific ball location, and just an all around terrific first day with the entire unit playing together and making every play that they could.
Now it's time for some awards
Offensive MVP: Michael Crabtree
Defensive MVP: The Secondary
Mr. Underrated: Chris Olson
New Comer of the Day: De'Shon Sanders
Unit of the day: Scout Team Offense/Defense for providing great competition for the scholarship players.
Come back on Friday for the next RaiderPower Spring 2007 practice report.