Graham Harrell had an outstanding spring game, even with the two interceptions that he did throw. Harrell looked poised and confident, putting serious distance between himself and back-up Taylor Potts. Harrell was quick with his decision making and did an outstanding job of hitting every receiving position, regardless of where they were lined up on the field. Harrell's biggest error of the day was a slight overthrow of a wide open Michael Crabtree in the end zone but other than that, a nearly flawless day for the red shirt junior from Ennis.
Taylor Potts didn't necessarily have a bad day but he certainly didn't have his best day of practice during the Spring Game. Potts looked confused at times and his reads seemed about a half of a second slow and this lead to him being intercepted on three separate occasions. Potts did, ironically, start the scrimmage for both the first and second halves but he was seriously out preformed by Graham Harrell, particularly in the first half. Potts is going to need the game experience from the next two seasons before he is a legitimate D-1 starting quarterback but he showed flashes today that he is capable of becoming a terrific quarterback.
Steven Sheffield did play for a very small portion of the fourth quarter but it seems that the pecking order has been set unless some unforeseen change happens. Sheffield was slow on his reads and also threw an interception that certainly could have been run back for a touchdown by the defense had the play not been blown dead. Sheffield needs to continue to learn and master the Air Raid if he wants to see the field during his time here at Texas Tech.
Quarterback Depth Chart
Starter: Graham Harrell
Back-Up: Taylor Potts
3rd String: Steven Sheffield
Overall Grade - A-/B+, the quarterbacks were good today and did an outstanding job with their ball placement. While between the three of them they were intercepted 6 times, four of those are attributed to the back-ups. All in all, a very encouraging day for the quarterbacks.
Running Backs :
The running backs had a quiet day, mostly because of the dominating presence of the defensive line. Shannon Woods had a very quiet day and was held almost completely in check by the SWARM defense. Woods did have a few clutch runs but he was kept from having any large impact and while to those who haven't seen Woods during the course of a real game this might be disturbing, Woods showed what he could do last season.
Kobey Lewis had a quiet day as well but did manage to score a rushing touchdown in addition to several decent sized gains on the day. Lewis did also show outstanding awareness and pass blocking throughout the scrimmage with no hesitation to man up and hit anyone attempting to get to the quarterback
Ryan Hayes, the scout team running back, did have a fairly good day today and scored a rushing touchdown in addition to several decent length runs. While it is unclear at this time if Hayes will be able to play next season with some of the incoming talent, his heart and desire are certainly to be commended.
Running Backs Depth Chart
Starter: Shannon Woods
Back Up: Kobey Lewis
Overall Grade - B-, the backs were held in check during today's practice and had very little impact in moving the football down the field.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends :
The wide receivers had a good day, even though several players had buttery hands at points during the scrimmage. Michael Crabtree and Eddie Britton were the best receivers of the day with Crabtree taking a screen pass to the house and Britton taking a deep post in double coverage all the way to the end zone. Britton out preformed his competition in LA Reed by far at the X receiving position and continues to push for significant playing time during the 2007 season. Michael Crabtree, in addition to scoring on a long screen pass, also had another long screen reception and a terrific run after the catch in the second quarter. Crabtree continues to have very soft hands and is capable of making the tough catch and taking almost any pass to the house. Lyle Leong had a good day and continues to impress, broken hand and all. Leong needs to add some serious weight to his skinny frame before he is ready for Big XII frame but his route running and leaping ability are very polished, as is his catching. While great receiving is difficult to add, the needed twenty pounds of weight should be no problem for Coach Wylie and the strength and conditioning staff.
The Y receivers had a difficult early portion of the Red and Black game. Adrian Reese had what seemed to be a catch knocked from his grasp by a bone jarring hit from Julius Howard and was then well over thrown later in the first quarter. Danny Amendola dropped a ball on one play and then on the consecutive play fumbled the ball as he was running down field and the defense recovered. Both Amendola and Reese recovered well and showed no signs of struggle after the early portions of the game. Reese reeled in a long pass down the East sideline and rumbled down the field for an impressive gain. Reese is certainly not a graceful runner but he has the foot speed to be dangerous if left alone on a sideline as he was today. Amendola reeled in one of his signature one-handed catches for a first down and played well the rest of the scrimmage.
Eric Morriss and Kelly Hildebrandt seemed to disappear at times during the scrimmage and while they didn't have many yards they did make a few impressive grabs. Morris looks like he could be a serious threat at running the end around, along with Edward Britton and Michael Crabtree.
Receiver Depth Chart -
Z- Michael Crabtree, Eddie Britton, Lyle Leong, Landon Hoefer
Y- Danny Amendola, G. Walker
H- Eric Morris, Kelly Hildebrant
X- LA Reed, Eddie Britton, Brik Brinker (Todd Walker, injured)
Overall Grade -
Offensive Line :
The offensive line looked good for spurts but had difficulty blowing the defensive line back when running the ball. Stephen Hamby continues to be the most important unknown player on the team and could be the most important find of the spring. Hamby is one of those hard working guys that doesn't say much but speaks extremely loud by the way that he plays. He and Shawn Byrnes work together flawlessly and Hamby continues to develop an excellent relationship with right tackle Rylan Reed.
Rylan Reed continues to play well throughout the spring but needs to continue to work in his explosion off of the ball, especially on running plays. Andrew Johnson is progressing well and should be a very capable back-up tackle with a little in-game seasoning.
Shawn Byrnes retuned to the game with a vengeance today and is going to be the best center since Toby Cecil and perhaps even better. Byrnes does an outstanding job of reading the defense and determining exactly where the rush is going to come from. It also seems that he makes it his personal responsibility to ensure that the quarterbacks have as much time to make their reads as possible. Justin Keown also continues to improve and is making a very rapid maturation and is learning every day. His work ethic is something to be envied and if he can add a little weight between the end of the spring and the start of the season he should be in good shape.
Louis Vasquez and Chris Olson spend the most time at left guard of anyone and both are very good. There is very little drop off when Olson is in the game, which speaks volumes to both his talent and the outstanding coaching he is receiving from Coach Bicknell and Louis himself.
Marlon Winn is proving not only to be a very funny player but also a talented left tackle. Winn still needs additional in game seasoning but is certainly capable playing at left tackle at a very high level. Louis Vasquez also continues to see time at left tackle and could quite conceivably start at either tackle or guard next year, depending on the needs of the team. Not only is his size an asset but his quickness is under-rated and without an injury slowing him down like last year, he can play left tackle quite well.
Offensive Line Depth Chart -
Right Tackle: Rylan Reed, Andrew Johnson
Right Guard: Brandon Carter (Injured), Stephen Hamby
Center: Shawn Byrnes, Justin Keown
Left Guard: Louis Vasquez, Stephen Hamby
Left Tackle: Marlon Winn, Chris Olson
Overall Grade - B+ pass blocking, C run blocking. Good day against the rush even though they did give up some sacks. Run blocking left something to be desired but that will be developed once two-a-days roll around during the summer.
Defensive Line :
Sandy Riley, Brandon Williams, Jake Ratliff, Phillip Jones, and Tyler Yenzer all had outstanding days on the defensive line. Yenzer had the best day out of the bunch and finally showed some of the first and explosion that he had during high school. Williams and Riley showed off terrific pass rush abilities and while Riley is not yet a great run-stopper, he can certainly contribute on passing downs next season.
The defensive tackles didn't make many tackles today but did an outstanding job of plugging up the middle and allowing the linebackers to do their job unimpeded.
Overall Grade - A+, a dominating effort with all cylinders on the line firing at full speed. Definitely a group that played with a chip on their shoulder and should certainly surprise some people with their level of play next season.
The linebackers had a good day but it was all about Julius Howard. Howard knocked one ball away from Adrian Reese with a bone-crushing hit, forced Reese to fumble during the third quarter, picked up the fumble he caused and nearly scored. Then, not to be outdone, on the very next play Howard almost one-handed an interception. Howard had his breakout game and looked terrific during his playing time. Blake Collier also had a good day and looked ready to contribute at the Big XII level next season. Kellen Tillman and Paul Williams continue to have a quiet day but they have already proven that they can be playmakers on the field. Marlon Williams also had a quiet day but based on his previous performance looks ready to contribute a lot next season.
Linebackers Depth Chart
Weak Side Linebacker: Marlon Williams, Blake Collier, Julius Howard
Strong Side Linebacker: Kellen Tillman, Ty Linder, Brian Duncan
Overall Grade -A, the linebackers were making plays against the run, the pass, and rushing the quarterback, a very productive day
Nathan Stone, LaShawn Vation, and Pete Richardson all recorded interceptions returned for touchdowns while De'Shon Sanders also recorded an interception off of a Joe Garcia deflection. The cornerbacks had a great day covering the receivers while safeties were laying the wood at every opportunity. Lance Fuller had several nice tackles but needs to be more consistent in his coverage ability before he can be trusted on the field. Anthony Hines continues to see the field in passing situations and this seems to show a full recovery from his injury during the off-season last year and confidence in his coverage abilities. While Hines is by far the heaviest safety on the roster, he moves extremely well and is a dangerous force in open space.
Darcel McBath had a good day and continues to show his leadership as the quarterback of the secondary. His partner in crime Joe Garcia is improving in his ability to cover receivers and read routes, shown by a leaping pass deflection that led to an interception by De'Shon Sanders. Jamar Wall was not thrown at very often today and looks like he could be the best corner on the team, hands down, with more game experience to go with his great natural talent.
Secondary Depth Chart -
Free Safety: Darcel McBath, Daniel Charbonnet/Lance Fuller, Jordy Rowland
Strong Safety: Joe Garcia, Anthony Hines, Daniel Charbonnet
Left Cornerback: Jamar Wall, Pete Richardson/LaRon Moore
Overall Grade - A-, while they did a good job today the secondary did allow a few long passes and needs to continue to improve their ability to play the screen to be the most effective unit that they can be.
Now it's time for some awards
Offensive MVP: Graham Harrell
Defensive MVP: Tyler Yenzer
Mr. Underrated: Julius Howard
New Comer of the Day: Ryan Hayes
Unit of the day: Linebackers
Come back Monday for the final RaiderPower Practice report!