Graham Harrell continues to be the most impressive quarterback on the Texas Tech roster by far. A lightning quick release and very good arm strength are easily complimented by his ability to get the ball down the field when it needs to go in that direction. Harrell also seems to have a little Kliff Kingsbury in him as he audibles out of plays depending on what the defense is doing. Graham continues to be the offensive leader and his steady hand should help ease the transition to many new starters.
Taylor Potts had a solid day of practice and looked in a direction other than that of fellow Abilene product Lyle Leong during practice today. Potts continues to throw the ball to the safety player when pressured and seems reluctant to make some of the more difficult throws that an Air Raid quarterback is called upon to make. With more time in the system and game experience, Potts should be able to develop the needed confidence in himself to make any throw imaginable.
Stefan Loucks is still skinny, Steven Sheffield is still tall, and walk on Bobby Scott is still quiet. The three players each spent time with the scout team today and while it is certainly true that Steven Sheffield has more time in system than the other three quarterbacks, that experience isn't enough to get him off of the scout team.
Quarterback Depth Chart
Starter: Graham Harrell
Back-Up: Taylor Potts
3rd String: Steven Sheffield
Scout Team: Stefan Loucks/Bobby Scott
Overall Grade - B+
Today is another day without a whole lot new to report from the running backs, primarily because of the lack of shoulder pads. When the players do strap on the pads for the first time tomorrow Red Raider fans should be able to get a better idea of exactly how good each player is. Shannon Woods and Kobey Lewis continue to see time with the first team offense and each player brings their own distinctive style to the position. Baron Batch practiced again today and looked good for the most part, excluding one botched handoff between he and quarterback Graham Harrell.
Of the two freshmen running backs, Aaron Crawford looks, at least physically, more ready to play than Jared Flannel. Flannel has a small lower body and it doesn't seem that he would have the power or endurance needed to be an effective running back for the Red Raiders.
Running Backs Depth Chart
Starter: Shannon Woods
Back Up: Kobey Lewis/Baron Batch
Scout Team: Ryan Hayes, Jared Flannel, Aaron Crawford
Overall Grade - B
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
As mentioned in Quick Hits, LA Reed continues to have an outstanding fall practice. Reed is easily the best of the candidates at the X receiving position and could challenge red shirt freshman Michael Crabtree for the title of best receiver on the entire team. He continues to play hard until the whistle is blown and seems to have finally gotten everything to work together when he is on the field. Ed Britton is another player that is having a solid camp, although he continues to have to many drops for Head Coach Mike Leach's taste.
Danny Amendola, Eric Morris, Grant Walker, and Adam James all had productive practices. Amendola is becoming more and more consistent while EMo continues to be incredibly difficult for the defense to account for. Grant Walker seems to be doing his best to bring fame to the Walker name while his younger brother is out with an injury. Grant spends most of his time at the Y receiving position but has taken a few snaps at H just as part of a contingency plan. Adam James is now sporting the number 87 and looks to have added more weight to his frame in the off season. James is seeing time more at H and Big Y than as a blocking back like David Schaefer.
The new receivers are all beginning to show flashes of greatness but each one has a different area that needs improvement. Rashad Hawk has great height but needs to add weight and work on his technique. Jacoby Franks was described by someone close to the program as "another baby moose" who has great potential but needs to continue to refine himself to be as good as he can be. Detron Lewis and Tramain Swindall are alternating days with the starting offense at the H receiver position. It seems that the coaching staff is attempting to see which of these players will best fit in at these positions. It is possible that both will see playing time in the fall with Swindall working at Y and Detron working at H.
Receiver Depth Chart -
Z- Michael Crabtree, Eddie Britton, Landon Hoefer
Y- Danny Amendola, G. Walker
H- Eric Morris, Tramain Swindall/Detron Lewis
X- LA Reed, Eddie Britton Lyle Leong, Brik Brinker (Todd Walker, injured)
Overall Grade - A-
The offensive line had another good day and contrary to what many believed, Brandon Carter moves just fine. Carter is at times more offensive than he is linemen but he does a tremendous job not only at run blocking and protecting quarterback Graham Harrell but he is also a big part of the calls that are made at the line of scrimmage. The other part of the line calls comes from center Shawn Byrnes who has had the most impressive growth from the end of spring to the beginning of summer and continues to be an extremely talented blocked and very mobile down the field on screens. Marlon Winn is enjoying his transition to guard and even said that"[playing] guard is incredible" when asked about the change from left tackle. Winn seems to be very natural at left guard and his explosion off the line is a big reason for his success.
Tackles Rylan Reed and Louis Vasquez do not enjoy talking to the media and as long as they are as capable as they seem to be, no one is going to begrudge them their silence. Vasquez is looking for redemption after a terrible showing at left tackle in the Missouri game last season and seems to have found it. His tremendous acceleration and strength make him a natural for taking on the quick rush ends in the Big XII. Rylan Reed is not only a weight room warrior but is also a dangerous right tackle. Strong as an ox and incredibly intelligent, Reed should be able to replace the loss of two year starter Gabe Hall and do so well enough that few people will notice. Reed's great wingspan is a huge asset and he used it to his advantage today in practice as he repeatedly held off defensive linemen and linebackers.
Lonnie Edwards has moved into the two deep, at least for today, at left guard. The young Brownsboro product looks to be ready to contribute early and often for the Red Raiders but will have to beat out an improving Adrian Archie for the right to play. The other freshmen linemen spent most of their day with the scout team, although Mickey Okafor could still see time if needed.
Offensive Line Depth Chart -
Right Tackle: Rylan Reed, Jake Johnson
Right Guard: Brandon Carter , Stephen Hamby
Center: Shawn Byrnes, Justin Keown
Left Guard: Marlon Winn, Adrian Archie/Lonnie Edwards
Left Tackle: Louis Vasquez, Chris Olson
Overall Grade - B+
The defensive line continues to show off their speed and acceleration during practice. It is difficult to gage any real progress or make any difference between players without the pads on but so far, everyone on the defensive line seems to be working very hard. Clint "Turbo" Stoffels seems to have worked his way into contention for the starting nose tackle position along with Richard Jones and freshman Colby Whitlock. Whitlock closely resembles former Texas Tech defensive tackle Chris Hudler (who hung up his pads and picked up a whistle).
The defensive ends are a group that has more players than places on the field for them to play. Jake Ratliff seems to be entrenched as the starter at left end but the right end position still seems to be up in the air between Tyler Yenzer and Brandon Williams. Sandy Riley is also going to make a push for playing time as he continues to show off his pass rushing prowess. Phillip Jones continues to go quietly about his work and doing everything that he is asked to do. He and Ratliff seem to be kindred spirits and when Ratliff comes out of practice, there is little to no drop off as Jones steps in.
Transfer defensive ends Daniel Howard and Brandon Sharpe are also making a favorable impression and help off set the loss of Sean Estelle due to an injury to his lower right leg. Sharpe has shown a tremendous work ethic off of the field as he needed to accumulate more than 20 hours to become eligible to play for the Red Raiders. That same work ethic seems to have come with him to the field and it should be interesting to watch him during pass rush drills once the pads are put on.
Overall Grade - B
An interesting day for the linebackers as Chad Hill only warmed up with the team and then sat out the rest of practice. This is hopefully only a temporary situation but in his place several players have stepped up their game. Marlon Williams continues to be an excellent linebacker and plays sideline to sideline and from whistle to whistle. Paul Williams and Kellen Tillman were both their well known selves during practice today, although it seems as if Kellen Tillman has become a more capable defender of the pass since the beginning of last season.
An interesting development during today's practice was the switching of Julius Howard and Blake Collier on the depth chart. Howard had a coming out party during the Red and Black game and it seems that he doesn't want that to be his only claim to fame. Howard is incredibly fast and showed on several occasions today that he has what it takes to be an extremely good weak side linebacker.
Tyrone Sonier, Sam Fehoko, and Bront Bird continue to spend their time with the scout team but these three could become outstanding players if the flashes they show during practice hold true. Fehoko in particular plays with the same sort of reckless abandon that allows his fellow Hawaiians to surf some of the most dangerous waters in the world. Fehoko may line up as the middle linebacker at the snap of the ball but before the play is over he will find himself where ever the ball is and most likely be involved in the play.
Linebackers Depth Chart
Weak Side Linebacker: Marlon Williams, Julius Howard, Blake Collier, Chad Hill (injured)
Strong Side Linebacker: Kellen Tillman, Ty Linder, Brian Duncan (Injured)
Overall Grade - B+
The secondary didn't have as good of a day today as they did yesterday but it seemed that every time a coin was flipped it was destined to come up offense during practice today. Jamar Wall and LaRon Moore both had nice deflections today and Chris Parker continues to show fans that his absence during the spring has not rusted his skills any. Marcus Bunton and Pete Richardson help to prove that the transition from running back to corner back can be a natural and highly productive one. Brent Nickerson had a quiet day but still has the physical tools needed to be a great corner, he just needs the mental aspect to go along with it. Taylor Charbonnet was repeatedly victimized by red shirt junior wide receiver LA Reed during 7 on 7 drills. Charbonnet showed heart that he kept at it and with more time and seasoning should be able to hold his own against the larger receivers.
Darcel McBath and Joe Garcia both had quiet days but their back ups were very active. Daniel Charbonnet had a particularly impressive pass break-up against Michael Crabtree that prevented a sure touchdown while Anthony Hines nearly threw tight end Adrian Reese out of his way as he went to make a play against a screen. Lance Fuller had another quiet practice but his versatility makes him a valuable luxury to have around.
Secondary Depth Chart -
Right Cornerback: Chris Parker, Marcus Bunton, Brent Nickerson, De'Shon Sanders
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 - B+
Punter-gate 2007 seems to be non-existent and there will be no more adds for students to come and punt for the Red Raiders. Jonathan Lacour has a strong leg, and while he might not be quite as good as Alex Reyes, he is pretty close to it.
Offensive MVP: LA Reed
Defensive MVP: Kellen Tillman
Mr. Underrated: Daniel Charbonnet
New Comer of the Day: Lonnie Edwards