Thursday Practice Report

The pads were on and the intensity was up as the Red Raiders continue their march to SMU. RaiderPower is your source for Texas Tech practice reports, so come inside for the August 9th edition, including in-depth analysis of each position group, awards, and predictions as to which of the younger players will red shirt and who will see the field this year.


Quarterback

Graham Harrell is going to make covering him extremely boring for fall practice. Harrell continues to be nearly perfect in his execution and his reads during practice. Harrell seems to have found the right setting for his head and his arm, making him more dangerous than he has ever been. He also combines this with his intelligence which allows him to notice many of the blitzes and plays that the defense is trying to run.

Taylor Potts had a bit of an off day today as he had difficulty in throwing the ball down the field and making the correct read during the pass skeleton drills. Potts also threw an interception to back up middle linebacker Victor Hunter on a poorly thrown pass. Potts has all the tools to be a great quarterback, he just doesn't quite have the mental angle to go along with it.

Very little to report from the other three quarterbacks as they all spent their day with the scout team. Stephen Sheffield did spend a small portion of practice in the 11 on 11 drills and acquitted himself well. Loucks and Bobby Scott were both with the scout team and continue to provide depth at the quarterback position.

Quarterback Depth Chart

Starter: Graham Harrell

Back-Up: Taylor Potts

3rd String: Steven Sheffield

Scout Team: Stefan Loucks/Bobby Scott

Overall Grade - A-
 

Running Backs

All of the running backs had a good day but Shannon Woods and Kobey Lewis had particularly good days and seem to be developing themselves into a well-oiled tandem that should be able to give the Big XII defenses fits during the coming season. Woods had an especially good day as he ran hard and took defenders on at the point of attack to finish off his runs.

Aaron Crawford and Jared Flannel both spent most of the day with the scout team but Crawford did see a small portion of action in the 11 on 11 drills nearing the end of practice. Aaron showed off great hands as he made a difficult one-handed catch and ran the ball extremely hard. Flannel looks like he is going to need a red shirt year before he is ready for Big XII play. There is also a chance that he is moved to cornerback since there is a bit of a logjam at running back at the moment.

Running Backs Depth Chart

Starter: Shannon Woods

Back Up: Kobey Lewis/Baron Batch

Scout Team: Ryan Hayes, Jared Flannel, Aaron Crawford Overall Grade - A-
 

Wide Receivers/Big H/Y

The wide receivers had a few more drops than they should have had but overall they had an outstanding day of catching the football. Eddie Britton made a terrific catch in one on one drills at the front pylon of the end zone and then made a similarly spectacular catch during 11 on 11 red zone drills. LA Reed continues to be extremely powerful and consistent as a receiver as he proves all of his critics wrong. Reed should be in position to dominate in the coming season. Michael Crabtree had an outstanding and a not so outstanding day at the same time. He made several jaw-dropping catches and then dropped several passes that would have kept a drive alive.

Danny Amendola and Eric Morris both had good days from the slot and continue to wreak havoc on the Texas Tech defense. They are both shorter than the average receiver but make up for it with great acceleration and a knack for making the difficult catch. Morris had a very nice catch on the far sideline at practice today and held onto the ball despite taking a punishing hit from the defensive secondary.

Detron Lewis spent another day at H receiver while Tramain Swindall has been moved back to the Y receiver position, where he worked for most of the summer. It seems a forgone conclusion that Jacoby Franks and Rashad Hawk will spend the 2007 season red shirting unless something unforeseen occurs in the next 10 days of practice. Both are talented but seem to be currently stuck at the bottom of the depth chart due to the talent and experience ahead of them.

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 - B
 

Offensive Line

The Red Raiders offensive line continues to gel and become a very effective unit. There was a slight scare today when Marlon Winn came off the field with an injury to his left hand but it turned out to be nothing more serious than a dislocated left pinky finger. Brandon Carter showed off great quickness and straight line speed today as he sprinted down field on a screen to open a hole for running back Kobey Lewis. Carter and Shawn Byrnes seem to do the best job of getting down the field and blocking on screens and draws. These two also seem to be the closest of the linemen and form a near impenetrable wall in the middle of the line.

Rylan Reed and Louis Vasquez continue to be true book ends on the right and left side of the offensive line. Reed had a slight scare when senior linebacker Taylor Read knocked his legs out from under him and Rylan was slow to get up. He did come back the next play and kept playing no worse for the wear. Vasquez is hard to notice in practice and this trend continued today. He seems to have dropped a little weight and worked on his quickness and agility which makes him that much better of a left tackle. If he can continue playing at a high level Graham Harrell should have fewer of the bone-jarring hits he suffered last season to concern himself with.

Lonnie Edwards was once again in the two deep playing at left guard. He looks to be built very similar to former Texas Tech offensive lineman EJ Whitley. His versatility has allowed him to play several positions across the line and with time he will only become better. The other freshmen spent the day with the scout team and seem to have found positions that suit their skills.

Offensive Line Depth Chart -

Right Tackle: Rylan Reed, Jake Johnson, Mickey Okafor

Right Guard: Brandon Carter , Stephen Hamby, Dominique Delpeche

Center: Shawn Byrnes, Justin Keown, Blake Emert

Left Guard: Marlon Winn, Adrian Archie/Lonnie Edwards, Landon Burge

Left Tackle: Louis Vasquez, Chris Olson, Jerrod Gooch

Overall Grade - A-
 

Defensive Line

With the pads strapped on the defensive line seems to have turned their intensity up a notch. There were several good hits but young Clint Stoffels has so far been the most impressive of the interior linemen followed closely by Rajon Henley. While both of them are undersized for their positions they offset their small stature with great explosion off of the line. Richard Jones and Brian Jones are both showing flashes and playing consistently well when they are in the scrimmage. These two should be the most effective run stoppers on the Red Raiders roster and provide a little more "beef" in the middle against teams that like to run the ball.

The defensive ends had a good day against the run and pressured the quarterbacks but didn't actually sack any of them. It seems that Coach Ruffin McNeil is determined to force feed Tyler Yenzer the rush end position while keeping promising young defensive end Brandon Williams on the second team. Yenzer seems to be more suited to play on the strong side but is at the weak side for the foreseeable future. Phillip Jones saw his first snaps at the rush end position today and showed off a quick burst along with a good first step but his skills seem more likely to put him on the strong side then the weak side. Sandy Riley is the resident Tasmanian Devil as he spins like a top to get pressure on the quarterback, much like a highly paid Indianapolis Colts defensive end.

Brandon Sharpe was the most impressive of the two transfer ends as he showed off very good strength and quickness. Sharpe seems to be picking up the defense faster than fellow transfer Daniel Howard

Overall Grade - B+
 

Linebackers

Chad Hill practiced with the starters for the first time today but did so only for brief stints during practice. In his absence Marlon Williams is the starter and continues to acquit himself extremely well at this position. Paul Williams had several good hits during practice as did fellow senior linebacker Kellen Tillman. These two should help instill fear in any receiver that is going across the middle during a game.

Blake Collier and Julius Howard continue to alternate turns with the second team at weak side linebacker with Howard being slightly more physical than Collier and Collier being slightly faster. These two could easily find themselves distinct roles with the Red Raiders during the coming season. Victor Hunter had his first interception of fall practice off of a Taylor Potts pass and showed off once again today that his weight shouldn't be an issue when it comes to making plays against the passing game.

Bird, Fehoko, and Sonier spent their day with the scout team and each one had their own flashes of genius during practice. It is still extremely likely that all three of these players will red shirt for the coming season.

Linebackers Depth Chart

Weak Side Linebacker: Marlon Williams, Julius Howard, Blake Collier, Chad Hill (injured)

Middle Linebacker: Paul Williams, Victor Hunter/Marlon Williams, Ryan Hale

Strong Side Linebacker: Kellen Tillman, Ty Linder, Brian Duncan (Injured)

Overall Grade - B+
 

Secondary

Redemption was sweet for the secondary after a slightly off day yesterday. There was great coverage from several players and Jamar Wall and Chris Parker showed off their skills as they make their bid for best cornerback tandem in the Big XII. Joe Garcia still isn't the best in pass coverage but his run stopping skills combined with Darcel McBath's pass coverage make the two of them a very good team and they rub off on each other to make the other one better.

Brent Nickerson and De'Shon Sanders both had quiet days as did the rest of the secondary's younger players. There were very few flashy plays and instead a lot of what Coach Leach likes to see, "routine plays".

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+
 

Awards

Offensive MVP: Shannon Woods

Defensive MVP: Jamar Wall

Mr. Underrated: Clint Stoffels

New Comer of the Day: Sam Fehoko

Come back tomorrow for the next RaiderPower Practice report!


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