Graham Harrell once again had an outstanding day of practice and continues to look both poised and relaxed. It seems as if all of his reads are becoming second nature to him and he has no problem throwing the ball 50 yards down the field or 5 yards to a check-down receiver. He was criticized by Coach Leach for finding Danny Amendola open too late on a curl route but otherwise had a flawless day of practice.
Taylor Potts had a good day of practice but is still going to have to work harder to be able to step into a game if anything happens to Harrell. Potts showed off his strong arm and his need for improved accuracy as he overthrew Danny Amendola on a go route.
Bobby Scott, Stefan Loucks, and Steven Sheffield continue to man the scout team, taking all of the reps against the starting defense.
Quarterback Depth Chart
Starter: Graham Harrell
Back-Up: Taylor Potts
3rd String: Steven Sheffield
Scout Team: Stefan Loucks/Bobby Scott
Overall Grade - A
Kobey Lewis is becoming better and better with every snap he gets as he is still the starting running back, at least in practice. Lewis showed off several good juke moves today during practice along with soft hands and a knack for fitting through the smallest hole for a big gain.
Shannon Woods, Baron Batch, and Aaron Crawford seem to be splitting reps with the second team. Woods continues to look good but obviously isn't out of the dog house with Coach Leach yet. Batch still has problems catching the football at times but is a hard nosed runner with great finish to his runs. Aaron Crawford is the biggest question of the group because of his lack of experience at the college level. While he does run well with the football, his hands leave something to be desired and his pass blocking ability is an unknown that could be a serious concern.
Running Backs Depth Chart
Starter: Kobey Lewis
Back Up: Shannon Woods /Baron Batch/Aaron Crawford
Scout Team: Ryan Hayes, Jared Flannel Overall Grade - B+
Wide Receivers/Big H&Y:
Lyle Leong, Michael Crabtree, and LA Reed were the stars of today's show. Reed had his first drop of the spring on a pass that he laid out for but made up for it with several clutch catches later in practice. Crabtree had two drops on middle screens but also had several great catches in traffic and a near circus diving catch into the far corner of the end zone. Lyle Leong dominated today during one on one drills and it seemed that anytime the ball was thrown his direction he was catching it for a big gain. Look for Leong to be a threat near the red zone with his incredible leaping ability. Eddie Britton had another on again, off again day. He would make an outstanding catch one second and then drop an easy pass the next. If Britton can become more consistent he can seriously push LA Reed for playing time at the X receiver position.
Danny Amendola and Eric Morris both had quiet days. Neither had any terribly long passes completed to them but they were the reliable safety valve good for a first down whenever the offense needed one. Kelly Hildebrandt seems to have worked on his hands during the off season and could come up with a few big catches during the regular season. Grant Walker and Todd Walker continue to be sidelined with injuries, although the severity of the injury to Grant is unknown at this time. Detron Lewis is moving around well on what appears to be a strained hamstring and while he is out of practice fellow freshman Adam James is picking up the slack. James is larger than a typical H receiver, where he has been getting most of his reps, but his size hasn't affected his speed. It appears that the coaches are willing to give him a shot at that position for the time being and it could be a long term stay if James continues to produce as he has up to this point. Tramain Swindall had a quiet day today backing up Danny Amendola at the Y receiving position.
Adrian Reese had another fairly good day with no serious mistakes. Reese seems to be the type of player that once he gets a bad play into his mind, he continues to let it build and build until it is the size of a mountain. If Reese can learn to put his mistakes behind him he could easily dominate as a red zone threat
Jacoby Franks and Rashad Hawk appear to have been set into the pile to be red shirted this coming season, even though they are making plays during practice. It seems that the coaching staff would prefer to use those two players to help accumulate depth at the wide receiver positions and are going to use them as scouts for the remainder of the year. Franks did have several great catches today during one on one drills and beat any corner that he was up against but is in need of more size before he is ready for the rigors of Big XII play.
Receiver Depth Chart -
Z- Michael Crabtree, Lyle Leong, Landon Hoefer
Y- Danny Amendola, G. Walker (Injured), Tramain Swindall
H- Eric Morris, Detron Lewis
X- LA Reed, Eddie Britton, Brik Brinker (Todd Walker, injured)
Overall Grade - A
Rylan Reed and Louis Vasquez are absolute mountains at the offensive tackle positions and seem to have made it their personal mission that no one has to correct the tackles for missed blocks this year. Neither player has made a significant mistake in days and their sheer size allows them to correct their mistakes fairly easily. Vasquez looks especially good as a left tackle and is making line coach Matt Moore look like a genius for switching out Vasquez and Winn. Jake Johnson continues to impress at practice and moves extremely well for a player that is above 370 pounds. He doesn't appear to be out of shape and looks like he is ready to contribute if he is needed. Chris Olson is developing but needs to continue to work on his speed and strength before he is ready to step in during a Big XII game and protect Graham Harrell's back side.
Brandon Carter continues to have outstanding practices as he shows off great strength and mobility, particularly on screens and draws. Look for Carter to be ready to play an entire game with ease this coming season and dominate those who line up across from him. Marlon Winn is becoming more and more capable at left guard, since moving inside from the tackle position. Winn explodes well off the ball and seems to enjoy the fact that he doesn't have to move as much as a left guard as he did at tackle. Winn also has a vicious nasty streak that he can turn on and off, which should help him as he faces off against Big XII competition. Stephen Hamby and Lonnie Edwards can both play left and right guard while Hamby can also play center in a pinch. Edwards has all the physical tools but has to get the mental aspect down before he is ready to see serious time on the offensive line.
Justin Keown looks to be excelling under the tutelage of both Shawn Byrnes and graduate assistant Brandon Jones. Speaking of Byrnes, he seems to have come along the most of the offensive linemen and is going to be an outstanding center in the mold of Toby Cecil.
All the freshman offensive linemen, excluding Lonnie Edwards, continue to spend their time with the scout team and are progressing in addition to being one of the largest and most talented scout lines in the Big XII. Look for the players that are currently red shirting to eventually form the core of the Red Raider offensive line for years to come.
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 :
Bobby Agoucha has joined fellow freshman Colby Whitlock in their departure from the scout team to working with the starting and back-up defensive tackles. These two are still raw but improvement can be seen during each practice. Agoucha is by far the stronger of the two while Whitlock continues to impress with his combination of speed and quickness. Clint Stoffels looks to have locked down the starting nose tackle position through sheer hard work and could become a fan favorite because of his quiet rise to the starting position. Rajon Henley continues to be exceedingly dangerous, especially when he has space in which to operate. The Jones boys (Richard and Brian) are both vicious hitters and it seems that Brian Jones is in position to finally put the injury bug behind him. Not only is he playing well but it seems that Coach McNeil is no longer having to ride him every play to ensure that he is doing things correctly.
The defensive ends may not have a bunch of standouts this season and may not have one player that has double digit sacks but as a unit they will terrorize the Big XII. There is great depth at each position and a desire to ensure that plays are made. Jake Ratliff continues to play well at the strong side end position while there is very little drop off in play when Phillip Jones enters the game. Jones is even more stout at the point of attack since he is slightly shorter and weighs around 10 pounds more than Ratliff. Tyler Yenzer continues to be good at everything but not great at either end position. He could be a tweener pass rusher this year or he could be a reserve strong side end. Sandy Riley and Brandon Williams are the most polished of the pass rushers while Brandon Sharpe is making a push to be included somewhere on the two deep this fall. Transfer Daniel Howard looks like a clone of Seth Nitschmann, not a great pass rusher but terrific against the run and a punishing tackler
Overall Grade - A+
Chad Hill practiced again today but it seems that he has lost his starting spot to sophomore Marlon Williams. Williams is slightly shorter and lighter than Hill but noticeably faster and better suited to play on the weak side than Hill. Paul Williams continues to show that Red Raider fans are in for a treat this year with a very active middle linebacker. Williams had several good plays during practice today including an outstanding tackle against a running play where he stepped past the offensive linemen to make the tackle. Kellen Tillman seems to have matured and is going to be a serious hitter this season as the strong side linebacker. Tillman could also end up as one of the teams captains because of his perseverance through two knee injuries and staying for his sixth year.
Blake Collier continues to receive additional work from defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich during practice to help him utilize his speed correctly. While it is nice for Collier to have the speed that he does, it also causes issues where he can run himself out of position because he is too fast. Victor Hunter and Ty Linder are two ferocious hitters that seem to enjoy nothing more than belting a receiver coming across the middle, especially those who don't know they are there. Hunter continues to move very well for someone who weighs nearly 260 pounds while Linder is likely the best back-up linebacker on the roster. Julius Howard continues to make plays and build off of the momentum that he showed during the Red and Black game, while Brian Duncan returned to practice with a bang. Duncan had a particularly nice hit against the run in the 11 on 11 portion of practice and is another young linebacker that should be fun to watch gain experience.
Tyrone Sonier was not in pads today as he seemed to be nursing a minor injury, although he should be back in pads shortly. Sam Fehoko receives very little coaching from the defensive staff because he is always around the ball. Fehoko is a star in training and could become the type of sideline to sideline player that Tech has not had in several years. Bront Bird looks like an absolute moster but is still quite quick and looks to be a linebacker in the mold of John Saldi, at least from a physical standpoint.
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
Overall Grade - B+
The secondary was dominated today during one on one drills. There was a universal thread among the defensive backs today and that was "give up a touchdown", at least early in practice. They did redeem themselves in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills but during one on ones there was not on play where a defensive back was able to prevent a catch by his effort until late in the drill when Chris Parker was able to force LA Reed out of bounds.
Anthony Hines and Daniel Charbonnet were the saving grace of the secondary today as Charbonnet recorded an interception, while Hines had several outstanding pass break ups both in 7-on-7 and in 11-on-11 drills.
Secondary Depth Chart -
Strong Safety: Joe Garcia, Anthony Hines, Daniel Charbonnet
Overall Grade - C+
Now it's time for some awards
Offensive MVP: Graham Harrell
Defensive MVP: Anthony Hines
Mr. Underrated: Pete Richardson
New Comer of the Day: Aaron Crawford
Come back tomorrow for the next RaiderPower Practice report!