Graham Harrell had another good day of practice, although he was a little more off target than he had been in the last few practices. Harrell still looks much more relaxed and comfortable than he did even during the spring practices. It seems that he finally has it into his head what he needs to do to be effective as the starting quarterback.
Taylor Potts had a good day of practice and had several very nice passes, including a bullet to LA Reed. Potts is improving with every rep that he takes but he still needs to work on knowing when it is time to let loose a cannon shot and when it is time to put a little touch on a pass.
Bobby Scott, Stefan Loucks, and Steven Sheffield spent the day with the scout team. Loucks did throw some passes to non-scout receivers during a few of the drills early in practice while Bobby Scott stayed on the sidelines.
Quarterback Depth Chart
Starter: Graham Harrell
Back-Up: Taylor Potts
3rd String: Steven Sheffield
Scout Team: Stefan Loucks/Bobby Scott
Overall Grade - B+
If Kobey Lewis is going to be replaced as the starting running back, it won't be because of a lack of effort. Lewis will stick himself through any small crack in the offensive line to squirt out the other side. Lewis is also a ferocious pass blocker, something that isn't normal to see with someone of his diminutive size. Lewis does an outstanding job standing up defenders as they come barreling at him and is also lightning quick once into the open field.
Shannon Woods and Baron Batch saw time with the second string today and Woods was by far the more impressive of the two. It seems as if Batch is not going to be red shirted as Aaron Crawford went back to work with the scout team today. Batch is still a hard runner but he still has a few kinks in his running style that he needs to get out before he is completely ready to play in a Big XII game. Shannon Woods is doing his best to redeem himself after being demoted to the scout team during the spring. Woods seems to be running with a purpose and while Kobey Lewis is certainly doing a good job, if Shannon can keep this focus during the season he will be the best running back in the Big XII, Hands down.
Running Backs Depth Chart
Starter: Kobey Lewis
Back Up: Shannon Woods /Baron Batch
Scout Team: Ryan Hayes, Jared Flannel, Aaron Crawford Overall Grade - B+
Wide Receivers/Big H&Y:
Edward Britton was the best of the wide receivers today followed by a two way tie between Michael Crabtree and LA Reed. Britton caught every ball that was thrown in his direction and had several outstanding catches on go routes during the one-on-one drills with the defense. Reed and Crabtree both had a small number of drops during practice but recovered nicely. Those two should be a great compliment to each other, especially because of their different styles of play. Reed is more likely to lower his shoulders and run over someone while Crabtree would prefer to leave the defender in his dust with a juke or spin move. Lyle Leong also had an outstanding day of practice and while he doesn't possess the sheer speed that Carlos Francis did, it seems that he is built similarly and plays a lot like Francis does. Leong can still jump to the moon and should be great at catching the passes that would go over a normal receiver's head.
Eric Morris and Danny Amendola may be two of the shorter receivers on the team but those two are terrific at making the difficult catch. Amendola had several terrific catches today including one where he went up high and got one foot in bounds before being shoved out. Morris also had several outstanding catches and made Daniel Charbonnet look absolutely lost during one-on-one goal line work. Adam James was out of practice today with a slight injury to his left hip area. James was moving well but it seemed to be tight when he was trying to run so he joined Todd Walker, Grant Walker, Detron Lewis, Franklin Mitchem, and Sean Estelle in the rehab area. In his absence, Kelly Hildebrandt played mostly at H while Adrian Reese had a solid day at Y. Reese is slowly but surely putting it all together and if he can learn from a guy like Danny Amendola ahead of him he could turn into one of the best slot receivers that Coach Leach has ever had.
Receiver Depth Chart -
Z- Michael Crabtree, Lyle Leong, Landon Hoefer
Y- Danny Amendola, G. Walker (Injured), Tramain Swindall
H- Eric Morris, Kelly Hildebrandt/Detron Lewis
X- LA Reed, Eddie Britton, Brik Brinker (Todd Walker, injured)
Overall Grade - B
Louis Vasquez did not practice during the later portions of practice today. Although he had no apparent injuries, he was being held out by the coaching staff. With Vasquez out, Marlon Winn was able to log some reps at left tackle and acquitted himself well. Rylan Reed continues to be his consistent self at right tackle and even received a few reps at right guard today. Jake Johnson, while a bit of an odd duck off of the field, is proving to have been an outstanding pick-up after transferring from Blinn. Johnson is simply vicious at the point of attack but fast enough that he can handle any end that comes his direction. Once Johnson is able to master the finer points of the Air Raid offense, he should be an extremely valuable sixth man coming off of the bench.
Stephen Hamby saw more time with the first team today with Louis Vasquez being held out of practice. Hamby isn't nearly as large as some of the other offensive linemen but does an outstanding job of using his hands and feet to maximize his strength. Hamby and Marlon Winn work well at left guard/left tackle and should be a serviceable alternative if something was to happen to Louis Vasquez. Brandon Carter and Shawn Byrnes continue to be the force in the middle of the offensive line. Carter has the potential to be a star at the next level and continues to work toward that goal every day in practice. Look for Carter to be the most consistent of the offensive linemen, at least if practice is any indication. Lonnie Edwards continues to see time with the back-ups and it appears that he is slowly putting the mental aspect with the physical aspect of it all as he shows consistent progress each day in practice. He still has some difficulty in picking up the blitz but this is a skill that will become better the more reps he receives.
The young freshman are bonding well as a group and seem to be taking very well to the teaching offered by both Coach Moore and graduate assistant Brandon Jones.
Offensive Line Depth Chart -
Right Tackle: Rylan Reed, Jake Johnson, Mickey Okafor
Right Guard: Brandon Carter , Stephen Hamby, Dominique Delpeche
Left Guard: Marlon Winn, Adrian Archie/Lonnie Edwards, Landon Burge
Overall Grade - A-
Defensive Line :
Colby Whitlock saw more time with the starting defense today and took on a double team from Shawn Byrnes and Brandon Carter without doing too badly. Whitlock is like a sponge as he soaks up every bit of coaching that he can get. Richard Jones and RaJon Henley had very good days of practice and these two seem to be a dynamic duo when in the game. Henley is the lightning and Jones the thunder as the two are able to exploit the offensive line. Clint "Turbo" Stoffels is very quietly doing an outstanding job as a nose guard and could very well make himself the most important walk on in Texas Tech history. Bobby Agoucha is still exceedingly raw but has tremendous potential to be a great linemen for the Red Raiders. Brian Jones graduated on Saturday with his undergraduate degree and it seems that he is now ready to pour all of his time into football. Jones was kept out all of last season with an injury but it appears that he has bounced back better than ever. If Jones can take some of his fire from the classroom and put it onto the football field, he could become the defensive tackle that the Red Raiders are looking for.
Sandy Riley is going to be a punishing force off of the end this coming season. He and Brandon Williams are consistently in the quarterback's face and make the offensive line always account for their location. Jake Ratliff continues to rely on brute strength and was so explosive today, he actually had a scout team offensive linemen pushed almost four yards behind the line of scrimmage. Phillip Jones continues to make the routine play every time that he is put into the game and should be outstanding depth this coming season.
Strong Side (left) end: Jake Ratliff, Phillip Jones, Daniel Howard
Defensive Tackle (left): Rajon Henley, Brian Jones, Bobby Agoucha
Nose Guard (right): Clint Stoffels, Richard Jones, Colby Whitlock
Overall Grade - A+
Paul Williams had an outstanding day from his middle linebacker position and could easily be the best defensive player on the field next year. Williams had several very nice pass deflections and an incredible hit on running back Aaron Crawford. Kellen Tillman continues to obliterate anyone who comes near him and just about tore Brik Brinker's head off during practice today, although it would have cost him 15 yards during a game. Tillman showed great speed getting to the screen but had his hand catch Brinker's facemask. Marlon Williams continues to work with the starters during practice, although Chad Hill is practicing. Williams's presence continues to cause issues in the running game because of his ability to chase down ball carriers coming out of the backfield.
It seems that Julius Howard and Blake Collier will continue to battle for the number two spot on the weak side. Neither player is perfect but they both continue to make enough plays to keep things interesting. Victor Hunter is the unquestioned back-up middle linebacker and continues to make plays from that position. Ty Linder still mans the strong side with the second team and has the respect of all the players on the field.
Sam Fehoko drew the ire of Coach McNeil for dogging it on a special teams play. Bront Bird and Tyrone Sonier are with Fehoko on the scout team along with Jack Campbell. Tech may very well have the most athletic scout team linebackers in the country.
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 defensive backs redeemed themselves well today after a shaky day of practice. Jamar Wall and Chris Parker both had good days and red shirt sophomore Brent Nickerson had an outstanding day of practice. It appears that Nickerson will be the fourth corner off the bench behind Wall, Parker, and Bunton. Pete Richardson did a nice job of breaking on a pass early in practice but was then beat several times later in practice. De'Shon Sanders showed off great burst as he broke up a pass during the pass skeleton drill, but needs to show more consistency before he is trusted with serious in game playing time.
Darcel McBath had an outstanding interception of Graham Harrell during the 11-on-11 portion of practice along with outstanding read and coverage of a deep pass where he dropped back and helped corner Jamar Wall prevent the completion. Joe Garcia had a quiet day but still had his trade mark smile and easy demeanor about him. Look for Garcia to receive serious consideration as a team captain this year. Anthony Hines continues to impress and his burst is something that hasn't been seen since before he was injured last July. Daniel Charbonnet and Jordy Rowland round out the safeties, even though Charbonnet does seem time as a corner back in certain defensive sets.
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 - A-
Now it's time for some awards
Offensive MVP: Eddie Britton
Defensive MVP: Darcel McBath
Mr. Underrated: Kelly Hildebrandt
New Comer of the Day: Colby Whitlock
Come back tomorrow for the next RaiderPower Practice report!