Graham Harrell had another solid day of practice and continues to show fans just how far he has come from this time last year. Harrell makes his reads quickly and was able to find a wide open Danny Amendola for a terrific catch, even though he was under serious pressure from the outside pass rush. Harrell is also becoming more and more proficient about knowing when a ball needs to go downfield and when a ball needs to be thrown to the dump-off receiver for a 4 or 5 yard gain.
Taylor Potts is improving but his inconsistency can be absolutely maddening. Potts will make a great throw, like the one that he threw to Michael Crabtree early in practice, and then he will overthrow a wide open receiver by putting too much air on the ball. Once Potts is able to get this down, he should be an outstanding quarterback in the Air Raid offense.
Steven Sheffield showed off outstanding accuracy today during the early portions of practice and in warm-ups, although he continues to be the lead scout team quarterback. Bobby Scott and Stefan Loucks seem to be concentrating more on learning what they can from the likes of Graham Harrell and Taylor Potts.
Quarterback Depth Chart
Starter: Graham Harrell
Back-Up: Taylor Potts
3rd String: Steven Sheffield
Scout Team: Stefan Loucks/Bobby Scott
Overall Grade - B+
Kobey Lewis continues to make his case to be the Red Raiders starting running back in 2007 and it seems that every day he is doing better and better in practice. Today he was able to cut a run back to the outside after the middle became clogged and pick up at least 10 yards before contact. Lewis is also a deceptively good blocker and has no problem sticking his nose in and blocking a larger player. Look back to the 2006 game against SMU for more information, particularly when Graham Harrell throws a touchdown to Todd Walker.
Shannon Woods was the only other running back to receive reps with the starters/back-ups since Baron Batch was held out of practice as a precaution to avoid further injuring the ankle that has given him so much trouble. Woods looks to be running hard and fast but the coaching staff continues to let Kobey Lewis hold down the starting position.
Aaron Crawford, Ryan Hayes, and Jared Flannel spent the day with the scout team. Hayes has the most experience of the bunch but Crawford has the best size and could be called up to play with the starters should he be needed.
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:
LA Reed and Michael Crabtree both had semi-off days. Each player dropped several passes during practice, although not for lack of effort. In their slight drop off, their back-ups performed extremely well. Edward Britton had a strong showing today with several good catches and numerous successful end arounds. Lyle Leong is still light at around 175 pounds but continues to play bigger than he is and will push for the coaches to put him on the field this coming season. Look for Lyle to eventually become a red zone terror with his combination of hands, feet and vertical jumping ability.
Danny Amendola had several great catches today including a diving one hander into the end zone for a touchdown. Amendola is still a little inconsistent at times but he just might have caught the "Big Play Trey" Haverty fever. Danny has made some big plays in his career and this year he should be able to show if he can make them on a consistent basis. Eric Morris struggled early in practice but then stepped it up later in practice and had several nice catches, one that after a nifty juke ended in the end zone. Kelly Hildebrandt continues to have a good fall as he tries to get the monkey off of his back. Adrian Reese had another inconsistent day and could be the most frustrating player on offense.
Jacoby Franks continues to be the biggest surprise out of the young wide receivers, even though he is working only with the scout team. Franks has by far the most consistent hands and outstanding acceleration. Tramain Swindall is still working at Y some with the players in the two deep but his hands still leave something to be desired. Rashad Hawk is the largest of the fresh crop of receivers but is stuck behind serious talent at both the X and Z receiving positions. Detron Lewis is still nursing his sore hamstring and sat out practice today.
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
With Louis Vasquez being held out of practice entirely, it allowed Coach Matt Moore to show off some of the versatility that he had been talking about. Jake Johnson saw time with the first string at right tackle while Rylan Reed moved inside to play guard. Stephen Hamby and Chris Olson both received snaps at the left guard position while Marlon Winn played mostly left tackle. Vasquez doesn't seem to have a serious injury and is moving around well. It is highly probable that he was held out of practice only as a precaution against further injury.
The second team line looked a little lost today as players were shuffled around in some apparent experimenting. Stephen Hamby saw some time as the center and at right guard, while Lonnie Edwards played left guard and Landon Burge played right guard.
The scout team line continues to impress at times and there is a whole world of potential waiting to be tapped. Those players will be the bedrock of any future success that the Texas Tech offense will have.
Offensive Line Depth Chart -
Right Tackle: Rylan Reed, Jake Johnson, Mickey Okafor
Left Guard: Marlon Winn, Adrian Archie/Lonnie Edwards, Landon Burge
Left Tackle: Louis Vasquez, Chris Olson, Jerrod Gooch
Overall Grade - A-
Defensive Line :
The biggest defensive line news from practice was the injury to Tyler Yenzer, Yenzer was seen moving after being hurt but was taken off of the field on the training cart strapped to a back board. RaiderPower wishes Tyler a speedy recovery.
The defensive ends had an overall good day but once again proved that their strength is not any one individual but a group effort. Sandy Riley and Brandon Williams are the best pass rushers while Daniel Howard, Phillip Jones, and Jake Ratliff are the best run stoppers. Ratliff should retain his starting spot at the defensive left end position but look for there to be a rotation at the right side end position.
Clint Stoffels once again had a good day while Colby Whitlock appears to be the freshman able to contribute almost immediately. Rajon Henley continues to prove that just because he is smaller doesn't mean he is a bad player. Henley is by far the best interior pass rusher on the team and plays with an outstanding motor that allows him to chase plays all over the field. Brian and Richard Jones give the Red Raiders some valuable depth and should be solid against the run. Bobby Agoucha had a quiet day but looks like he still needs to drop weight to help his endurance as he is easily winded.
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
Weak side (right) end: Brandon Williams, Tyler Yenzer(Injured)/Sandy Riley, Brandon Sharpe
Overall Grade - A-
As mentioned in quick hits, Chad Hill returned to practice at the weak side linebacker position with a vengeance. Hill showed great moves and looks to be doing his best to reclaim the weak side from sophomore Marlon Williams. Marlon has had extensive practice on the weak side and even if he doesn't end up as the starter should be an outstanding reserve to Chad Hill. Paul Williams and Kellen Tillman were a dangerous duo today as they both broke up several running plays and were solid in pass coverage. Tillman looks more fluid than he did last season and seems to have calmed down a little, at least from an unnecessary penalty point of view.
With Blake Collier resting a minor injury, Julius Howard saw time with the second team linebackers along with Victor Hunter and Ty Linder. Linder continues to be the emotional leader of the linebackers and perhaps the entire defense. While it is unlikely that he will see significant playing time this coming season, he could very well be voted as a captain because of the respect that the defense has for him.
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 cornerbacks were especially active on Tuesday, an overall strong day for the defensive backs. Marcus Bunton had several very good plays during practice today and looks like he will be the first defensive back off of the bench, much like last year. Brent Nickerson was playing like a man possessed in practice today and has tremendous upside for a young cornerback. He and Jamar Wall are both sophomores and could end up as the starting corners in a few short years. Wall continued his outstanding play and looks to be the best cornerback that Mike Leach has had on a roster.
Anthony Hines continues to impress in his new slimmed down form but, Darcel McBath once again had the best day of any safety. McBath is by far the fastest safety and seems to learn after every play. He rarely makes the same mistake twice. Joe Garcia had a quiet day from a pass coverage standpoint, although he did have several nice assists against the running game. Lance Fuller is another player that showed good burst today as he made a punishing tackle on Edward Britton during an end 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
Overall Grade - A-
Now it's time for some awards
Offensive MVP: Graham Harrell
Defensive MVP: Kellen Tillman
Mr. Underrated: Chad Hill
New Comer of the Day: Jacoby Franks
Come back tomorrow for the next RaiderPower Practice report