If Graham Harrell is not the Big XII first team quarterback in December, then the person who beats him out had better have an invitation to New York for a certain prestigious award. Harrell continues to show pin-point accuracy and more than serviceable arm strength each day. Harrell found tight end Adrian Reese several times today as he was running free from coverage and was always the first to congratulate the sometimes shaky Reese. Harrell is developing into a leader and has the respect of all of his teammates. His leadership will be the defining factor as to how far this team can go, particularly early in the season. If Harrell is anything like he has been in practice, he should be able to play like the second half of the Insight Bowl for an entire season and surprise all of his doubters.
Taylor Potts had a better day today as he was able to spread to football to the various receivers on the field. Potts is still guilty of putting to much heat on passes at times but seems to be learning, slowly but surely, just how much heat a pass needs. He is also checking off to his dump off receiver less and less as he trusts himself to throw the ball down the field.
Steven Sheffield continues to be an outstanding walk on quarterback and is more athletic than he is given credit for. Sheffield should at least be a capable third string quarterback if not something more in the coming seasons. Bobby Scott and Stefan Loucks continue to work solely with the scouts during 7-on-7 drills.
Quarterback Depth Chart
Starter: Graham Harrell
Back-Up: Taylor Potts
3rd String: Steven Sheffield
Scout Team: Stefan Loucks/Bobby Scott
Overall Grade - A
Shannon Woods, Kobey Lewis, and Baron Batch each continue to have moments of greatness. What remains to be seen is if Shannon Wood will be returned to the starting position or if he will be left on the bench for the coaches to prove their point.
Crawford, Flannel, and Hayes continue to work with the scout team. Flannel looks to be the most likely to be converted to another position, possibly slot receiver because of his outstanding hands. Crawford is a pure and fast running back that could be very dangerous once he is able to see the field.
Running Backs Depth Chart
Starter: Kobey Lewis
Back Up: Shannon Woods /Baron Batch
Wide Receivers/Big H&Y:
LA Reed and Michael Crabtree once again had impressive days as did Eddie Britton and Lyle Leong. It seems like there is very little drop off when any combination of these four players are in the game. Britton is especially dangerous on crossing routes because as soon as he catches the ball his acceleration allows him to make the corner and turn up the field for a big gain.
Eric Morris had a quiet day while Danny Amendola was absolutely on fire and caught nearly everything thrown at him. Grant Walker returned to practice and caught a pass that appeared to have been intended for Lyle Leong. Walker looks to be moving well and back to full strength. Tramain Swindall had another good day of practice and managed to shake corner back Chris Parker with a nifty move, even though the quarterback didn't through the ball in his direction. Detron Lewis played with a cast on his right forearm (as mentioned in Quick Hits) but it didn't seem to interfere with his ability to catch the football today.
The tradition that Mike Leach has started with Texas Tech having outstanding receivers will continue as Jacoby Franks and Rashad Hawk work their way onto the field. Both of these receivers have tremendous upside and should be able to give the Red Raiders valuable playing time in the coming seasons.
Receiver Depth Chart -
Z- Michael Crabtree, Lyle Leong, Landon Hoeffer, Jacoby Franks
Y- Danny Amendola, G. Walker, Tramain Swindall
H- Eric Morris, Kelly Hildebrandt/Detron Lewis/Adam James (Injured)
X- LA Reed, Eddie Britton, Brik Brinker (Todd Walker, injured), Rashad Hawk
Overall Grade - B
The starting offensive line did a terrific job today in pass protection and picked up several complicated blitzes that the defense called. Louis Vasquez was once again at left tackle and was his solid self, showing none of the mistakes that plagued him against Missouri. Rylan Reed sat out practice today resting a minor injury so transfer Jake Johnson was the starting right tackle. Johnson preformed extremely well and looks to be another steal from this past years' recruiting class. Brandon Carter and Shawn Byrnes were strong at the point of attack but were held up by defensive tackle Clint Stoffels on a running play. Marlon Winn continues to improve at left guard but may need game seasoning before he is completely comfortable at that position.
The second team line was handled roughly today during practice but the lineup was changed a little. Freshman Mickey Okafor saw time at right tackle since Jake Johnson was seeing time with the starts. Okafor has the size but doesn't yet have the mental part of the equation as he allowed a sack of Graham Harrell. Running was difficult with the second team in but they mostly allowed the quarterbacks to make the throws that needed to be made.
The scout team continues to fluctuate and has yet to really build any true chemistry, although it appears that the players do get along well, they just haven't had the needed time to get everything ready to go.
Offensive Line Depth Chart -
Right Tackle: Rylan Reed, Jake Johnson, Mickey Okafor
Overall Grade - B-
Defensive Line :
Brandon Sharpe returned to practice today and helped to bolster a defensive end group that was starting to look a little thin. It is obvious by now that Sharpe and fellow transfer Daniel Howard are not the usual junior college player that is not ready to contribute immediately. Both players have made plays and seem to be progressing. Sharpe has excellent size while Howard has terrific presence at the point of attack and it salty against the run. Jake Ratliff and Phillip Jones continue to man the number one and two spots on the Brandon Williams/Sandy Riley duo harass the quarterback from the weak side.
Young Colby Whitlock had a "wow" play today as he burst through the line of scrimmage and pulled down fellow freshman running back Jared Flannel. Whitlock is improving daily and should be a contributor come September 3rd. Rajon Henley and Clint "Turbo" Stoffels both had very good days with Henley recording a sack after breaking through the offensive line. Stoffels took on Shawn Byrnes and Marlon Winn at the point of attack then proceeded to make the tackle on the running back without giving ground. Stoffels small stature is apparently more an advantage than a disadvantage. Brian and Richard Jones continue to be strong at the point of attack and the two could be the defensive staff's choice for goal line defensive tackles. Bobby Agoucha continues to see time with the second/third team defense but is not quite as far along as fellow freshman Colby Whitlock.
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 - B+
The starting linebackers had a good day today and Chad Hill still rotated at the weak side with Marlon Williams. Hill seems to be receiving more snaps on the weak side and it appears that the coaching staff is leaning towards starting Hill. Kellen Tillman did get into a fight with Baron Batch after Batch decided he didn't like what Tillman had to say. Once again the fight was broken up by the cooler heads of Kobey Lewis and Ty Linder. Paul Williams was quiet today but still seemed to be active and around every play.
Victor Hunter practiced today but was held out of contact drills. He did participate in 7-on-7 drills and had a nice jam at the line of scrimmage. Julius Howard and Blake Collier continue to work for the second team weak side spot, which will become the third team when the loser of the starting position battle is determined. Howard and Collier are both about the same size with Collier being a little better against the pass while Howard is a little more physical against the run.
Sam Fehoko, Tyrone Sonier, and Bront Bird continue to work with the scout team and out of the three, Bird is by far the closest to seeing the field. Sonier and Fehoko need at least a year to learn how to cover a player in pass coverage before they see the field.
Linebackers Depth Chart
Weak Side Linebacker: Chad Hill/Marlon Williams, Julius Howard, Blake Collier, Tyrone Sonier
Middle Linebacker: Paul Williams, Victor Hunter(Injured, but practiced)/Marlon Williams, Ryan Hale, Sam Fehoko
Strong Side Linebacker: Kellen Tillman, Ty Linder, Brian Duncan/Bront Bird
Overall Grade - B
LaRon Moore had the "wow" play of the day with a leaping deflection/near interception of a pass today during practice. Moore looks like he is ready to contribute early. Brent Nickerson also had a nice day as he deflected a pass from soon to be star wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Jamar Wall and Chris Parker had solid days, although Parker was left in the dust by Tramain Swindall during 11-on-11 drills. Pete Richardson and Marcus Bunton both had hot and colds days. They would make a play one minute and give up a touchdown the next, not the type of consistency that the coaches would like to see from these two players.
While Darcel McBath and Joey Garcia may be the Red Raiders starting safety, the most impressive safety today was Anthony Hines. Hines continues to roam the field and make plays, regardless of where he is lined up at the snap. Another back-up that had a nice day was Lance Fuller who recorded a "bicep interception" (caught the football with his right bicep), showing why he is a safety and not a wide receiver. McBath had a good day and was seen playing near the line of scrimmage often today with Anthony Hines plays center field. Daniel Charbonnet had a quiet day but continues to work hard and attract attention to himself.
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: LA Reed
Defensive MVP: Anthony Hines
Mr. Underrated: LaRon Moore
New Comer of the Day: Colby Whitlock
Come back tomorrow for the next RaiderPower Practice report!