Graham Harrell continues to be the best elements of every Texas Tech quarterback that has gone before him and he looks nearly unflappable. Harrell is light-hearted during practice but has the respect of both the offensive and defensive players. Harrell let fly several bullets in practice along with an outstanding fade pass to Lyle Leong during the one-on-one drill.
Taylor Potts continues to improve daily and had several very good passes, though he has issues with reading beyond his second receiver and at times locks onto the receiver to his right without looking anywhere else. This hasn't cost him in practice but it certainly will in a game situation.
Steven Sheffield struggled today and either fumbled or was sacked on three consecutive plays during the team scrimmage session of practice. Sheffield rebounded with a touchdown pass to Landon Hoeffer but overall had a sub-par day.
Stefan Loucks struggled again today working with the starting offensive unit and threw a pick-6 during the pass-skeleton drill. Doege had another powerful day with the scout team and while not quite as strong-armed, he looks like BJ Symons when he is running the offense.
Quarterback Depth Chart
Starter: Graham Harrell
Back-Up: Taylor Potts
3rd String: Steven Sheffield
Scout Team: Seth Doege /Stefan Loucks
Overall Grade - B
Today was the Baron Batch and Shannon Woods show. Both backs looked very sharp with Woods drawing the first 10 snaps during the team segment of practice. Batch continues to be a powerful runner but doesn't seem to run as well inside the tackles as either Woods or Crawford.
Kobey Lewis and Aaron Crawford worked with the scout team, not as punishment or for lack of effort but just because they are the only running backs on the roster other than Batch and Woods. Lewis had several good runs during the team practice session and a round of applause was given to LA Reed as the first player this spring to tackle Lewis.
Running Backs Depth Chart
Starter: Kobey Lewis, Aaron Crawford, Baron Batch
Back-Up: Shannon Woods
Overall Grade - A-
Wide Receivers/Big H&Y:
Michael Crabtree had a very good day and it appears that Mike Leach is adding back the double pass as Crabtree threw a rope downfield to Lyle Leong and on the next play avoided several tacklers to turn a busted play into what would have been a huge gain. Todd Walker continues to look better after every snap but he is still inconsistent at times and seems to anticipate the hit when running across the middle.
Ed Britton and Lyle Leong both had good days and Leong had one of the highlight catches of the day with a terrific catch in the end-zone as well as catching the Harrell to Crabtree double-pass. Britton seems to have finally shaken his confidence issues when running drag routes or across the middle and his outstanding speed makes him a great threat whenever running those routes. Leong is a very skilled route-runner and is deceptively fast.
Detron Lewis and Tramain Swindall are two completely different receivers and yet both extremely good at playing the Y inside receiver position. Lewis is the faster of the two by far and showed it off today with several catches that were "Crabtrabulous" while Swindall caught a pass in mid-air and then slammed to the ground, maintaining possession of the ball.
Eric Morris and Adam James are going to be a dastardly duo this coming season at the H inside receiver position. Morris had several great catches and nearly caught a tipped pass in the end-zone that would have been the single greatest catch made at practice. Adam James caught all but one pass today and fumbled once during practice. James continues to provide a very different look at H and has worked himself into a very deserving back-up role at H.
Rashad "Hollywood" (or so his tattoo says) Hawk earned the first "wow" as he was lit up by Julius Howard and De'Shon Sanders today during practice. Hawk continues to play well but at times his trash-talking outweighs what he has done on the field to this point.
Blake Kelly had another strong day and should be able to push for playing time somewhere on the field this coming season.
Receiver Depth Chart -
Z- Michael Crabtree, Todd Walker, Landon Hoeffer, Jacoby Franks
Y- Detron Lewis, Tramain Swindall, Blake Kelly
H- Eric Morris, Adam James, Jacoby Franks, Ryan Hale (Big H)
X- Eddie Britton, Lyle Leong, Rashad Hawk, Brik Brinker
Overall Grade - A-
Mickey Okafor had a good day, though not quite as dominant as he was on Saturday and he did allow a sack as Brandon Williams wend shooting past him to tag Graham Harrell. Okafor is also beginning to become more confident as a run blocker and looks to have improved leaps and bounds already from where he was only 4 practices ago.
Brandon Carter once again participated in the first fight of Spring practice, this time whipping David Neill soundly and then punishing him with a huge run-block on the next play. There was also a minor scare early in practice when Carter went down on a quarterback-sneak drill and appeared to have injured a knee, though it turned out to be nothing more than a scare. Shawn Byrnes was working with the second offensive line today as Stephen Hamby took snaps with the first team and while Hamby continues to be as good a blocker as Byrnes, his snaps are extremely inconsistent, either high or low.
Louis Vasquez had a strong day but did seem a bit sluggish at times during practice and is still at times having to compensate for mistakes that Mickey Okafor makes.
Chris Olson and Justin Keown are a solid pair of interior linemen and Keown's ability to play guard or center is still a huge advantage, though he doesn't spend much time at center with Hamby and Byrnes in-front of him.
The scout-team offensive line struggled tremendously today and Brandon Williams was a man possessed as he went flying around any number of opposing linemen.
Offensive Line Depth Chart -
Right Guard: Brandon Carter , Stephen Hamby, Dominique Delpeche
Center: Shawn Byrnes, Stephen Hamby /Justin Keown, Blake Emert
Overall Grade - A-
Defensive Line :
Brandon Williams looked like the best defensive lineman on the roster today as he was completely un-blockable, regardless of who was on the other side of the line from him. Williams continues to possess a brilliant bull-rush and his speed rush seems to have improved from last season. Daniel Howard was running with the second team while McKinner Dixon was working with the third team. It appears that these three are going to be used early and often next season to help ensure that there is a tenacious pass-rush.
Colby Whitlock and Richard Jones were working with the first team today while Rajon Henley and Chris Perry worked with the second team. Perry looked good again and seems to already have the confidence of those around him while Whitlock is hands-down the best defensive lineman on the roster.
David Neill and Bobby Agoucha were working with the third team and while Agoucha looked fairly good throughout, Neill was very hit or miss and was blown off of the line by Brandon Carter at one points.
Jake Ratliff continues to be consistent but is not a very capable pass-rusher. Brandon Sharpe is working on the strong side and appears to have found his niche behind Ratliff. Sharpe is a good pass-rusher as opposed to Ratliff's run-stopping abilities.
Strong Side (left) end: Jake Ratliff, Brandon Sharpe
Defensive Tackle (left): Rajon Henley, Richard Jones, Bobby Agoucha, David Neill, Joey Fowler
Nose Guard (right): Colby Whitlock, Chris Perry,Clint Stoffels, Richard Jones
Weak side (right) end: Brandon Williams, Sandy Riley (injured)/McKinner Dixon
Overall Grade - B+(tackles)/A-(ends)
Bront Bird is a dedicated player if nothing else. After vomiting twice during practice, Bird continued to participate and ran full speed without any complaints. Bird is by far the fastest of the three starting linebackers and has the ability to cover deep, almost as if he is in a Tampa 2 type of coverage. Brian Duncan and Marlon Williams both had strong days and Williams continues to be a "coach on the field" type of player.
Julius Howard and Tyrone Sonier seem to be splitting the reps as the number two strong-side linebacker, though Howard had the better day of the two. Sonier continues to improve but struggles staying on his feet at times and his pad-level is a constant issue.
Sam Fehoko earned the ire of Ruffin McNeil as he continues to run himself out of position in the passing game, though he did rebound nicely near the end of practice by running down Kobey Lewis. Blake Collier had a quiet day but still looks better than he did this time last year.
Linebackers Depth Chart
Weak Side Linebacker: Marlon Williams, Blake Collier, Julius Howard
Middle Linebacker: Brian Duncan, Victor Hunter (injured), Sam Fehoko
Strong Side Linebacker: Bront Bird, Tyrone Sonier/ Julius Howard
Overall Grade - B+
De'Shon Sanders turned in the best day he's had since the Spring Game in 2007. Sanders was physical at the point of attack and showed off a big-hit mentality that few of Texas Tech's corner-backs have had.
Taylor Charboonet is going to be one heck of a corner-back and today on two consecutive plays fended off a receiver attempting to block him to either make a tackle on Shannon Woods or force him out of bounds. Charbonnet has the same work ethic of his older brother while he significantly faster than Daniel.
Darcel McBath was working with Jordy Rowland today as the starting safeties and both were playing quite well. It appears that the strong-safety position is more fluid than first thought and the longer that Anthony Hines is out the more likely it is that LA Reed will be able to move up and secure that spot.
Reed had another strong day as did Franklin Mitchem who seems to have finally gotten over the horrific broken leg that he suffered last year.
Secondary Depth Chart -
Right Cornerback: Marcus Bunton/Pete Richardson/Brent Nickerson, De'Shon Sanders
Strong Safety: Anthony Hines (Injured), Jordy Rowland, LA Reed/Lance Fuller
Overall Grade - A-
Now it's time for some awards
Offensive MVP: Detron Lewis
Defensive MVP: Brandon Williams
Mr. Underrated: Justin Keown
Freshman of the Day: Taylor Charbonnet
Come back Wednesday for the next RaiderPower Practice report!