Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell seems to always be smiling, though he did throw his first incomplete pass during the 7-on-7 drill today. That is not the first incompletion of the day, but the first in a week of practice. Harrell continues to look outstanding and is extremely crafty in his throws and when he checks into/out of a play.
Taylor Potts had a good day, though he continues to lock onto a receiver and this will get him into trouble as time goes on. Potts also has a very wide and slow wind-up, similar to the same wind-up that Sonny Cumbie used. Potts also showed off a tremendous deep ball today and looks to be improving with each snap.
Steven Sheffield seems to have had his confidence rattled as he threw the only interception of the day and looked completely befuddled at times. Sheffield has gone through these stretches before but he still needs to rebound quickly.
Stefan Loucks worked only briefly with the first team with little effect while Seth Doege continues to work with the scout team almost exclusively. Doege was not wearing the brace on his left knee today and really does appear to have completely shaken the health issues that haunted his high-school career.
Quarterback Depth Chart
Starter: Graham Harrell
Back-Up: Taylor Potts
3rd String: Steven Sheffield
Scout Team: Seth Doege /Stefan Loucks
Overall Grade - B+
Aaron Crawford and Baron Batch seem to be the two running-backs that are receiving the lions share of the snaps at this point in spring practice. Crawford looks the best out of the two of them, though Batch is only about a quarter of a step behind.
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 and Detron Lewis continue to excel when lined up next to each other. Lewis is nearly as elusive as Crabtree in open-field but is also faster in a straight line than Crabtree. Crabtree had another tremendous day in practice as he and Graham Harrell seem to have tremendous communication and understanding of each other.
Eddie Britton and Lyle Leong continue to play extremely well while Britton actually edging out Leong for the better performance today in practice. Britton continues to improve after an off day last Friday while Leong had a solid day but missed on a ball in the end-zone early in practice.
Tramain Swindall continues to play very well in practice but un-characteristically dropped several passes through-out in practice. Swindall showed off tremendous work without the ball today as he ran a route to draw the secondary away from a screen and also threw a great block for Kobey Lewis on a screen.
Eric Morris had another strong day and scored a touchdown during the teams full scrimmage today. Adam James continues to impress and even saw some time as the Big Y/hand-down tight-end today as Adrian Reese continues to reside on muscle beach.
Rashad Hawk had an off day and did not earn points for blaming a poor attempt at going after a pass on a bad-hamstring. Hawk did score a touchdown during one-on-one drills but his attitude was not as good as it has been the past few practices.
Blake Kelly has moved to H inside receiver position and continues to excel. Kelly will see the field in some capacity this coming season, especially if his hands continue to be as reliable as they have been in the first week of practice.
Ryan Hale is a massive blocking back who lays the wood unlike any blocker that Mike Leach has had. Hale doesn't look for the text-book block but instead attempts to put players onto the ground and move onto the next target, including a monster hit on his former fellow linebacker Marlon Williams.
Receiver Depth Chart -
Y- Detron Lewis, Tramain Swindall,
H- Eric Morris, Adam James, Jacoby Franks, Blake Kelly, Ryan Hale (Big H)
X- Eddie Britton, Lyle Leong, Rashad Hawk, Brik Brinker
Overall Grade - A-
Mickey Okafor continues to shine at left tackle and looks like an absolute natural at that position. Okafor still doesn't quite have all of the line calls figured out but that will come as he is given more and more reps at left tackle.
Brandon Carter and Shawn Byrnes continue to excel at the right guard and center position, respectively. Carter continues to also spend a small amount of time working at right guard every practice with Chris Olson moving to right guard which provides an interesting, and very fast, right side of the offensive line.
Louis Vasquez was his old self today and recorded three consecutive pancakes on running plays today during practice and was by far the most dominant of offensive linemen today.
Justin Keown continues to excel as a left guard and looks to be the heir apparent to Louis Vasquez at the end of this season.
The scout team offensive line improved today but they didn't have to go against defensive end Brandon Williams. Daniel Howard was able to get past the scout-team left tackle Omar Castillo with ease though and Howard did a nice job compensating for Williams' absence.
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 :
With Brandon Williams and McKinner Dixon either not participating or not in practice today, the weak-side end job fell to Daniel Howard who looked as good as he has to date. Not as large as either Williams or Dixon, what he lacks in size he makes up for in sheer speed and tenacity. Howard can be found running receivers down 20 yards downfield or sacking the quarterback.
It is official, Colby Whitlock and Rajon Henley work together as if they've been doing it their entire lives. Whitlock is becoming the more dominant of the two and beginning to draw more attention from the line while Rajon Henley has the opportunity to use his speed to his advantage.
Chris Perry and Richard Jones worked with the second team and Perry is becoming a force to reckon with inside at the nose-guard position. Perry may not become a starter but he will play and play a significant portion of snaps in the coming season.
Jake Ratliff continues to have the starting nod on the strong-side but is receiving very surprising competition from Brandon Sharpe, who was suspended for the Gator Bowl in January. Sharpe was behind the 8-ball in the fall after having to head home because of personal issues and was never able to climb back into the thick of things but is doing his best to make an impression now during the spring.
Strong Side (left) end: Jake Ratliff, Brandon Sharpe
Defensive Tackle (left): Rajon Henley, Richard Jones, David Neill, Joey Fowler
Nose Guard (right): Colby Whitlock, Chris Perry,Clint Stoffels, Richard Jones
Weak side (right) end: Brandon Williams (injured), Daniel Howard, Sandy Riley (injured)/McKinner Dixon (out),
Overall Grade - B+(tackles)/A-(ends)
Tyrone Sonier has moved into sole possession of the strong-side linebacker position and continues to shine there along with Victor Hunter and Blake Collier. Collier had a strong day and continues to improve day after day. Collier will very-likely see the field often this year in the nickel package to give the Red Raiders another effective coverage option.
Sam Fehoko continues to be one of the best all-around athletes at linebacker but has yet to put the mental and physical parts of his game together consistently. He did do a better job today but continues to run himself out of position at times with his great speed.
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 had another good day, though not as good as he did on Monday. Sanders is good once he gets onto the field and follows his instincts but his biggest issue is over-thinking and mental, not physical, break-downs.
Taylor Charbonnet continues to impress and once again went and threw himself at a running-back who had 20 to 30 more pounds than he did and while he didn't make the tackle, he did allow Bront Bird to come and clean up the tackle.
Darcel McBath and Jordy Rowland continue to work together with the starting defense while LA Reed has pushed himself up from the third team to the second team at free or strong safety. Reed looks absolutely tremendous at safety and nearly destroyed Ed Britton as well as Lyle Leong today during practice. If Reed can continue to progress at this level throughout the spring and fall, he could make a case as the second best defensive back on the team.
Franklin Mitchem and Stephen Harris continue to work well together and look to be the future for the Red Raiders at both safety spots. Mitchem looks better everyday and seems to be getting back into the grove after the horrendous injury to his leg last year.
Secondary Depth Chart -
Right Cornerback: Marcus Bunton/Pete Richardson/Brent Nickerson, De'Shon Sanders
Left Cornerback: Jamar Wall, LaRon Moore (injured), Taylor Charbonnet, Jarrell Routt (injured)
Overall Grade - A-
Now it's time for some awards
Offensive MVP: Michael Crabtree
Defensive MVP: Bront Bird
Mr. Underrated: Dominique Delpeche
Freshman of the Day: Tramain Swindall
Come back Friday for the next RaiderPower Practice report!