Sesay, Red Raiders Ready for Action

The Texas Tech University Red Raiders took to the practice field for their second fall practice and the final practice this week to be run without pads. RaiderPower takes a look at how defensive end Brandon Sesay is expected to fit into the scheme during the upcoming season, as well as the day's highlights and awards.

Sesay's Learning Curve

JUCO transfer defensive endBrandon Sesay has had Red Raider fans buzzing for months. At 6'6", 278 pounds, Sesay has the physical attributes to be one of the best defensive ends to ever play for Texas Tech.

Defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill explained that physically Sesay is ready for Big 12 action.

"He's a big youngster...I like his height, y'all know I like range, I like size, and he can run. So I like that length, especially with the teams we play this year, with the spread offenses. And he also runs very well."

After months of uncertainty with regards to his qualification status, Sesay is cleared and practicing with the Red Raiders. Although he has a sharp learning curve if he is going to see significant playing time this season, Coach McNeill says that the coaching staff is working hard to ensure that he is on the field and contributing soon.

"[Brandon] know he has a lot to learn just as far as scheme-wise, but we're not going to over-complicate it for him either," McNeill stated. "And I think Coach Saddler will do a great job of getting him ready to play, and he's learning and ready to go.

"We're going to try to make the scheme where he can play and play early. And we plan on him playing early and he plans on playing early, so both of us plan on him playing early, so that's a good thing."

Coach Ruff expects Brandon to be a major contributor on the defensive side of the ball and is impressed with his early progress.

"I like the way Brandon did today. We'll see when we get in pads, but I saw some athleticism from him today when we were together with the D-line and he'll be a player who will help make a big difference on our team."

Although Sesay is a newcomer working to beat out the other players for playing time, his personality and attitude are already helping him become friends with would-be competition.

Starting defensive end Jake Ratliff seems to developing a friendly rapport with him. Ratliff, who would seem to be in the most danger of losing his starting job to Sesay, was giving Sesay pointers at different times during practice.

Ruffin noted that Brandon's personality and loyalty to Tech have been key to his transition.

"I like him, I like his attitude. He's got a great personality. It's like he's been here for four years. He's been around the kids, he fits in very well with our team.

"He's a great kid... He's got a great mama, a great grandmother. And I like Brandon because when he committed to Tech, he didn't waver, and people came after him hard, especially from the Pack 10, and he stayed with us.

"He wants to be at Tech, so that means he's going to do great at Tech. I like kids who wanted to come to Tech and stayed with us, have done great and he'll fall in that same category."

News & Notes

Edward Britton had an outstanding day in practice. While he had a single drop early, he looked very consistent throughout the day and was giving 110% every time he was on the field.

Detron Lewis might give Michael Crabtree a run for his money as far as elusiveness is concerned. Lewis looks almost like he is on ice skates when he catches the ball and weaves his way through traffic. While not as tall as Crabtree, Lewis is still extremely physical and had a tremendous toe-tapping catch in the end zone during 1-on-1 drills.

Tramain Swindall had a tremendous day, particularly during the early parts of practice. While he still looks a little awkward at times, he has definitely worked on his body control and concentration while catching the football.

Texas Tech
Safeties Coach Carlos Mainord talks things over with the defense
Marlon Williams had two passes glance off of his hands during the latter portion of practice. Williams did a brilliant job of reading the play, but was unable to come up with either interception.

L.A. Reed once again had a strong day at cornerback and seems to have secured the nod as the starting corner there. An interesting tidbit: Reed was told Monday that he would be moving to corner.

• Brandon Reid, the athlete who was expected to move to defense within the first few practices may still but he looks like he's been working out with Bennie Wylie for months. Reid could contribute as a running-back or possibly a safety/linebacker should he make the move to defense.

• No wrestling today from Brandon Carter, although he continues to be one of the fastest offensive linemen that Texas Tech has. If there is an opportunity for him to blow someone up downfield, he's going to make the most of it.

Terry McDaniel, Deveric Gallington, and Joe King all look like they are ready, at least physically, to play Big XII football. Gone are the days of taking 6 foot 3 inch tall tight-ends and turning them into offensive tackles. King is the lightest of the bunch at 300 pounds while Gallington is the shortest at 6'4".

Cornelius Douglas and Austin Zouzalik are both future slot receiving stars that will surprise fans when they get a look at them. For Zouzalik it appears a red-shirt season is upcoming, while Douglas could find himself in the mix as a kick/punt returner. Zouzalik has spent his time at Y while Douglas spends his at H. Zouzalik, or "Zoo" as his teammates call him, has the better hands of the two.

Texas Tech
Cory Fowler Prepares for Kickoff
• Freshman kicker Donnie Carona may face stiffer competition from senior Cory Fowler than originally anticipated. Fowler's kicks looked stronger and more accurate than they did this time last year or during the spring, though it appears that Carona has the edge when it comes to range.

Harrison Jeffers had a tremendous grab down the sideline while he was running a wheel route against the first team defense with the scout team offense. While his hands are not perfect, Jeffers is difficult to cover coming out of the backfield and is always running full-speed every time that he is on the field.

• There was a slight scare when cornerback Pete Richardson was slow to rise after tripping and hitting his knee during the pass skeleton drill, though it appeared to be a false alarm as he was back into the drill after a little stretching of his left leg.

Taylor Potts continues to struggle with the amount of time that he holds onto the ball and also checks down very quickly to the running back on passing plays. Head Coach Mike Leach was particularly displeased with the long amount of time spent holding onto the football.

• Strength and conditioning coach Bennie Wylie helped get the defense ready for practice today after giving them a thorough chewing-out for what he perceived to be laziness. It worked, as the defense played with tremendous intensity for the entirety of practice.

Adrian Reese had several good catches, though they were offset by at least two drops of passes that should have been caught.

• While Daniel Charbonnet has proven himself to be a very talented strong safety, his hands are about as soft as a pair of cinderblocks.


Offensive player of the day: Edward Britton

Catch of the day: Eric Morris/Tramain Swindall

Defensive player of the day: Marlon Williams

Defensive play of the day: Darcel McBath outfighting a receiver for an interception.

Quote of the day: "Hey, HEY!!! Play fast, now. PLAY FAST!" –Defensive Coordinator Ruffin McNeil to his starters during the pass skeleton drill.

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