Wednesday Practice Report

The Texas Tech Red Raiders practiced again today, this time exclusively at the Football Training Facility. After a dismal effort Monday, the Raiders looked to redeem themselves in the eyes of the coaching staff. Come inside to see how today's practice went on a surprisingly nice West Texas day in RaiderPower's Wednesday practice report.

Practice Observations

Texas Tech quarterbacks Taylor Potts, Steven Sheffield, and Seth Doege all had strong days. Sheffield seems to have the commanding lead as the back-up to the heir apparent starter in Potts, though Doege also looked good during both skeleton drills and team practice.

Aaron Crawford joined Jamar Wall, Chris Perry, and De'Shon Sanders were still on muscle beach while Brandon Carter was at practice but not with the other injured players.

• The offensive line that struggled so mightily Monday looked much better today, especially Terry McDaniel. When the second team was on the field, Chris Olson moved inside to center from left guard.

• Sam Fehoko and Tyrone Sonier have seen the light, and both are advancing at a rapid rate. Sonier demolished a screen in the backfield while Fehoko made a strong tackle for loss against Baron Batch.

Franklin Mitchem had a good day, as did Cody Davis. It appears that Davis is "technically" the free safety while Mitchem is the strong safety. However, the two switch places often enough that the positions should just be called safety.

Brandon Sesay was pushed into Taylor Potts at one point during practice and was told by Coach Mike Leach to run a lap around the practice facility. Sesay was in fact pushed into Potts by right tackle Marlon Winn, but it was this dust up that really brought out the fire and competitiveness in the players during the later stages of practice.

Brent Nickerson was displaced as the starting left corner in practice by Taylor Charbonnet, who looks to have kept his speed while adding some sizeable bulk.

Brian Duncan intercepted a pass during practice while Ryan Haliburton had a tremendous pass-rush, though he has the funniest nickname on the team as "Hally Berry"

• Alexander Torres, the recently publicized receiver, had another strong day in practice. The junior transfer student has a very smooth catching motion and strong routes. Torres is a fair amount like former Raider great Mickey Peters.

Adrian Reese looks completely different this Spring than he has any other period during his time on campus. Instead of looking slow and clumsy, he is tough, physical, strong, and has a mean streak.

Colby Whitlock blasted Baron Batch in the backfield. Whitlock doesn't talk much, but is easily the nastiest defensive lineman on the roster.

Rajon Henley was back in the starting line-up at defensive tackle after spending time at left defensive end Monday. Brandon Sesay has spent more time at left end, including with the starting group, now that Victor Hunter has transitioned to defensive tackle.

David Neill was back to playing guard with a little tackle mixed in. The mix and match offensive line groupings are a hallmark of a Matt Moore offensive line unit.

• Ruffin McNeil spent a lot of time working with the linebackers today and it showed in team practice.

An Aside

This is my third consecutive spring to cover Tech football. In my time, I've seen a team go from being expected to win 7 or 8 games to the National spotlight.

I've seen first round draft picks and busts of epic proportions, I've seen coaches yelling at coaches and players beating each other with helmets.

I've seen defensive tackles hugging quarterbacks and kickers talking trash.

But perhaps the most interesting part of this Spring is that for the first time since I have been doing this job, it is the defense, not the offense, that sets the tone in practice.

To say that this is a change from years before would be a disservice to the complete and total change in attitude that has overtaken the "SWARM" defense.

While Cody Davis and Franklin Mitchem are seeing their first true action at safety, they are both very talented and have a deep and effective front 7 to play behind.

I won't make any bold predictions as to what this defense is capable of, but I wouldn't be surprised if the D, not the O, was the one to carry this team early in the season.

Awards

Offensive player of the day: Detron Lewis

Catch of the day: A diving catch by Adrian Reese in the end zone during 1-on-1 drills.

Defensive player of the day: Bront Bird

Defensive play of the day: The vicious hit made by Colby Whitlock on Baron Batch in the backfield.

Quote of the day: "Frank, you're moving so much better, the first day you looked like Daffy Duck!"

-Defensive Coordinator Ruffin McNeil to safety Franklin Mitchem, after a particularly good play during the early portions of practice.


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