So we're two weeks into the fall practice campaign and being overly pessimistic, I'm still worried about a few things. Let's go in order of position, offense today and defense tomorrow.
Quarterback: There's really not much to worry about here, except for the unthinkable (we're not going to mention it so as not to jinx a certain player). Early in camp we heard reports that Taylor Potts was still struggling with timing, holding onto the ball too long, but apparently Potts has looked better of late and he's done a much better job of getting rid of the ball.
Running Back: The only thing that bothers me here is production. All I care about is the bottom line with these guys and although my favorite is Baron Batch, I could care less who succeeds. I think it's pretty clear that it's Shannon Woods is on the fast track to being the starter. I'm wondering if Leach is going to give Crawford goal line carries while Batch might be a a third down option, but those opportunities are going to be few and far between and Leach hasn't shown a propensity to share the running back role before. I slightly worry about the mentality of the runners left out of the picture. Heralded freshman Harrison Jeffers is the highest rated out of high school of the four and he may never see a down this year. Can these guys put egos aside?
Receiver: This is the position that concerns me the least. This group is led by a difference-maker (Mr. Crabtree), a work-horse (Eric Morris), a speedster (Ed Britton) and a Crabtree-clone (Detron Lewis). This doesn't even consider the incredibly diverse group of back-ups who are seeing some valuable time in practice, like Rashad Haw, Adam James, Tramain Swindall, Adrian Reese and Lyle Leong. There's almost too many guys to mention here, which is a nice problem to have. I don't worry too much about playing time as I do with running backs because I think most guys know that if you catch the ball, you're going to play receiver for Texas Tech. I think it's the guys who don't see as much time as you might not think have one of two problems: they can't catch or they don't understand how to get open in the system. If I had to pick a concern, it would be the same concern for the quarterback, but we're not going to mention names or any of that other stuff.
Offensive Line: Quality depth bothers me tremendously. Offensive line coach Matt Moore spent the better part of spring practice with Mickey Okafor at left tackle and just recently Chris Olson, who wasn't a bad recruit in his own right, but is inexperienced, is moved to left tackle. Olson is also relatively light for a left tackle (only 285) and in comparison to Rylan Reed, which is unfair, he just doesn't look as intimidating (I know, that's completely superficial). I will say this, I trust Moore to put the most talented guys on the field and he's not afraid to make a change in the middle of the season. The more I think about Olson at left tackle, the more it makes sense, he is by far the oldest of the tackle options (Castillo FR, McDaniel FR, Okafor RS FR, King FR and Delpeche RS FR). Let's just all hope that Rylan Reed is healed and ready to go at the start of the season. I realize that should Reed be unavailable then Vasquez will move to left tackle, Hamby will move to left guard and Byrnes will move into the center position and that's not a bad Plan-B, but it's not as good as having Reed and Vasquez anchor that left side. I also wouldn't mind seeing Okafor have some success on the right tackle at some point during the year because if Winn can't play, then he's the guy. I realize that Johnson started the year at right tackle, but I get the feeling that moving Johnson anywhere but at guard is no longer an option.