Sheffield Struggles in Scrimmage: The big news yesterday was that QB Steven Sheffield admitted that he clearly struggled in yesterday's scrimmage. The official site has a few notes, nothing really ground-breaking, but there's about 20 minutes of post-scrimmage video from head coach Tommy Tuverville, offensive coordinator Neal Brown, defensive coordinator James Willis, QB Taylor Potts, QB Steven Sheffield, LB Brian Duncan and DT Colby Whitlock. While listening, I took some notes (not a transcript, emphasis mine):
Tommy Tuberville: Good start, nice to get some things on film. Organized, lots of work to do. Looks at effort and assignment. Kicking game needs work. Good effort today. On Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield it's about making the right decision because one will be running with the second team, both made good decisions and bad decisions. On other parts of the game, the defense played with intensity early, but gave up some touchdowns. Some reps will change as a result of this scrimmage, and will change next week as well. RB Eric Stephens looked good, RB Baron Batch sat out this scrimmage with a sore shoulder. Will pick up running, although their endurance has been good. Not in playing shape yet.
Neal Brown: Initial reactions was that there was good effort, wants to wait to see the film to evaluate. Potts and Sheffield were pretty even before today, there will be another test next week. Thought the offensive line performed well, needs to find cohesion, Justin Keown solidified at center, Chris Olson stepped out to right tackle. Thought the running backs were okay, but held out Batch and Stephens for the most part. Best receivers thus far are Alexander Torres, Detron Lewis, Lyle Leong and Jacoby Franks. Franks has had the best camp thus far of the receivers.
James Willis: Overall pleased. Played fast, trying not to overwhelm. The safeties and secondary are playing well, LB Bront Bird is the heart of the defense and playing well. Have more depth at defensive line, good competition. Now has to get the right combination. Scott Smith is unbelievable, but he's physical. Practice fast to put pressure on the defense so that the game slows down.
Taylor Potts: Asked about Sheffield saying that Potts had the better day: Coach will assess his performance, and his goal is to just have fun. Lot of fun playing in the scrimmage. Trying to stay confident the entire camp, he is confident he has the skills. Knows it's just a matter of going out and doing it. Knows he's not the greatest quarterback ever, he knows he doesn't have to be great. OC Brown is very fundamental specific and knowing what to pick out while watching film.
Steven Sheffield: Could have went better on his end. Didn't have many good plays. Made a bunch of dumb decisions. Knew the scrimmage was important, tried to do too much. Definitely hurt his chances, but will have to work hard next week.
Brian Duncan: Still have a lot to learn on the defense. Lead defense dominated today. Duncan's adjustment is that he's going to be very versatile. Like to play against this offense because this offense plays so fast and the games will be slower. Thinks the team finished better. Got a sack on Sheffield. The offense is more aggressive. Thinks the running game, screen game and passing game are going to be good. The offensive line is much faster.
Colby Whitlock: The defense is much different. Much more aggressive. With Myles Wade and Donald Langley, he doesn't think they took a step back in terms of talent. The coaching styles between Tuberville and Leach, the current coaches are all business, not that the former staff wasn't. Scott Smith and newcomers are adjusting well.
Well, this is delicious isn't it? Sheffield stating publicly that he struggled is pretty significant. Again, we really don't know (no one knows since practices are closed) what happened, other than taking Sheffield at his word. I keep asking this question, but if you're OC Brown and you're basing your decision on who is the better quarterback, what criteria do you use? What if Sheffield sucks it up the entire fall practice? What if Potts shines? Who are you going to be disappointed in? Are you going to "blame" Tuberville or OC Brown for making a decision on a quarterback or are you going to "blame" Sheffield for not stepping up and being a better player?
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'll cheer for whoever starts.
LAJ's Don Williams has the direct quotes from Sheffield:
Sheffield, often jovial with the media, was grim.
When asked in what way he had performed poorly, Sheffield replied, "Just everything."
"Every play basically," he said. "I didn’t do many good things. More than anything, I just didn’t do what I’d practiced all week and implement the stuff that we put in all week. I just made a bunch of dumb decisions. I don’t know if I thought too much or didn’t think enough, but yeah, it’s got to improve. Real soon."
Notes, Notes and More Notes: LAJ's Don Williams has some notes from yesterday. As mentioned above, Keown is solidly at center, and Olson is at right tackle. OC Brown had this to say about the tackle competition:
Conspicuously missing from that tackles discussion was sophomore Terry McDaniel, who started four games last year before going out with a knee injury.
Brown said McDaniel didn’t practice well last week and needs to pick up his level of play.
"With Terry, it’s not a physical deal," Brown said. "It’s mental. He needs to play with more confidence. It’s hard to play on the edge if you’re not real, real confident. Hopefully, he can have a better week. It’s basically Okafor and Waddle and Olson competing right now. Beau Carpenter’s in the mix, too."
McDaniel needs to get his ass in gear.
Brown Knows Pressure: LAJ's Adam Zuvanich writes about how OC Brown knows that there's pressure as offensive coordinator for this offense, but Brown seems to keep things in perspective:
"There’s things that really are pressure," Brown said. "If you’ve got a couple of kids and you get fired, that’s pressure. If you’ve got a loved one that’s sick and you’ve got to take care of them, that’s pressure. This isn’t real pressure.
"The worst thing that can happen with either one of these guys is they’re not the starting quarterback. We’re going to deal with it either way. I tell them all the time, there’s three billion Chinese that don’t care who the starting quarterback is at Texas Tech, so I don’t feel pressure."