Due to the chance of weather tomorrow, Texas Tech elected to have their Spring Scrimmage today at 3:30 PM as opposed to 1 PM tomorrow. Here's what you missed.
I though Texas Tech tackled very well. There were a couple of mishaps early on, but they were fixed later. Kris Williams in particular had an outstanding scrimmage in terms of tackling. I don't believe I saw him miss one, although we did see a few blown tackles in the secondary.
The offense was very vanilla, and even only running their most basic packages they were still able to move the ball. They weren't at their usual breakneck pace, but without Devin Lauderdale, Robert Castaneda (unknown reasons), and Justin Murphy (injury) that's to be expected.
Quan Shorts and Cam Batson had the best scrimmage out of the WRs. They blocked well, and when they were able to get their hands on the ball they made plays. Quan Shorts in particular had a stellar catch-and-tiptoe up the sideline for a touchdown.
We will have depth at the linebacker position this year. Dakota Allen had a monster leap to pick off Patrick Mahomes in the red zone, Malik Jenkins had a pick 6, Kris Williams recorded a sack, and Picone looked great with the second team linebackers. If nothing else, we know that we won't have to stick to a struggling player in our linebacking corps, we'll have quality backups to replace him if needed.
Cantrell and Willies on the same field together are monstrous. They have the height to go up and get just about any pass you can throw at them. Willies didn't catch a huge pass in this scrimmage, but his moves on several screen plays were phenomenal. Cantrell looks to be at full health too.
The defense had four total picks. Three of these passes were tipped balls too, the type that Gibbs has coached them to go get for the past two years. Out of all the mixed signals of Spring Football, this is a really good omen.
Patrick Mahomes had two picks: one tipped pass and one that was taken away by Dakota Allen. Obviously, this is not a positive. However, it is also not a negative, as there's little you can do about a tipped pass, and Allen had to jump nearly as high as the crossbar to take the ball away from the WR. It wasn't good, but I don't think these were two mental errors. They were just a casualty of football.
JahShawn Johnson and Keenon Ward had a couple of great plays, but they also had a couple of whiffs. We depend on these guys to bring ballcarriers down, and in a couple of key situations they really missed the mark. It could have been worse, but it could have been a lot better.
I'm not sold on the physicality of our downfield blocking without Devin Lauderdale. Batson and Shorts blocked well, but their biggest impact was catching the ball. Lauderdale can break games wide open blocking and receiving, and we need him back at that SE position.
I didn't like our OL. I understand that they were missing Justin Murphy and Robert Castaneda, but per Don Williams, we're not sure if Castaneda will make it back. We'll really need Murphy to anchor a young offensive line if we're going to give our QBs the time they need.
There were a lot of positives to talk about here. There's going to be a lot of people emerging in the fall, a lot of young men that have something to prove. We'll have a defense that's out to prove that they aren't the wet cardboard box of the past. We'll have an offense out to prove that they aren't a fluke. I like our chances in 2016, and I can't wait until we finally get to strap it up for real.