The big winners were Justin Stockton, Cameron Batson, Kolin Hill, and Dakota Allen. All of these names will soon be known around the Big XII. While I'm specifically worried about Stockton's role (I'll elaborate later on), there is no denying that he is a terrifying player to defend. Batson showed a lot of consistency, and looks to fill the "Jakeem Grant" role along with Ian Sadler. Hill and Allen were the definite defensive standouts.
It's still too early to be able to tell wether this Texas Tech team has improved or not, and that's okay. The whole vibe of this scrimmage was set to compete hard but not give anything of substance away, and in that measure it was a success. The defense looked okay with a couple of standouts, and the offense did it's normal Texas Tech Offense thing.
This quote from the Texas Tech TV interview with Patrick Mahomes got me really fired up: "To be the best offense in the country, nothing less. I think last year we were #2, and that’s not acceptable". I mean seriously guys, this was a record breaking offense in 2015, and they're not satisfied. I really like the cut of this jib, and it goes to show that vocal leadership we've been talking about.
I thought Zach Austin is a guy that didn't get a lot of fanfare, but had a great scrimmage. He caught the ball well, and even more importantly, ran his routes a lot crisper than he had in the past.
The best thing out of the scrimmage was the tackling of Dakota Allen. Tech fans have prayed for a sure tackler for quite some time now, and we definitely have it in Dakota Allen. He impressed as a redshirt freshman, and he's going to be a big part of the defense going forward.
Ondre Pipkins did not end up playing, but the other transfer, Kolin Hill, did, and oh did he impress. Hill was all over the field yesterday, making sacks, tackles, and generally disrupting the offense. If we can rely on Hill, Zach Barnes, and Gary Moore to generate pressure, we'll be that much better. Our defense has struggled to rush the passer the past couple of years, and having a legitimate pass rush is going to help a whole lot.
Speaking of the defense, 5 different players recorded "tap-sacks" on Saturday. This is one of the best things to come out of the scrimmage. Having one dominant pass rusher is good, but if we can set ourselves up with multiple guys that can get after the QB, we'll be great in the near future. Pressuring the QB is arguably the biggest part of defending the pass, an area that we struggled heavily in throughout the 2015 season. If the DL can get a consistent rush on the opposition it's going to help our DBs out that much more.
The OL looked shaky towards the end, getting a lot of false start penalties. This isn't a good sign going forward. We've struggled for a while at keeping the yellow hankies off the turf, and yesterday didn't show much change in that regard. We have to be better at cutting down on unnecessary penalties if we want to compete in this conference.
Here at VTM, we all have our favorite players. I'm in the middle of a budding love affair with Dakota Allen and Kolin Hill. Others have expressed their love of former running back DeAndre Washington. Others are insanely excited about Justin Stockton. The one thing that binds us together is our collective love of Jett Duffey, and he definitely stoked the fires of our excitement yesterday. He threw a dime to Derrick Willies for a 48-yard TD, didn't turn the ball over, and hit several more difficult throws. Nic Shimonek didn't play in the scrimmage, and if he stays injured, there's a great chance that Duffey doesn't redshirt and enters the fall as the clear #2.
I'm still worried about the running backs and their typecast roles. We saw a heavy dose of Felton between the tackles, with Dauphine and Stockton handling the outside runs. Unless we can get a guy who can do everything, defenses will set keys based on which running back is in the game. I've said it once, I'll say it again: It's frustrating watching linebackers creep up to the edges when Justin Stockton is on the field, because they know that there's around a 95% chance that he's getting a screen or a sweep. We need to break this predictable trend that we're going down. Then again, this is merely a Spring Scrimmage, not the real thing, so who knows what we'll see.
It's hard to gauge Spring Football, and a lot of people are going to lean towards positivity going forward because we don't know how we'll look comparatively until we play another team. I'll lean towards positivity as well, but based on what we've seen there are some concerns that we still have going into our 2016 campaign.
TWEETS AND VIDEO:
DE Gary Moore made some plays today, as well. Dude has the talent and got after a few of the OTs.— Will McKay (@Will_R_Mckay) April 2, 2016
Cam Batson having a nice scrimmage so far. Several big catches, including a 27 yarder in the right corner from Mahomes.— Will McKay (@Will_R_Mckay) April 2, 2016
Dakota Allen on how the defense played today pic.twitter.com/Y2Kqzb5hIr— Nicholas Ryan Talbot (@NicholasRTalbot) April 2, 2016
Everyone's favorite reporter Brian Holland talkin' about the sports. Also, Derrick Willies dunking a football on a goalpost.