Esprit de Corps: I know it sounds maudlin and sappy, but one hallmark of the current edition of the Red Raiders is that these guys seem to care about one another. They support one another. They encourage one another. They cheer for one another. And they seem very tightly knit.
Things got a little chippy in today’s practice, but these dust ups were minor in comparison to what we’ve seen before. The 2006 Red Raiders, for instance, fought one another like the Mongols and the Turks practically every single day. It was amazing that nobody ended up in the hospital. The 2012 Tech team is just the opposite.
Now obviously, this phenomenon springs straight from the top. Tommy Tuberville and his staff are preaching camaraderie, and it seems to be taking. Will this “band of brothers” behavior result in an extra check in the win column? Who knows, but a team unified seems far more likely to succeed than one that is divided.
Bitten By the Bug: The flu-like malady that kayoed Deveric Gallington and LaAdrian Waddle yesterday, seems to have sidelined Terry McDaniel and Bryan Thomas today. Odd that the offensive line seems to have been hit disproportionately by this illness.
Mackey’s Day: Leon Mackey got off to a bad start when Tony Morales body slammed him in an early line drill. Mackey bounced back, though. In running game drills he blew past Le’Raven Clark for a tackle for loss. Later, in another set of line drills, he hit Morales with an initial “punch” that drove the backup center a good two yards off the ball. Then, during team drills, he roared past Jared Kaster to record what would have been a sack on Michael Brewer had he not pulled up. This was Mackey’s best practice so far.
A Name for the Future: I like this true freshman tackle Trey Keenan. Obviously, Keenan’s still learning the ropes and is a bit unsure of himself, but he still looks like he belongs on a Big 12 field. He’ll probably redshirt, but one way or another I believe Trey Keenan is a bona fide keeper.
Waddle’s Return: I’d bet you a chicken fried steak dinner that LaAdrian Waddle was no more than 80 percent today, but Waddle at 80 percent is still better than the vast majority of tackles at 100 percent strength. Now like Leon Mackey, he got off to a rough start; Dartwan Bush trucked him in the early line drills, but it was lights out for Waddle from that point on. He hammered Delvon Simmons off the line in running game drills. Then, in later line drills, he pancaked Pete Robertson not once but twice. Pete Robertson gave Rashad Fortenberry fits the day before. Just goes to show the difference between Tech’s first- and second-string left tackles.
Jackson in the Hole: Defensive end Jackson Richards played some defensive tackle today and looked good doing so.
More on Bell: In the post-practice presser Tommy Tuberville came out and stated what’s becoming increasingly obvious: Javon Bell is the fastest player on the roster. This fact is most noticeable on the tunnel screen. When Bell catches this pass in stride with nobody draped around his neck, you can be assured he is going for at least 15 yards, if not the length of the field for a touchdown. Bell gets the ball in his hands, ignites the gas turbines, and absolutely jets across the field. If he can make the corner on the far sideline, he’s gone.
Branden Quiet: After concluding spring camp with a strong flourish, freshman defensive end Branden Jackson has gotten off to a very slow start in August. At this point he’s just not accomplishing much in line or team drills. Le’Raven Clark wore him out today, just like Terry McDaniel did yesterday.
Of Offense and Defense: The defensive line thoroughly owned the offensive line in line drills. As Tuberville mentioned in the presser, the defensive line got in the offensive line’s head and forced them to lose their poise. But it was a different story in team drills, where the offense completely dominated. Michael Brewer got hot in later team drills and cooked the defense with beautiful strikes to Derek Edwards, Marcus Kennard and Darrin Moore. A bit later Javon Bell got behind Bruce Jones and J. J. Gaines for one of his customary deep touchdowns.