Defensive players emerge in Monday's practice

Defensive players emerge in Monday's practice

Texas Tech cornerback Taylor Charbonnet and linebacker Sam Fehoko were nothing more than names on paper to many people before the start of spring practice. Things have taken a complete 180 though, as they both have begun to shine in the past week.


Big Things Come in Small Packages

There are two members of the Charbonnet family on the roster for Texas Tech. Daniel Charbonnet, the elder of the two, transferred to Tech from Duke after the 2004 season.

Although Taylor is the younger and smaller of the two brothers, that doesn't mean he can't make an impact out on the field

The official Texas Tech roster lists red-shirt freshman Taylor Charbonnet as a 5' 10" tall, 160 pound cornerback, which may be a little generous. Obviously, Charbonnet is not an imposing physical specimen.

But you'd never notice his diminuitive size watching him play. His progress from the first day of spring practice on March 24th has been amazing.

"The first part of spring it was just more of a learning thing, but once [I] started figuring out what I was doing, it came real quick, just like playing again," Charbonnet expalined.

The younger Charbonnet also went on to talk about how he plays and how he sees the game.

"At first it was something I had to think about, but then once you learn it and it becomes natural to you; it's just instinct."

Charbonnet spent the majority of today's practice with the first team, working at the open right corner spot. Over the course of the afternoon, he had several good pass break-ups along with a tremendous open-field tackle to put a stop to what could have been a big gain for Aaron Crawford.


Fehoko Making Strides

Another member of the 2007 signing class that has begun to impress is red-shirt freshman Sam Fehoko. Fehoko, a defensive-end converted to middle linebacker, hails from Hawaii. Although he was dominant as a high-school player, he has had to make some adjustments to since moving to linebacker at Tech.

"It's a pretty dramatic change," Fehoko, still holding his shoulder pads and helmet, said. "7-on-7 is a totally new thing to me.

"I dropped back in high school a little bit at defensive end because I was a pretty fast defensive end, but other than that I love playing linebacker. Just go ahead and hit people. Being the middle linebacker you get a lot more room and you get to make a lot more plays.

"I came out here to perform, I came out here to compete," he continued. "Last year was a learning experience, changing positions. This year I've got a little bit to work on but I'm ready to go this year."

Fehoko, who up until Friday had been the primary target for Defensive Coordinator Ruffin McNeil's wrath, has started coming on strong and made several punishing stops today, including blowing up a run play in the backfield and tackling Kobey Lewis for a 1 yard loss.

As for McNeil's wrath, it doesn't seem to have soured Fehoko's impression of his position coach and defensive coordinator.

"I mean, I love this guy. He's a motivator, he knows what he's doing as a defensive coordinator," said Fehoko. "He's not as technical, he just makes it simple and makes up play and use our talents as linebackers."

As for former defensive coordinator and linebacker Coach Lyle Setencich's style, Fehoko gave a little insight into why McNeil's scheme was such a change.

"When Coach Setencich was here it was more technical... our minds were clouded. Now we're able to react faster and play down-hill."


News and Notes

- Defensive ends Brandon Williams, Daniel Howard, McKinner Dixon, and Brandon Sharpe are all developing into extremely powerful pass-rushers. Sharpe, in particular, has impressed with his performance in Saturday's scrimmage as well as a batted pass today, a sack, and a tackle-for-loss safety.

- Michael Crabtree can throw the football. Today he threw the ball several times from the famous "Kingsbury to Peters to Welker" formation and while he threw incomplete during the team portion of practice, this could prove to be a viable weapon for the Air Raid offense this coming season.

- Shannon Woods and Aaron Crawford worked with the starting offensive unit during the 7-on-7 drill while Baron Batch and Kobey Lewis joined them for the team portion of practice.


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