April 14, 2006

Ten to watch on Saturday

Saturday's Red & Black Game is the culmination of four weeks of spring practice for the Texas Tech football team. RedRaiderSports.com's Chris Level takes a look at ten players on which you should keep your eye. This list certainly could have been longer but we narrowed the list to five players on each side of the ball. Some might surprise you and some won't.

The Air Raid

C - Shawn Byrnes (#64) - Was recruited really late for the 2005 class and some incorrectly felt like he was an afterthought. Byrnes has really emerged this spring and according to some has passed Josh Aleman for snaps at center in a back-up role. Although Aleman has practiced better in the last week Byrnes will likely start with the first team offense on Saturday.

WR - Joel Filani (#8) - Very durable and has freakish ability, will go down as one of the all-time greats at Texas Tech. It's been an amazing transformation watching Filani grow from a tall, skinny guy that couldn't consistently hold onto the ball to what he is now. He's still tall but he's big and provides a huge frame to throw to and he very, very rarely drops a pass anymore. He's a difference maker, which is the ideal compliment and Tech doesn't always have many of those types and Filani could be the best.

LT - Glenn January (#69) - January went up against Keyunta Dawson midway through spring practice in the opening, tempo setting type of drill that Leach started every spring practice with and beat Dawson handily. He's playing with an improved mental toughness now, better technique and quicker lateral movement. Can he carry it into the season is the question? Hopefully so.

QB's - Graham Harrell (#9 Blue Jersey) & Chris Todd (#13 Blue Jersey) - Shocker that most fans will want to see what they are all about. Whatever each does will get way overblown, good or bad. Remember its just another practice in Leach's eyes, it just so happens that more fans will see it and try to draw conclusions from it into the summer. Leach is evaluating their body of work and that includes fourteen other practices. Enjoy watching them though, they are both really good and can make all of the throws.

RB - Shannon Woods (#21) - Yes he's more explosive than Taurean Henderson and yes he's a tougher runner than Taurean Henderson but running is the least of his problems. Watch him closer on the plays when he's not taking a hand off and you'll learn where Tech stands at running back heading into the summer. Woods could be dynamite but pass protection and his hands out of the backfield is where he doesn't compare to Taurean, yet.

Almost made it: WR - Catron Houston (#2)

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