Miami Hurricanes 2019 Spring Game
Spring practice is in the books as the last scrimmage comes to a close in Orlando at Camping World Stadium. After watching closely at the team so far through the coaching and roster changes its safe to say there is a New Miami. It is still VERY EARLY to determine if come Aug 24th this team will be ready against the Florida Gators with many question marks and new positions that will have HUGE gaps to fill BUT we still have time. My observations by the last scrimmage today, you can see their are many positions where depth is a major concern. These positions will soon have more players coming in whether it be incoming freshman or a transfer from the portal but again we have time. So far with this time Coach Manny Diaz has not only created a new atmosphere for this Miami program but looks like he’s starting to put the right pieces together to really make this program go to the next level. Offensive coordinator Dan Enos so far has done a excellent job already turning a once was a completely bland offense into something fans have been asking for. You see early motions, 2 TE sets, and a smooth reverse Wiggins, Pope and I’m sure JT4 soon to come back in this what looks like potent offense. We start with the biggest ? of this team that has yet to be answered, the QB position. This battle has been something we all have wanted to see and I think all have been quite impressed and also questioned at times with all 3 at certain moments. Today, I think Tate Martell looked very good at his decision making and playmaking ability, especially when the pocket collapsed. He has struggled as we know through Fall so far at being consistent with throws and accuracy but today he showed he can bounce back and had that QB1 mentality we all knew he had. I think with the more time Tate gets comfortable being in Miami and in this new offense the more of this Tate we saw today we can possibly see in the future. Nkosi Perry, who right now looks like the favorite to start come Aug24th looked very consistent again at scrimmage with very good balls thrown even had a few great throws rolling outside the pocket throwing opposite of his body. Dan Enos alone has really made Perry look like a whole different QB so far just by his demeanor and how much more comfortable you can tell heʼs playing in this offense. Look for 5 to show not only his teammates but the fans not to count him out of this battle. As for Jarren Williams, who what most fans thought would be QB1 right now was very quiet at todayʼs scrimmage which was somewhat do to how many snaps he got along with playing with a very inconsistent 2nd team offensive line right now. He had very few throws today and not much time as our defensive line had a feast specifically young talented freshman Jafari Harvey and sophomore Nesta Silvera. I think as time goes on when no media or coaches are around will be the true test to see if Jarren makes the next step all us Cane fans are hoping he makes but untill then this QB battle is still WIDE open. At RB we clearly have a 1-2 punch with Dallas and Harris who have both consistently shown flashes of big plays along with how versatile each can be in this offense. Running Back Coach Hickson I did see however at todayʼs scrimmage in Camron Harris ear on a certain running play where he still showed some of the youth in him where he clearly missed a huge lane to run for a possible big gain. Deejay was very consistent again today and has really matured even more from last year. I expect him and Camron to carry this running load until Redshirt Freshman Lorenzo Lingard comes back and tries to crack the rotation. The Tight ends have been probably the best group we have had so far and you can really see why Miami is considered TEU. Brevin Jordan who has been sidelined for a couple weeks now should be fine for practice come August and should be exactly what he was last year DOMINANT. As for Will Mallory the other highly talented Freshman with Brevin last year, has probably had the most consistent camp so far on this team. He had once again another impressive day today with great catches from all 3 QBs but specifically a TD pass in the back of the end zone as well as a strike from Perry that was a little behind but made the catch in stride to turn up field for a big gain. Look for Mallory to continue to be a huge weapon in this offense making him a matchup nightmare. Lastly Michael Irvin II who has what seemed to be forgotten really showed why he deserves some attention in todayʼs scrimmage. He has made huge strides this offseason from what coaches are saying and had probably the best catch of the day with a leaping TD in the endzone. Once Brevin comes back you most likely wonʼt see Irvin as much but really like what Iʼm seeing from ALL the tight ends where you can see Enos offense really being TE friendly causing headaches for opposing defenses. The WRs have been on and off the field all spring it seems and havenʼt really seen a full glimpse of everyone healthy out there at once but 1 thing is forrsure, KJ Osborn is the real deal. Other than 1 drop ball today on a slant pass, the transfer from Buffalo has looked damn near as advertised. Bringing that veteran mentality by working extra after practices you can really see it in full effect in these scrimmages. The other standout at WR is freshman Jeremiah Payton. This kid has been being be raved about by the coaching staff and today he showed why. Had many catches and looked nothing like a high schooler. Donʼt be surprised if you see Payton become possibly the 3rd WR along with Osborn and Thomas come Aug 24th if he continues to work. He had many praises after the
spring game today from teammates specifically Ahmmon Richards who not only sees himself in him but thinks could be a Freshman All American. With Thomas, Harley, Hightower and others out the depth showed at todayʼs scrimmage but shouldnʼt be a issue come August. Finally for the offense, one of the biggest concerns the Hurricane fan base wanted answers to was the offensive line. The starting offensive line today looked like Zion Nelson, DJ Scaife, Navaughn Donaldson at center , Cleveland Reed,
Kai-Leon Herbert at the other tackle. We have yet to find a consistent five but I do think we are getting closer at finding the right 5 and players being moved in positions not used to playing shows we are still trying to see what works. Donaldson is starting to look more and more comfortable at center being the versatile player he is. The concern you can see and what we thought all through fall was the depth at o line and it showed. Our 2nd team o line either is that bad or the defensive line is that good. Still to early to tell but a few of the players still have a long way before being ready for the game in Orlando. Coach Barry I think as a whole has done a pretty decent job at coaching these guys fundamentally and putting some good weight on them in the right places, just need to find the right position for some of them. As a offensive whole we have came a very long way already from the once vanilla offense but still would have to say we need more time to be ready for the Florida Gators come August 24th.
The Defense on the other hand looks nothing different so far under DC Baker. He has brought exactly what Manny Diaz created on this defenses and honestly look like they havenʼt missed a beat. Starting with the defensive line which looks like the strongest and deepest of positions on defense playing lights out. Our young talented guys like Gregory Rousseau and Jafari Harvey really making their presence known along with seasoned vets like Patchan and Garvin who were all making plays today. Add Virgina Tech Trevon Hill at the end of this month and youʼre looking at what could be the best defensive end group we have had in years. The tackles made a few plays as well today from sacks and tackles for loss
for Silvera, Miller and veteran Pat Bethel. Nesta Silvera specifically as coaches have said all Fall just looks like he took another step so far. Playing with a high end motor, feisty edge and really seemed to enjoy himself in Orlando today. Look for him to be in a few of the opponents facemask come August wether thatʼs after a tackle or just straight talking trash! I love what I see as a whole on the defensive line but still some depth issues at tackle which will be handled in a few weeks with a few freshman from up north and some possible transfers as well. The linebackers seems like they have gone unnoticed and it isnʼt a bad thing. Veterans Pinckney and Shaq have really just been themselves showing this new coaching staff and younger guys why they lead by example. They havenʼt missed a beat and look a
step quicker I might say. With Bradley Jennings going down last practice and already slim at the position,
defensive end/linebacker Patrick Joyner really took a step forward today. Had a few tackles and most ended up in losses and just looked very comfortable out there. He seemed around the ball at all times and with the position slim look for him to stay at this position providing a little more depth. Jennings injury not being too serious along with freshmen Sam Brooks and Avery Huff I think will give this LB group enough depth. The question wonʼt be if these kids can play football but can they make a instant impact. Only time will tell but the hybrid position seems to be filling in that LB question in the meantime pretty smoothly. Guys like Romeo Finely and Derrick Smith who were comfortable at the position, now have another player to battle playing time with. Gilbert Frierson who last year looked lost at times at corner really seems to have found himself in a role he fits well. Gilbert was all over the field today making plays in the backfield disrupting runs before they even had a chance. Lastly, the secondary had A LOT of new faces today which we saw today was mostly due to just not having all of our guys yet. Just clearly slim right now with players but Bandy has been Bandy(a DOG) while young sophomores Ivey and Blades both showed some glimpses on why they should be on the other side of Bandy. I think both guys have their strength and weaknesses and with more time with Coach Rumph can fill the other corner spot nicely. Ivey has a nice pass break towards the end of the scrimmage on a route across the middle while Blades lowered his shoulder for a huge hit. Gurvan Hall was in a lot as well today and looked pretty good. This defense as whole looks like they can be great once again and I expect for our front 4 to give Felipe Franks and the very untested offensive line. If we played the game today I do not think our guys would be ready but in a couple months we will see a whole different team out there with many new faces. Faces I think can become household names and make a instant impact on this team. The holes and depth issues we are seeing currently should be answered in a couple months but Manny Diaz and this staff have definitely put in the work to really show the fans, recruits and players on this team that itʼs truly a New Miami.
On a side note the attendance today in Orlando was just under 10k with former NFL player Devin Hester and Cleveland Browns Tight end David Njoku at todayʼs game. We also had a few boos today which werenʼt intended at Tate Martells throws but at UF and FSU fans! And whatʼs a Miami game without a few whiffed punts with nobody and I mean NOBODY around. This of course should not be an issue anymore when the Aussie from down under Louis Hedley joins the team. Shout out to the Big3Rollup for giving us fans a platform and Go Canes!!!