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Coach Speak: Richt and Brown talk spring start, position competitions

Coach Speak: Richt and Brown talk spring start, position competitions

Stefan Adams
Richt pleased with the team’s start to spring ball


It’s been a long three months, but Miami football is finally back in action and the team was chomping at the bit to get after it on the field. Canes head coach Mark Richt was ready too and he was satisfied with the level of effort and competitiveness shown by his Hurricanes in their first 2018 spring practice on Greentree.

“Day 1, as you can tell, it was a little bit warm, had a little breeze,” Richt said. “I thought we competed really well. It’s just fun to come out here. It’s really just how we come out here, how we stretch, from drill to drill, how we buckle up our chin-strap on every play.”

Spring ball is filled with true freshmen early enrollees that are still catching up with the standards for being a college athlete. Miami had ten such mid-year guys, and while they still have a ways to go, Richt is excited for their future prospects.

“We got a couple young guys that are still trying to figure out what’s up, and you can tell you can tell their conditioning isn’t where it should be, but they’ve been here working for the past month and a half, two months, to give themselves a chance,” Richt said. “I was pleased with Day 1 for sure.”

Besides senior QB Malik Rosier, the rest of the QB room is filled with redshirt or true freshmen. How much are the coaches comfortable throwing at the young guys this early in the spring?

“Well, we install a certain amount of plays against the coverages that we know we’ll see,” Richt said. “How do they take it from the meeting room to the field? One part of it is a mental process, to be able to throw it to the right guy at the right time. The other part of it is, can you hit your target and get it to the right guy? Or, if everybody’s covered, what do you do now? Do you scramble? Do you throw the ball out of bounds? Do you do something safe, like you’d normally do in a game? Sometimes I learn more from a play that doesn’t have much chance of success and the guy not trying to make something out of nothing. There’s a lot of things we can learn.”

With thirteen 2018 signees expected to report in the summer and the scholarships on the roster already low, an issue in practice today was a lack of bodies at certain positions, especially on the line.

“Well, in the spring time, we don’t have everybody here, we’re really shorthanded,” Richt said. “By fall camp, there’ll be another 15-20 guys to replenish our numbers. So really, right now, this is really the first time I’ve gone ‘One Unit’, ‘Two Unit’, and when the ‘Threes’ go, we don’t even have enough linemen. We’re going 7-on-7, ‘pass skelly,’ we call it. We go ones with everybody, twos with everybody, and threes go just pass skelly, or 7-on-7. Then we go back – ones and twos with everybody. We’ll get a little 7-on-7 right in the middle.”

A noticeable shift in the defense occurred with a few players lining up in different than usual spots. Derrick Smith and Romeo Finley got reps at LB and Terry McCray was seeing time at DE. Simple spring experiment or permanent change?

“Well, no (not permanent),” said Richt. “Everybody else in America calls it nickel, 5 DB’s. They’re playing a defensive back position out over the slot. If we were in our base defense, they wouldn’t be in the game in that position. But when we’re in nickel, they become the SAM linebacker, like everyone else in America.”


Coach Brown: “Every spot is open this spring.”


Offensive coordinator/RB coach Thomas Brown took a looser stance on the team, a change-up from the more conservative Richt, saying today that: “I don’t care what you did last year. You can be beat out at any point. Every spot is open.”

Three straight losses were a bitter end to a 2017 season at Miami that started with such promise. Brown believes it’s just focused the team even more as they prepare to build off what they learned from the hardship.

“That’s a humbling experience for us, but with my experience as a player and in life - you grow and mature the most through failure,” Brown said. “Everybody can have success, it’s fun, it’s easy, everyone talks good about you. But when you go through tough times, you figure out what type of character you have. And I challenged the whole offensive unit before we came out to start spring ball to be more player led. We have more depth now, but if we’re not led from within from a player standpoint it’s going to be hard for us to be a great football team.”

Everyone wants to know who has the edge at QB, especially with the way Malik Rosier finished last year. Of course, Rosier got all the first team reps today and Brown wants to see more consistency from the redshirt senior.

“Just being more consistent is the biggest thing,” Brown said on Rosier. “If you look at his great plays from last year he looks like one of the best in college football - he can be when he’s on and hitting his target. He got banged up a little, lack of focus also. Malik is competitive, but like most guys needs competition, guys that can push him and now we have a couple of guys off a redshirt year, got a new guy coming in that should help add to the competition mix and make him better.”

N’Kosi Perry worked with the second unit and is assumed to have the best shot to unseat the incumbent Rosier. What does Brown see in Perry’s play that’s different from last season?

“Good, a lot more relaxed, has been a year in the system,” Brown said on Perry. “When he came in as a freshman there were high expectations for him like there should be. Just learning the system, playing quarterback is different. Like Lorenzo (Lingard) coming in and playing running back, it’s a lot easier to come in and play at that spot than quarterback. He was looking pretty good today. It was Day 1, don’t get too excited in shorts.”

Jarren Williams was one of UM’s freshmen early enrollees and Brown gave his take on how his young QB is adjusting to live at the next level so far.

“It’s rough coming in mid-year, being added to the competition mix but also playing quarterback, learning the entire offense on top of trying to get the signals down to communicate with the O-line,” Brown said on Williams. “I think he handled it pretty well. I think he’s a pretty confident guy, a very smart football player. A smart guy in general. I think he’ll be fine.”

While it’s key to have a reliable field general under center, football is really won in the trenches and it’s no secret the Canes have struggled to control the line of scrimmage at times on offense the past few years. Brown was surprisingly impressed with his offensive line’s performance on the first day and thinks the roster is starting to fill out along the line.

“Looked really good today, probably one of our better days in my opinion to start out,” Brown said. “They were more on the same page. We have more depth there as well, which is huge… it’s kind of hard to tell without pads on, though. Until the guys start moving, get some contact, and finish blocks, we won’t really know, but it was a good start.”

When asked how many linemen he’d like to be able to rely on coming out of spring Brown said: “Hopefully six or seven.”

Junior George Brown got some first team reps today, along with senior Jahair Jones. Are those two guys Brown will be able to rely on this season?

“George is a big, athletic man, and he’s been more consistent,” Brown said. “And Jahair is one of the strongest guys we have up front, does a really good job with his hand placement and moving his feet. Just giving them a chance to win a job.”

Another early enrollee was freshman RB Lorenzo Lingard, who was universally considered Miami’s highest-rated incoming 2018 recruit. Brown gave his take on how Lingard is progressing.

“He’s a pretty good football player, is full of energy, goes full scale all the time,” Brown said. “Have to get him to slow the game down, process a little bit slower. And he can be out of control at times. But I’d much rather have a guy that goes too hard all the time than a guy I have to kick in the butt to go harder. It’s a learning curve for him.”
 

Comments (35)

“If you look at his great plays from last year he looks like one of the best in college football"

This just simply is not true. I saw nothing that Rosier did that was elite. It would be far more accurate to say, "If you look at all the bad plays from last year he looks like the most incompetent QB in college football."
 
“If you look at his great plays from last year he looks like one of the best in college football"

This just simply is not true. I saw nothing that Rosier did that was elite. It would be far more accurate to say, "If you look at all the bad plays from last year he looks like the most incompetent QB in college football."
They are both accurate.. his throws in the final minutes of some of those games were spot on and beyond clutch. This revisionist history is bs. People here were lauding him after his performance vs FSU, and rightfully so.
 
Nice info from the perspectives of Richt and Brown. Hopefully the competition this year is stronger than the last and we improve as a team.
 
Tends to happen when the other team knows your QB can't get the job done.
Tends to happen when your O-line can't punch a hole through wet cardboard. I'll grant you that towards the end of the season Rosier looked like pure garbage, but up until the FSU game he had thrown for 820 yards, 8 TDs, with 2 INTs through 3 games. Against FSU his numbers were 254, 3, and 1, in those categories, respectively. Not flashy, but definitely not "not getting it done." We ran the ball for 83 yards as a team, and 29 of those came on the legs of Malik extending drives.

You can criticize him in many ways, but we beat FSU because he and Braxton Berrios refused to lose down the stretch. They were the two guys out there still gutting it out every play when much of the rest of the team looked gassed and beaten.
 
Revisionist history? Had he played well for the other 3.5 quarters we don’t need to come back.
Doesn't mean he wasn't great for .5 quarters, does it? He was. I'm not saying he should be the QB, or that he's great in general, but that's not the discussion at all.
 
CHAMPING! HORSES CHAMP!
 
You don't throw for 254 yards and 3 TDs in "the final minutes." It was a tough, and hard fought game. It's a rivalry game. But I'll be damned if we're going to revise history so as to blame Rosier's "not getting it done" for the fact that our running backs could only manage to run the ball 54 yards. Blackman only threw for 202 yards (and 2 INTs). How the hell did our defense give up 203 rushing yards since he was obviously "not getting it done" worse than Rosier? Or is giving up 203 yards on the ground Rosier's fault, too? Maybe it's his fault we gave up 17 points and the lead in the 4th quarter and needed a miracle to win?
 
So what do you say about Pitt, where he didn’t come to play with a perfect season on the line. He quit on the team, and I quit on letting people tell me what I see with my eyes. He is not a good QB!! He even threw key interception in VT game that the defense bailed him out. In the OB he fell apart.. I have had enough of his sorry ass. It is next man up time..
 
I absolutely hate coaches talk; unless it’s Greg Pop. Most coaches give disingenuous commentary that either give the white knight fan false hope or the most critical ones heartache.
 
Maybe its time the canes got new fans.
I went to Miami back in the days of Kosar.. Being a fan and someone who watched the team over the year I live and die with my team. Maybe, you were one of those fans back in Golden days happy for morale victories, loved the effort of Stephen Morris.. I’m a Miami Hurricane and each year I want to see championship effort. So go back to Gainesville with your crap.
 
So what do you say about Pitt, where he didn’t come to play with a perfect season on the line. He quit on the team, and I quit on letting people tell me what I see with my eyes. He is not a good QB!! He even threw key interception in VT game that the defense bailed him out. In the OB he fell apart.. I have had enough of his sorry ass. It is next man up time..
I couldn't have stated it better...thank you boss
 

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