D$ shares exclusive spring practice insights
- Miami's offense looks a lot different than last year, schematically. The results are already ahead of last year but still a work in progress. Expect more 12 personnel (two TE, one RB) than you saw in Houston due to the quality of TEs. Guidry's defense looks very much the same as on film, with a lot of deception and guys moving around up front.
- Tyler Van Dyke is rediscovering his deep ball and played an efficient scrimmage, with a long pass to Colby Young in one-on-ones, a seam pass to Jacolby George and a TD to Xavier Restrepo in the back of the end zone that resembled his two-point conversion against UNC. Jacurri Brown still flashes talent but is adjusting to the new offense. Emory Williams is big and sturdy and throws with more zip than I expected.
- Don Chaney has a huge opportunity with the RB injuries and had a nice scrimmage. He scored a 20+yard TD up the middle and bounced a long run outside with a jump cut and speed to the edge. He needs to stay healthy.
- Colby Young is emerging as the top WR and looks faster with his weight loss. He mossed Daryl Porter in 1on1s. Xavier Restrepo is the clear top slot. Jacolby George and Breshard Smith are improving but still need to get more consistent. Ray Ray Joseph is a dude at slot receiver with high IQ and quicks. Isaiah Horton is behind Young outside but looks sharper than last year as a route runner. Robby Washington is playing flanker and getting the ball in numerous ways, including jet sweeps. This is just my personal opinion, but I believe he ultimately ends up as a hugely talented corner.
- Starting offensive line is strong with (left to right): Jalen Rivers, Javion Cohen, Matt Lee, Anez Cooper and Francis Mauigoia. The backup OL is making life tough for the backup QBs, as they've been decimated by injuries. Matt McCoy and Zion Nelson will help the overall group when they return. Samson Okunlola still needs to add strength but will be big-time down the road.
- Riley Williams is a stud at TE. He's been non-contact with a hamstring injury but is starting to work his way in. Cam McCormick is the blocking TE. Jaleel Skinner has added weight and remains a gazelle after the catch. He needs a big summer working on his hands and overall game. Jackson Carver is still raw but has the tools and has flashed the ability to make contested catches in a crowd.
- Defensive line will be a strength of the team once Leonard Taylor, Akheem Mesidor, Jared Harrison-Hunte, Jahfari Harvey and Jake Lichtenstein are fully back from injury, and a big DT is added through the Portal. The starters in spring have been Nyjalik Kelly, Brandon Deen, Ahmad Moten and Chantz Williams. Kelly is continuing to mature (he was only 16 when he signed) and has the potential to be a double-digit sack guy. Deen is as advertised as an undersized, twitchy disruptor. Moten has made significant progress since last year and gives us a quality big body. Chantz may never be a flexible, fluid pass rusher, but he is a hard-working and tough player with size and speed. He blew up Chaney and forced a fumble from the backside in the scrimmage.
Reuben Bain is as advertised and will play a lot. He looked bigger than I expected at the scrimmage. Not only is he getting sacks, he is using his lower-body strength and explosive power to generate knockback in the run game. He blew up McCormick on a TFL. Watch for him to get snaps at DE and DT. Jayden Wayne is getting snaps with the second team and is similar to Chantz as a base end with tools. Wayne is the better talent, though, with more upside. Cyrus Moss can get to the QB but is still undersized. Jabari Ishmael is also getting snaps with the third team. Thomas Gore is struggling with the size more than Deen but should get some rotation snaps.
- Linebacker is a much improved position. Francisco Mauigoa is a good player with size, speed and instincts. He will start. Wesley Bissainthe got a lot of talk in the offseason, but Keontra Smith is giving him all he can handle in the position battle. Smith is one of the more improved players in spring. Corey Flagg is experienced depth.
Bobby Washington is flashing big-time. He's getting first team snaps as starting snaps and showing off his speed and striking ability. Big upside there if he continues to work.
- Kam Kinchens is the same guy who made All-American last year. Markeith Williams is getting increased snaps with the ones and doing a solid job. Kaleb Spencer may grow into a LB but is a natural football player who hits everything moving and is very active. Brian Balom is the other second team safety and is steady.
- Cornerback can use a #1 guy. Davonte Brown has been nicked up but flashing his length at the catch point to disrupt passes. Daryl Porter is the other starter, along with a beefed up Te'Cory Couch at the nickel. Chris Graves is clearly the most talented guy but still needs to improve his consistency. Terry Roberts is working more outside, with Jaden Harris at the nickel. Malik Curtis is getting second-team reps and may factor into this rotation.