Final camp observations

Final camp observations

DMoney
These are some of my observations from watching practice and the two scrimmages. I’m bad at predictions, but my best guess is an 8-win type season.

QB- We’re so down on the program that sometimes we forget how ridiculous Brad Kaaya is. He put in a ton of work over the off-season and it shows on the field. His decisions are quicker, his feet are better, and he’s throwing the ball like a first round pick. He made highlight reels out of the two scrimmages. Malik Rosier is a football guy like Kaaya, and his command of the offense has also improved. Accuracy is the question mark with him. His skillset reminds me a bit of Kenny Kelly.

Vincent Testaverde is third string but he’s better than Gray Crow and Preston Dewey. He is capable of some impressive throws. I really like Evan Shireffs. He led touchdown drives in both scrimmages and looks the part physically. He’s big and more athletic than I expected. He ran a 5.02 as a freshman (Kaaya ran 5.46) and shows surprising ability outside the pocket. I think he beats out Rosier next year.

OL- Kehoe has this group much improved from the spring, but there are still question marks. The first four guys appear pretty locked in. Trevor Darling beat Kc McDermott out for the LT job and looks leaner. Alex Gall is serviceable at LG but probably not much more than that. I still think McDermott should have that spot. Nick Linder and Danny Isidora are rocks at C and RG.

The intrigue is at RT. Sonny Odogwu looks like a new man on Greentree. He’s moving with confidence and erases a lot of mistakes with his long arms. Maybe the light just turned on? We’ll find out against Nebraska. Joe Brown has gotten a surprising amount of reps with the first team. He’s good in the run game but is still a little slow-footed in the passing game.

Ty Gauthier is not the most athletic or flexible guy but he’s powerful. He’s the only freshman who moves people. Tyree St. Louis has gotten reps at both tackle spots. He’ll dominate for one rep and then get walked back on the next rep. Inconsistent but very, very talented. Hunter Knighton and Tyler Grimsley have really struggled to block the big nose tackles. Bar Milo is not physically ready to play but looks like the most promising of the redshirted linemen. He is playing mostly tackle and some guard. Hayden Mahoney also moves pretty well and shows flashes. Brendan Loftus is huge and won some reps but really needs to improve his feet. Jahair Jones played inside and outside and struggled mightily.

RB- Nobody really separated themselves, including Gus. Joe Yearby was the star of the second scrimmage and is carrying the extra weight well. He was never a gamebreaker, so the additional power suits his running style. Mark Walton is a smart, instinctual player like Yearby. He’s solid in all aspects but really excels as a pass receiver. Ice Harris loves him and I suspect he will ultimately be The Guy. Trayone Gray is the best athlete and has made the best runs. However, he’s competing with two lifelong running backs who play with more consistent leverage and vision. This is a good group and all three Dade County studs should play a big role.

WR- Stacy Coley is trying to get paid. Last season scared him straight and he looks like he’s on a mission. He’s gained twenty pounds since his freshman year and appears every bit as dynamic as before. Rashawn Scott has always been one of Kaaya’s favorite targets in practice and brings much-needed size to the quick game. Herb Waters finished camp strong and caught numerous passes in the second scrimmage. Coley, Scott and Waters look like the clear top three guys. Braxton Berrios was in that group before suffering a minor injury. He is back practicing and has become more of a downfield threat. Malcolm Lewis has been steady, not spectacular.

I’m really impressed with Lawrence Cager. He separates easily and explodes in and out of breaks for a 6’5 guy . Cager has made several spectacular one-handed catches, but also had his share of concentration drops. I still expect him to play some kind of role this year. Tyre Brady is one of the most improved players in camp. He gained 15 pounds, shaved .2 off his forty and has caught the ball consistently. That’s a good sign for next year when we lose Scott, Waters and possibly Coley. Darrell Langham is a one-trick pony, but it’s a good trick. Nobody on the team can snatch the ball better. He could be a redzone specialist in the future, but probably will not be in the rotation this year.

TE- Kaaya still loves to throw to the tight ends. Chris Herndon is bigger than you think and provides a Mondriel Fulcher-like receiving option. Standish Dobard has iffy hands and is better in the run game than the pass game. David Njoku is one of the few freaks who would’ve fit in on the Butch teams. He continues to make incredibly athletic plays. The next step for him is becoming an alpha like Shockey and Winslow. He’s not there yet. Jerome Washington has the requisite size and speed but struggles to catch the ball. He seems to have a good attitude, though, and has enough physical talent to carve out a role.

NT- Calvin Heurtelou solidified his spot with a strong camp. He’s gotten a little quicker and is a leader for the group. Kendrick Norton is the most talented NT we’ve had since Wilfork. I thought he would just be a plugger, but he’s explosive and can get off blocks. He made multiple TFLs in both scrimmages. Norton also has a good motor and will run to the football. Michael Wyche did not sustain the momentum he had in spring and is behind Norton. Ryan Fines is a long way away.

DT- Courtel Jenkins lost some weight and shifted to 3-technique, which is a better spot for him IMO. He took the job from Anthony Moten and really showed well in the second scrimmage. Moten has been up and down, just like he was in spring.

DE- I’d be shocked if Chad Thomas doesn’t get his starting spot back. He is by far the quickest defensive lineman and causes havoc on stunts. Ufombu Kamalu will have his biggest role inside on passing downs. RJ McIntosh is extremely talented. Very coordinated with a frame that will blow up. I’d redshirt him, but it looks like he may play on passing downs. Jelani Hamilton is still inconsistent.

Pass Rush- This is a position that concerns me. The pass rush was abysmal last year, and I haven't seen obvious improvement. Trent Harris is a solid, reliable player who lacks big-time twitch. He should see most of his snaps on first and second down. Al-Quadin Muhammad has mostly played with the second team and starts on passing downs (usually flanked by McCord, Chad and Kamalu). He is the most talented rusher along with Chad. Demetrius Johnson has come on strong the last couple weeks with pressure and batted balls. Expect him to play a role. Scott Patchan still looks injured to me and is a likely redshirt.

LB- Dangerously thin group. Jermaine Grace is a star and was all over the field in both scrimmages. Raphael Kirby is unspectacular but reliable inside. Darrion Owens will likely shift inside to MIKE if something happens to Kirby. Tyriq McCord has looked good rushing on third downs but has been nondescript at SAM. Marques Gayot is very good in coverage and made multiple interceptions. Jamie Gordiner moved inside for depth but, like Owens, is probably a better fit at SAM. He has some ability but I wish he was a step faster. Charles Perry and James King are fighting for reps at WILL and I lean towards Perry. King looks like a safety. Both guys are very athletic and can contribute on special teams. Last I heard, Juwon Young was targeting Nebraska for his return. We need him.

S- This position has gone from a weakness to a relative strength. Deon Bush is very good and stands out from his peers. Rayshawn Jenkins looks fast and smooth and has been the second-most impressive safety. Dallas Crawford has gotten starter’s reps but looks like the 5[SUP]th[/SUP] guy to me. Not enough size or speed. Jaquan Johnson missed the first part of camp and has come back on fire. I was worried how his physical tools would translate to the next level, but he looks explosive and quick. The coaches almost have to hold him back in practice because he’s so overeager and physical.

Jamal Carter plays with good motor and looks improved. His instincts are still a little off, though, and he’s still too high as a tackler. Robert Knowles is behind the rest from a football knowledge standpoint and can really use a redshirt year.

CB- Very good group at the top. Artie Burns started off camp looking like a superstar. He has gotten banged up and slowed down since then, but I expect great things. Corn Elder looks like a solid #2 even though he still needs to add weight. Tracy Howard brings good intelligence and footwork to the group, despite less than ideal size/speed.

Sheldrick Redwine, like Norton, flashes star potential on defense. He’s big, has better feet than I expected, and plays the ball as well as anybody. You can often tell how well-regarded a CB is by who he lines up against in 1-on-1 drills. By the end of camp, Redwine was regularly going against Stacy Coley. Michael Jackson looks promising. He’s not as athletic as Redwine but has size and a good mind for the game. Terrance Henley is still raw and not ready to play in the defense. If he plays, I’d expect it to be on special teams. Ryan Mayes may be out until October.

Overall, the talent is as deep and as well-distributed as any team of the Golden era. But I’ve seen too much dispiriting football to predict we will actually be good. Eight to nine wins seems realistic, assuming Kaaya stays healthy. See you on Saturday.
 

Comments (137)

Thanks for the write up DMoney. As much as I want the boys to do well to have some of the roster management/depth issues we still do at year 5 of the "Golden Era" is unacceptable.
 
And if that prediction comes to fruition...we'll be stuck with Golden for more years to come.

8 wins would be a disaster. We'd still be treading water and our incompetent administration would have no impetus to make a change. They'd be contempt to keep the status quo as long as nobody gets in trouble.
 
Very nice write up. Thank you! It is nice to finally hear from someone that inst on the staff tell us what they think.

Still baffling to hear how good Chad is and he isnt starting and that Crawford is still behind as a Safety yet he is starting. SMH

Golden is definitely hard headed and will always be hard headed.
 
Thanks Money. Glad to hear about Kaaya. I have been sky high about him from opening drive last year. Put that kid on one of our old teams and wow. A couple old NFL guys I know think kid has 1st round written all over him, maybe top overall pick depending on development and who else my flow up in two years. Brain, character, size and pocket passer who doesn't not fear the middle is what all three told me. Unfortunately next year will probably be it for him -- 3 and done but with degree I bet. Frigging Pats will probably find a way to end up with him in time to replace that guy. Oh well, then will might finally get our one missing Crown Jewel -- Super Bowl WINNING QB.

We have a QB and some sort on inside Dline, Lord, I wish we had a coaching upgrade for this year.
 
If Deon and Jenkins were obviously ahead of everybody else why is Deon listed as OR and Jenkins a back up? What are these coaches looking at in practice?
 
First game starting lineups aren't always based on ability. TONS of coaches will use the depth chart as a way to keep kids in check as far as working hard in the weight room, being punctual to meetings, etc. I'm not saying this is what THIS STAFF is doing, just that if this is the same depth chart by the time we get to Nebraska, then something is severely wrong.
 
Why do you see 8 wins as opposed to say, 10 wins, with losses to fsu and Clemson possible? I'm like a lot of the other posters...I want to tank or make the ACCCG.
 
The most encouraging thing you said to me was that BK has improved his footwork. When he sets his feet, he can make all the throws. He too often last year would get happy feet with even a hint of pressure causing his mechanics to break down.
 
8-9 wins being realistic with our schedule is what scares the living s*** out of me. That's the nightmare scenario in which the administration either says "that's technically improvement over 6 wins, so Golden gets to stay" or "winning the Coastal for the first time is a huge accomplishment, even though we (presumably) got our s*** pushed in by FSU or Clemson for the second time this season in the conference title game."

There's also much to be concerned about in the writeup personnel-wise, including Chad Thomas' inexplicable spot on the second team, Crawford being a starter despite possibly being the fifth-best safety on the team, and this staff still believing there's such a thing as "running downs" and "passing downs" in 2015. A huge problem this staff has had since Day 1 is having run-stopping personnel on the field for early downs as opponents spread us out in multiple receiver sets and exploit obvious mismatches.

Thanks for the insight, though, DMoney. Always appreciated.
 
Crawford's going to be this year's Fentress.

Yup. It's amazing on multiple levels. This staff tells a local baller like Trajan Bandy he has to grow another inch to get an offer. They outright ignore the Juwan Dowels' and Ronnie Hoggins' of the world presumably because of their height. Those guys are corners, so it's not a perfect comparison. But they have no problem giving plenty of playing time to undersized, slow players in the secondary (Fentress and Crawford) if they don't freelance. It's maddening.

It's also further confirmation that they don't prioritize speed and athleticism whatsoever. Having Bush and Jenkins at safety with Jaquan as the #3 safety puts our best athletes on the field, but they don't care about that.

On a side note, I yearn for the day where we don't have to read the words "wish he was a step faster," "doesn't have ideal size/speed," and "was never a gamebreaker" so often in a Miami roster breakdown. That's not a shot at any of those individuals obviously, but this program needs to get back to prioritizing freak athletes and athleticism in general since it's our greatest built-in advantage with this recruiting base.
 

2021 Commits

S
6'5"
220
Fort Lauderdale, FL
DT
6'4"
255
Miami, FL
OG
6'2"
295
Miami, FL
DT
6'4"
290
Miami, FL
DE
6'5"
210
Miami, FL
WR
6'2"
180
Miami, FL
RB
6'0"
225
Hollywood, FL
TE
6'4"
210
Frisco, TX
STR
6'3"
190
Melbourne, FL
S
5'11"
200
Miami, FL

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