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Hightower, Gaynor, Payton talk team

Hightower, Gaynor, Payton talk team

Stefan Adams
After Tuesday’s practice, sophomore WR Brian Hightower fielded questions on how his spring has been going so far.

“It has gone pretty well, just getting to know the new playbook, being out here and competing - everything is going well,” Hightower said.

With bigger receivers like Lawrence Cager and Darrell Langham gone from last season, there seems to be a void to fill in the offense that the 6’3” Hightower would be perfect for. The young wideout recognizes the opportunity for more playing time and says he, and the rest of his teammates, are competing every day to earn their roles.

“Everyone is competing, from quarterbacks, receivers, running backs, the whole offense, defense,” Hightower said. “We’re working, want to be great. That’s what we’re pushing for.”

This is now Hightower’s second offense he’s had to learn in two years at Miami. How has it been starting from square 1 yet again?

“It’s been pretty good,” Hightower said. “We’re just still learning day-by-day. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re grinding, working hard and it’s going to come.”

Which has been tougher to learn, last year’s offense under Mark Richt or this year’s offense under Dan Enos?

“It’s not really tougher this year, just it’s about putting the time in to know what you’re doing.”

One of the new additions to the WR group this spring is Jeremiah Payton, who was an early enrollee straight from high school. As an early enrollee himself last spring, Hightower knows how challenging it can be to adjust to the college level so quickly.

“He’s doing great. I was an early enrollee, know how it feels to be an early enrollee, and he’s come in and dominated,” Hightower said. “He’s done everything he’s supposed to do.”


**Sophomore OL Corey Gaynor sat the majority of last season to take a redshirt year. However, with two year starting center Tyler Gauthier graduating, Gaynor will be counted on heavily in 2019 to replace Gauthier in the middle of Miami’s line.

“It was great learning from Tyler,” Gaynor said. “Now being the starting center, you’re trying to get everyone on the same page. It’s just a challenge every day that the center position comes with. But I love it, it’s great.”

Butch Barry has replaced Stacy Searels as Miami’s offensive line coach and Gaynor feels Barry has fit right in at UM.

“He brings the NFL mentality. He’s very technical, which I love,” Gaynor said. “He’s doing a great job.”

Gaynor has spent the entire spring running with the first team offensive line, but Barry lets his unit know that nobody’s job is safe.

“No one’s set in a position yet,” Gaynor said.

The Canes played Gaynor in only 4 games last season to preserve his redshirt, down from 10 games played in 2017. The young lineman said the time off benefitted him, and Gaynor used the year to get stronger in the weight room for his 2019 starting role.

“It was for my ultimate good, redshirting,” Gaynor said. “I’m wiser, stronger, a better feel for the game.”

With Dan Enos’ offense being installed this spring, Gaynor has spent a lot of this off-season learning the new calls as a center.

“Coach Enos’ offense is very complex,” Gaynor said. “It is better. We all have different schemes on pass blocking.”

The Canes are using this spring to get a head start on finding a QB that can lead their offense in 2019, and each of the three candidates have spent time rotating in with the first team offense. What is it like snapping to N’Kosi Perry, Jarren Williams, and Tate Martell?

“I don’t even notice a difference, they’re all moving the offense so perfectly,” Gaynor said. “They’re doing fantastic.”


**Freshman WR Jeremiah Payton was one of seven new additions to the roster this spring and his first experience as a Miami Hurricane couldn’t have gone much better so far.

“It’s real exciting - classes, workouts, everything has been going pretty good,” Payton.

The toughest part about the transition to college football?

“Workouts really. In high school, it wasn’t strenuous, how it is now - a big change,” Payton said. “I also had to take time to study, sit down and really gather myself in the playbook. I still have a lot more to learn, but definitely a big change from high school plays.”

Payton said he didn’t really study the game in high school like he has these first 3 months at Miami.

“You have to learn it if you want to play,” Payton said.

What does Payton feel he has to work on most on the field to see playing time as a freshman?

“I have to step my game up, move faster, respond quicker, run routes quicker, do everything different,” Payton said.

Not only do true freshman have to go through a gauntlet on the field to get used to college ball, but adjusting to their first year away from home and more rigorous coursework can be just as challenging.

“At first it was hard, I’m not going to lie,” Payton said. “After that I was like, `I can’t leave, so I might as well get comfortable and make friends.’ It’s been real good, though.”
 

Comments (20)

Calling it now. Payton will be in the top 4 of the WR group. Thomas, Osborn, Hightower, and Payton. Wiggins, Harley, and Pope could go figure out how to catch balls and not miss assignments.
 
The WR group wasn't wiped out by deforestation or the building of a dam. Harley, Wiggins, Hightower, Pope, Njoku had their shot. Nature selected them for extinction when Thomas, Osborn, Payton decided to play at Miami in 2019.
Based on the flashes I saw last year, I think Hightower balls out this season if he gets competent play under center.
 
The Canes are using this spring to get a head start on finding a QB that can lead their offense in 2019, and each of the three candidates have spent time rotating in with the first team offense. What is it like snapping to N’Kosi Perry, Jarren Williams, and Tate Martell?

“I don’t even notice a difference, they’re all moving the offense so perfectly,” Gaynor said. “They’re doing fantastic.”
These kids are getting coached up off the field as well.

Although I suspect that Hightower and Gaynor probably had additional coaching at home. :)
 
What flashes?
His ability to go up and get a ball. Granted it was in very limited time between camps and a little game action, but at least to me you could clearly see something there. I'm excited to see that kid with a good QB throwing to him. I predict you see him on the field plenty this year.
 
I think Pope will show up this.year. Remember the young receivers didnt have tne benecit of a cohesive staff. Nothing worse than inhouse turmoil. They all lost their mojo
 
People crown the new kid every year before he’s played a game. Pope was a 5* kid. Njoku is 6’10” and has a 50” vertical and a wider wingspan than Shaquille O’Neal. Payton is a nice prospect but Hightower, Pope and Njoku will get their run too.
 
Didn't Hightower grab a handful of TDs in the scrimmages last year? I don't remember who was throwing to him and if it was against the 1st or 2nd defense...but I do remember the videos of him making some really nice catches. Hope he keeps learning and getting better. He has the raw talent and never had the entitled diva attitude.
 
I expect Thomas Osborn and Harley/Hightower to be the first 4 up. If Wiggins can’t vatch don’t expect to see him ever. Don’t matter how good of a blocker he is. Pope evidence Payton are in wait and see mode. First games against ufag so no time to get warm and screw around. Whoever’s out there needs to be ready to roll and not drop the ball
 
I seriously hope Enos goes uptempo, and we start seeing 80 snaps a game on offense, Let the guys get their licks in. Thomas is going to make some money. There are a handful of guys that can be number 2-4. Also looking forward to a lot of TE and RB receiving action. Not sure our OL can sustain an up tempo pace though. Fingers crossed that Campbell, Reed, Hillary and Herbert take that next step, and maybe G Brown finally delivers on his promise as a fifth year senior.
 
The WR group wasn't wiped out by deforestation or the building of a dam. Harley, Wiggins, Hightower, Pope, Njoku had their shot. Nature selected them for extinction when Thomas, Osborn, Payton decided to play at Miami in 2019.
Sounds like life has allowed you the benefit of speaking from experience...
 
I’ve been to a couple of practices and there haven’t been a lot if dropped balls.
 

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