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Nelson, Smith breakdown spring camp thus far

Nelson, Smith breakdown spring camp thus far

Stefan Adams
This spring, Miami Hurricanes sophomore OT Zion Nelson has continued his body transformation; after arriving at UM two years ago at 240 pounds, Nelson reports that he is up to 315 at this point and still making strength gains.

“The last bench I did, 375 - I feel I could have kept going,” Nelson said. “That’s my biggest gain as far as strength. And I’m up to 315 in weight, down to 16 percent body fat. I’m really happy to see that. On the field, I’m good, but nowhere near where I want to be right now.”

Nelson was a part of an improved offensive line in 2020 that gave up 20 less sacks (51 to 30) than they did two years prior. While the mobility of QB D’Eriq King certainly played a role, there was no doubt the line played well in stretches during last season, showing more cohesion and confidence. Although Nelson agrees the OL has made progress, he is still not satisfied with where they are just yet.

"For the most part, the biggest thing is to stress all being together, being on one page,” Nelson said. “Two years ago, we weren’t there yet. We’ve gotten closer, we still can be better.”

The Canes did not lose any member of the regular OL rotation over the offseason, and the experience and depth UM possesses at the position going into 2021 hasn’t been seen in years in Coral Gables.

"There’s a lot of competition, just about everybody has started a game or played in a game,” Nelson said. “It makes everyone better. It’s really good for us.”

According to Nelson, Jakai Clark and Jalen Rivers are competing at left guard next to him, and Nelson has been impressed by Rivers’ work ethic.

“He works hard, just like everybody else,” Nelson said of Rivers.


**According to head coach Manny Diaz on Tuesday, WR Keyshawn Smith had been one of UM’s early standouts through the first two spring practices. For his part, Smith says he is working to be consistent and bring the same level of play to the field every day.

"Nothing is easy, nothing is handed to us," Smith said. "We have to fight for the position, there's nobody starting right now, everything is up for grabs."

As a freshman in 2020, Smith recorded 2 catches for 58 yards, but just missed on multiple big plays throughout the year. To better convert on those and see the field more moving forward, Smith talked about what he feels he needs to work on.

"My strength, I need to get stronger - I’ve gotten stronger but other dudes are way bigger than me,” Smith said. “I have to be able to block, help my teammates out.”

At 6’1” 184 pounds, Smith has been clocked running at 22 mph in camp this spring, and that speed is what helps him to stretch the field for Miami’s offense.

“I’ve been impacting on deep balls - I’d say I’m a deep ball threat, I love to outrun people,” Smith said. “Deep balls are my thing ever since high school. I’ve improved on the top of my routes, staying low, because coach (Rob) Likens is always on us about that.”

Of who he models his game after, Smith pointed to two current NFL star receivers.

“I love watching Julio Jones and Stefon Diggs,” Smith said. “Stefon has the routes, and Julio attacks the ball.”

Smith also touched on what he’s seen from early enrollee QB Jake Garcia, and the two have bonded over both being from California.

"Jake is my guy, I speak to him all the time. We're both from the West Coast. He has an arm, can read, is someone to look at for the future."
 

Comments (35)

OL will be critical to our on field and recruiting success. Smith was missed on those deep throws because King is not a complete QB. He just heaves the ball in the direction of the WR on deep throws. Not good at throwing the out on tight sideline routes either. TVD has to emerge if we want a dangerous passing game.
 
This spring, Miami Hurricanes sophomore OT Zion Nelson has continued his body transformation; after arriving at UM two years ago at 240 pounds, Nelson reports that he is up to 315 at this point and still making strength gains.

“The last bench I did, 375 - I feel I could have kept going,” Nelson said. “That’s my biggest gain as far as strength. And I’m up to 315 in weight, down to 16 percent body fat. I’m really happy to see that. On the field, I’m good, but nowhere near where I want to be right now.”

Nelson was a part of an improved offensive line in 2020 that gave up 20 less sacks (51 to 30) than they did two years prior. While the mobility of QB D’Eriq King certainly played a role, there was no doubt the line played well in stretches during last season, showing more cohesion and confidence. Although Nelson agrees the OL has made progress, he is still not satisfied with where they are just yet.

"For the most part, the biggest thing is to stress all being together, being on one page,” Nelson said. “Two years ago, we weren’t there yet. We’ve gotten closer, we still can be better.”

The Canes did not lose any member of the regular OL rotation over the offseason, and the experience and depth UM possesses at the position going into 2021 hasn’t been seen in years in Coral Gables.

"There’s a lot of competition, just about everybody has started a game or played in a game,” Nelson said. “It makes everyone better. It’s really good for us.”

According to Nelson, Jakai Clark and Jalen Rivers are competing at left guard next to him, and Nelson has been impressed by Rivers’ work ethic.

“He works hard, just like everybody else,” Nelson said of Rivers.


**According to head coach Manny Diaz on Tuesday, WR Keyshawn Smith had been one of UM’s early standouts through the first two spring practices. For his part, Smith says he is working to be consistent and bring the same level of play to the field every day.

"Nothing is easy, nothing is handed to us," Smith said. "We have to fight for the position, there's nobody starting right now, everything is up for grabs."

As a freshman in 2020, Smith recorded 2 catches for 58 yards, but just missed on multiple big plays throughout the year. To better convert on those and see the field more moving forward, Smith talked about what he feels he needs to work on.

"My strength, I need to get stronger - I’ve gotten stronger but other dudes are way bigger than me,” Smith said. “I have to be able to block, help my teammates out.”

At 6’1” 184 pounds, Smith has been clocked running at 22 mph in camp this spring, and that speed is what helps him to stretch the field for Miami’s offense.

“I’ve been impacting on deep balls - I’d say I’m a deep ball threat, I love to outrun people,” Smith said. “Deep balls are my thing ever since high school. I’ve improved on the top of my routes, staying low, because coach (Rob) Likens is always on us about that.”

Of who he models his game after, Smith pointed to two current NFL star receivers.

“I love watching Julio Jones and Stefon Diggs,” Smith said. “Stefon has the routes, and Julio attacks the ball.”

Smith also touched on what he’s seen from early enrollee QB Jake Garcia, and the two have bonded over both being from California.

"Jake is my guy, I speak to him all the time. We're both from the West Coast. He has an arm, can read, is someone to look at for the future."
Smith stood out to me multiple times last year... confused why we kept trotting out the butter finger duo. Hopefully we get to see more of him this year!
 
Attacks the ball...hopefully, all our WR's start doing that. That and the strength comment are nice to hear. I can think of one play against Clemson where a current WR got muscled and outworked for a ball that turned into a pick. That should NEVER ever happen to a Canes WR.

Go Canes!
 
Attacks the ball...hopefully, all our WR's start doing that. That and the strength comment are nice to hear. I can think of one play against Clemson where a current WR got muscled and outworked for a ball that turned into a pick. That should NEVER ever happen to a Canes WR.

Go Canes!
I know the play in that Clemson you speak about! It wasn't out muscle or outworked. It was willing to fight for the ball or compete for the ball. They barely tired to get the ball! Meaning, in their mindset, if they aren't open or wide open, they don't have to fight for balls.
 
I know the play in that Clemson you speak about! It wasn't out muscle or outworked. It was willing to fight for the ball or compete for the ball. They barely tired to get the ball! Meaning, in their mindset, if they aren't open or wide open, they don't have to fight for balls.
I think willing to fight and outworked are the same. It was a horrible display no matter how you phrase it.

Go Canes!
 
I know the play in that Clemson you speak about! It wasn't out muscle or outworked. It was willing to fight for the ball or compete for the ball. They barely tired to get the ball! Meaning, in their mindset, if they aren't open or wide open, they don't have to fight for balls.
In other words, he got outworked. Did that play happened in the corner of the endzone?
 
He looks the part, now he just needs to put it all together in a contract year for him during the 2021 season.

Go Canes
 
Is there any logic to which players are asked to talk to the media? In past years, it's been the leaders like Shaq and Richards who would speak to them, with a sneak peek of the best up-and-comers. Is it too much to read into Smith's appearance this early on to say he's 1. separating himself, and 2. being used to motivate the other WRs?

Where's Rambo?
 
He looks the part, now he just needs to put it all together in a contract year for him during the 2021 season.

Go Canes

This contract year talk is way too early. First off, he was redshirted along with everyone else last year, so he can come back. Unless he takes a massive leap forward and is projected Rd 1 or 2, that is by far the most likely outcome. He was much better last season. But he was far from a dominant OT.
 
Attacks the ball...hopefully, all our WR's start doing that. That and the strength comment are nice to hear. I can think of one play against Clemson where a current WR got muscled and outworked for a ball that turned into a pick. That should NEVER ever happen to a Canes WR.

Go Canes!

Same WR did the same thing weeks later vs UNC smh
 
Attacks the ball...hopefully, all our WR's start doing that. That and the strength comment are nice to hear. I can think of one play against Clemson where a current WR got muscled and outworked for a ball that turned into a pick. That should NEVER ever happen to a Canes WR.

Go Canes!
It is incredibly frustrating to watch college football all day and see receivers everywhere else making contested catches and fighting for the ball and our guys need a perfect pass.
 
According to head coach Manny Diaz on Tuesday, WR Keyshawn Smith had been one of UM’s early standouts through the first two spring practices. For his part, Smith says he is working to be consistent and bring the same level of play to the field every day.

And just think, less than 3 months ago Smith was so far behind Wiggins that our coaches had no choice but to play Wiggins over 60 snaps against OkSU despite multiple critical drops in that game. Now he's standing out. Incredible growth by that young man in the intervening 79 days! Hope he keeps up this pace.
 
OL will be critical to our on field and recruiting success. Smith was missed on those deep throws because King is not a complete QB. He just heaves the ball in the direction of the WR on deep throws. Not good at throwing the out on tight sideline routes either. TVD has to emerge if we want a dangerous passing game.
I agree. Not to bash King in any way but TVD or Garcia will be the key to unlocking a truly explosive downfield passing game. I think the Van Dyke/Garcia battle will be a good one but right now I'm going to give TVD the edge. Van Dyke has a year up on Garcia at this level and TVD's passing skills particularly his accuracy are elite.
 
When immediately juxtaposed against each other, these seem to make for pretty conflicting statements, given the 29 ypc. But as a simple stat on a very limited sample size, it's very encouraging.
Agreed. It's very encouraging. I don't understand how some people just don't get what many of us are so excited about when it comes to Keyshawn Smith. "He has 2 catches for 58 yards! That isn't flashing!" I have heard this take quite a bit lately and all I have to say is the following..........If you are a fan and watched us play last year and what you saw from Smith didn't give you the impression that he is talented with the potential to be an explosive playmaker at WR then you need to quit watching football and start watching figure skating. That is all.
 
OL will be critical to our on field and recruiting success. Smith was missed on those deep throws because King is not a complete QB. He just heaves the ball in the direction of the WR on deep throws. Not good at throwing the out on tight sideline routes either. TVD has to emerge if we want a dangerous passing game.
 
Agreed. It's very encouraging. I don't understand how some people just don't get what many of us are so excited about when it comes to Keyshawn Smith. "He has 2 catches for 58 yards! That isn't flashing!" I have heard this take quite a bit lately and all I have to say is the following..........If you are a fan and watched us play last year and what you saw from Smith didn't give you the impression that he is talented with the potential to be an explosive playmaker at WR then you need to quit watching football and start watching figure skating. That is all.

You can't look at those numbers and say it isn't flashing. Nor it is. Too little data. But it's certainly skewed and will experience regression to the mean. All it really says to me, at this point, is we've got a fast guy who hasn't played much and was able to get behind the opposing D because they weren't paying attention to him, or came late in games.

It's encouraging but doesn't mean anything.
 

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