The Work 4-6

The Work 4-6

Peter Ariz
Peter Ariz
These notes are a combination of my thoughts from being at open practices as well as talking to people close to the program who have been at all practices. This is a basic summary of what we have learned from 2014 spring practice as we are six days away from the Spring Game.


**Regarding Ryan Williams, the job was his. The only way Olsen was going to start prior to the injury was if Williams had a flat out terrible spring/fall and Olsen had been close to perfect during that same period.

**Up to now, Williams had been steady as projected. He was playing at about the level most expected of him, maybe a little above that. Olsen has shown flashes of huge improvements, making some exciting throws at times, but there continues to be a lot of doubt about whether or not he can limit the on-field mistakes and retain control of the offense (sustaining long drives, audibles, check-downs, basic leadership ability, etc.).

**Olsen should be considered the favorite for the job now, but people I have spoken to indicate that in no way does he have the spot locked up. Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier will be given legitimate opportunities to compete. They both have their hands on the playbook already. Obviously Olsen will have a year and a half of practice experience on both of them, but he has not done enough yet to prove that it is his job.

**This could turn out to be a make-or-break moment in Al Golden’s coaching career. Williams would have been a solid quarterback this year that probably would have done some good things and beaten the teams he was supposed to. He wouldn’t have lost games by himself. The new era is upon us much quicker than anticipated. The upside with Olsen or Kaaya is much higher than what it was with Williams, especially if one of them gets major game experience this year. We will see if Golden has the guts to go with a true freshman starter if he truly deserves it. At this point, a move like that seems like the only thing that could re-excite the fan base, not that Golden will be factoring in the fans’ opinion into his decision.

Running Back
**This was probably the position other than defensive line where there were the most question marks headed into spring practice and that has not really changed much. Duke Johnson will obviously be the primary ball carrier next season, but Gus Edwards and Walter Tucker have not necessarily taken full advantage of their opportunity with Joseph Yearby out for spring practice as well. Edwards has basically done what he did last season, which is show he can be a decent change of pace back and pick up solid yardage. It remains to be seen whether or not he can consistently carry the rock against legit defenses in meaningful game time. Based on what I’ve seen and talking to people within the program, Tucker is a superb athlete without much running instincts. I expect him to wind up playing a hybrid fullback role.

**This leaves Joseph Yearby, who as I mentioned has been out for the last couple months recovering from the fibula injury he suffered during Central’s playoff run. Although you never know how a player will react until he hits the field again, all indications are that Yearby will be 100% for fall practice and should be ready to compete full-time. I’ve seen a lot of fans post that they think he should redshirt, but I disagree with that assessment if he comes back at full speed. It will be tough for him to land that back-up spot right away coming off of injury, but by the end of the season there is a good chance he will be that secondary back who gets 7-8 touches a game. There will be an initial learning curve for him with the speed of the game, especially since he does not possess elite speed or size. He is the most talented back other than Duke Johnson on the roster though, so that will end up making the difference in my opinion.

Wide Receiver
**Not much needs to be said about Stacy Coley. We know what he can do.

**The Ryan Williams injury hurts Rashawn Scott, who was having a tremendous spring. Williams and Scott had a great rapport on the field. Look for him to still rebound after an injury-laden junior season. He has been focused this spring and it is showing.

**Perhaps the most encouraging sign at the position has been the resurgence of Malcolm Lewis. It was evident that he just wasn’t himself last season, but seems to have regained that step. He could be a young QB’s best friend with his ability to get open and make big catches to extend drives, which has been a specialty of his since high school.

**Herb Waters continues to show that he is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. D’Mauri Jones has shown signs of progress as well. He had a couple big plays in the first scrimmage. We will see if it is enough for him to finally touch the field this year.

**It’s a shame we weren’t able to see what Braxton Berrios could do this spring because the opportunity was there for him to step in and make an impact. I still think he could see the field in some capacity this season. He is just too impactful with the ball in his hands to deny him the chance to make plays.

Tight End
**Clive Walford coming back for his senior year was a huge boost for the offense. He has the ability to stretch the field and has also shown that he is a very capable blocker.

**The big surprise for me at tight end has been Standish Dobard’s development. I still wish that he could have been redshirted last year, but he has been excellent when I’ve seen him and that sentiment was echoed by people who are at practice every day.

**I am still holding out hope that Beau Sandland could develop into a reliable target during his senior year, but for some reason he just doesn’t seem like he can get over that hump that has been there since he arrived at Miami. He has not blown people away over the last month.

Offensive Line
**Ereck Flowers and Danny Isidora have both had phenomenal efforts this spring. Expectations are sky high for both of them, especially Flowers (1st round ability). Sahne McDermott is locked in at center, Feliciano at the other guard spot, and I think that Taylor Gadbois has finally turned the corner. Miami coaches have raved about his ability for a couple years now, but he needed to mature before he took that next step. It appears that he has done so, at least on the field.

**Kc McDermott and Trevor Darling have both had their ups-and-downs. I like what I’ve seen from Darling, but reviews have been mixed on McDermott. It is rare for a true freshman offensive lineman to come in and start right away, but I thought McDermott had a shot to do that before spring. He will probably still see significant time, but I would be surprised if he is on the field a lot early on.

**Sonny Odogwu still has a ways to go before he can be considered for a full-time role in my opinion.

Defensive Line

**Ufomba Kamalu is the most physically impressive lineman on the roster right now and he has had a very good spring. He has had one of the best performers on the team, which is encouraging at a position that is looking for a breakout star under Golden.

**Olsen Pierre has the ability to be a very good run-stopping DE in this scheme and he looks like he is in the best shape of his career. Expectations within the program are high for his last season. Jelani Hamilton still does not seem like he will reach the level that many expected he would be at out of high school.

**We know what to expect from Tyriq McCord and Alquadin Muhammad off the edge. The question is if they will be used more creatively than last season. When it was third-and-long, opposing coordinators knew McCord and Muhammad would be stunting to the inside. I don't know how much bigger either of them will really get, so I hope D’Onofrio has some new ways to use them.

**Calvin Heurtelou will be relied on heavily next year just based on his sheer size. He came in out of shape and is finally getting caught up to speed, so these next few months will be big for him with conditioning before the season grind begins.

**The door is wide open for Chad Thomas to come in and play right away. I still would not discount Demetrius Jackson or Trent Harris from being able to see the field as well.


**Looking at the two freshmen linebackers, Darrion Owens has been excellent. He had a superb scrimmage a couple weeks ago and brings length and explosiveness to the field at a position that has lacked it over the past few years. Juwon Young has been a relative disappointment for me because I had some pretty high expectations for him (probably unfair for an EE LB). I’m told that he has had some early issues reading and processing plays quickly enough. Physically, he is there, but mentally he needs some time.

**Figueroa’s shoulder is worrisome to me. That is something he has dealt with since high school and actually sat out an entire year before coming to Miami partially due to the fact that he had to rehab it. When he is healthy, there is no denying that he is a force.

**Jermaine Grace is still very light and I don’t know if his body is really built to add that much more weight, but I am a big fan of what he can bring. Like I mentioned with Owens, he would add a lot of athletic ability to the field. He should definitely see a lot more time this season, especially in passing situations. Could be a threat as a blitzer as well.

**Denzel is Denzel.

Defensive Back
**This group is special in my opinion. Deon Bush is back. Jamal Carter is shining. Dallas Crawford is at his natural position and making plays. Tracy Howard is a potential All-American.

**Rayshawn Jenkins has been dealing with a minor injury that has limited him and that is why there hasn’t been much talk about him. I was a huge advocate of the Crawford move just knowing that he was a stud back there in high school and he has not disappointed. Jenkins and Bush will probably still get the nod as starters, but Crawford and Carter will rotate in frequently, as we have seen the last couple years with Highsmith and Rodgers.

**I touched on it, but Jamal Carter has been one of the most exciting players this spring. He is another guy who has all the elite physical tools to be special, but really needed that one learning year. He is a hunter. He is not necessarily a safety who will read the quarterback’s eyes from across the field and pick off a pass, but he is a quick-twitch athlete who sees ball and hits. He will thrive in the run game and could be a huge asset covering the tight end because he is strong enough to bang with them.

**At corner, Larry Hope has quietly made a big stride. Prior to spring practice, there was a lot of talk that he could be on his way out, but he dedicated himself in the weight room and the results are showing.

**Ryan Mayes has gotten mixed reviews. Everyone loves his size, but some people just don't think he’s a “player”.

Comments (100)

regarding your olsen notes, i just can't take it seriously considering your bias. good work on the rest.
Definitely worried about Figs this season because of his shoulder. One of my worries is he'll never reach his potential because of that shoulder.

Love our Safety depth now, with Kiy on his way that's five guys who could be legit.
Great write up. Fairly spot on imo. Although I'm not sure about the whole Ryan Mayes not being a "player" thing. From everything I've seen he's hanging in there with everyone else. He did well with the early opportunity in the absense of Hope, Burns, and Elder I thought
nothing shocking in here although from what i've read it seems like Gus has been better than described here. The olsen/williams thing annoys me - i think it is symptomatic of Golden not actually providing an open competition and always going with the experienced guy. DLine continues to concern.
Did safety go from one of our weakest spots to our strongest in one off-season?

Can't wait to see our WRs this year. Hopefully they get good QB play.

Walford will start cuz of seniority, but I think Dobard will be our best TE this season. STUD.
Great write up. Fairly spot on imo. Although I'm not sure about the whole Ryan Mayes not being a "player" thing. From everything I've seen he's hanging in there with everyone else. He did well with the early opportunity in the absense of Hope, Burns, and Elder I thought

Don't think anyone can come away with a opinion on an EE freshman saying he's not a "player" so early on.
I still find it funny that by all accounts Ryan Williams was clearly the number 1, but people still claim it is golden being partial to the senior.
Very upsetting to hear Hamilton is not ready for prime time. He was a kid I thought could make a difference on our defense.

Our secondary can really be special, and we didn't even talk about Burns, Crawford or the addition of Hester.
Chickillo needs to play 20x better this year and cause havoc on the line. AQM should see the field more also this year.
Does Kaaya have pictures of you with another man? Man what a ridiculous statement about starting a true freshman qb is theo only thing that will revive the fan base! Olsen starting can too

They should move ray Lewis to rb to add depth
It's a **** shame Kaaya didn't make it in for spring. He'd likely be the starter had came in early.
Pete is some kind of in love with Kaaya - take his commentary with an entire can of salt
From my past seeings of. QB's from cali, they are usually ready to play coming in. In telling you guys history is repeating itself with Dorsey and Kayaa.
Kaaya winning the job would not make me excited at all. If a kid comes into a program and gets the starting nod after being there for 3 months, that is very scary.