The Work: Canes Camp 3 Recap
**For the second straight day after practice, Mark Richt seemed pleased with his team as a whole – specifically the defense.
“Great day as far as putting some shoulder pads on, and being able to pop a little bit and dodo what we call thud – which is a full speed drill but there’s no below the waist blocking and tackling to the ground,” said Richt.
“There were some nice contact plays, but the defense definitely won the day. They looked like they were more excited about playing football today. It started with them and continued. Offensively, I will say that sometimes when things go on and it turns to junk, but these guys kept competing. Overall, the defense looked like a more physically tough team than the offense.”
Richt added that “it was a swarm” defensively, but that the defensive backs were very impressive to him. He knows that competition normally breeds success.
“I’d be sick if the offense won every day. If at least one side of the ball is tough and getting after it, sooner or later the other side will rise to it,” said Richt.
“We are so much better than even the last day of spring because we look better. We’re stronger, we’re leaner, we’re in better condition. They understand how we want them to practice. If a receiver runs down the field 70 or 80 yards, the whole defense will be chasing his rear end.”
**The Hurricanes have had sporadic offensive line play in Brad Kaaya's first two seasons in Coral Gables. Mark Richt is pleased with his group’s progress in the offseason, though.
“I think they’re in good condition – they’ll be strong enough, athletic enough. I know they’ll be well coached,” said Richt. “Sometimes there were great pockets of protection, but the defense still won because they covered it well.”
The first team unit has predominantly been Trevor Darling, Kc McDermott, Nick Linder, Danny Isidora, and Sonny Odogwu. But Hurricanes offensive line coach Stacy Searels explained that there hasn’t been a decision made on starters.
“During team periods, I’m rolling Tyler Gauthier in there, I’m rolling Tyree St. Louis in there, I’m rolling Alex Gall in there with some of the other guys. We are trying to find the best five,” said Searels.
Miami’s biggest asset on the line this season is potentially its health.
“We’re thin right now. And if you don’t have Nick Linder and Sonny Odogwu, you’re paper thin,” he said. “I think Gus Felder did a great job with them in the weight room. They came back in shape and they’re strong right now. The older guys we’re counting on to play are back healed and in shape.”
Odogwu knows that his unit needs to be much better than they’ve been the last two seasons, as Brad Kaaya has been sacked a combined 36 times.
“We have to keep pushing ourselves out there to make sure that Brad is protected. His potential is at the peak right now. If we do our jobs correctly, you are going to hear stories about Brad Kaaya,” said Odogwu.
Odogwu on Kaaya: “Some plays he makes out there – I just look at him and go crazy. He looks great. The way composes himself and carries the team – he carries both the offense and defense. He tells you what you need to expect,” said Odogwu.
“This guy isn’t just preparing for camp or for himself, but he’s getting ready for like week ten. He already knows everything that’s coming.”
Miami will need to rely on improved play from junior Trevor Darling at left tackle.
Juniors Nick Linder and Kc McDermott are both projected starters and have high hopes this season after battling injuries last year.
Linder told reporters that his shoulder that forced him out of action last season is back at 100% and that it hasn’t bothered him at all in fall camp.
“Not a lot of people know what’s going on behind-the-scenes. Sonny, Danny, and myself were all playing through injuries – Alex and Trevor too. You just have to fight thought it and move on,” said Linder. “If I take a play off because I’m hurting, that’s going to get someone else hurt.”
Sonny Odogwu, whose knee injury forced him to miss spring practice, is on the field and receiving first team reps at right tackle with Tyree St. Louis.
**It was evident after the first two days of camp based on his performance and the coaches' quotes that Adrian Colbert was a contender for serious playing time. Corn Elder is very likely to hold one of the starting spots, while Colbert will compete with Sheldrick Redwine for the other boundary spot. Although depth might concern Canes fans, the group seems confident.
“Everybody is coming along and comfortable in the defense. Everybody is making plays and having fun,” said Elder.
Despite Colbert only being at Miami for a short period of time, sophomore corner Sheldrick Redwine explained that the grad transfer from Texas has made his presence known early in the locker room.
“He’s taking on a leadership role. He’s been getting our young guys right and getting everybody right,” said Redwine.
Redwine, who has played as a boundary cornerback throughout his high school and early part of his college career, is testing his skills in the nickel position this fall.
“At the nickel so far, it’s been me, Corn (Elder), Adrian (Colbert), and Rayshawn (Jenkins) a little bit…and JaQuan (Johnson),” Redwine said. “From seeing Corn play it last year, it seemed like a real fun spot with blitzes and sticking quicker receivers and making more open-field tackles…It’s an attacking defense. If I see something, I can try to go get it.”
The sophomore Redwine also said that he expects to play more press coverage in the new defense.
Elder on Adrian Colbert: “He’s fast, he can cover. Today, he made some good plays and he’s had a couple interceptions the last few days.”
**Richt updated the fullback spot and confirmed that transfer Marquez Williams is currently the starter.
“It’s a very physical position. Big boy Marquez (Williams) right now, hes’ running with the ones. He’s how you draw them up. He got some good strikes today,” he said.
**I asked Corn Elder if he expected to be involved in the return game this season and he said, “we’ll see” with a smile. Elder added that he’s been catching punts and kicks.
According to Elder, Sam Bruce is catching punts as well as Stacy Coley, Malcolm Lewis, and Braxton Berrios.
**Linebacker Jermaine Grace was back at practice after missing Friday morning’s camp due to a conflicting final exam.