The Work: Practice 1 recap and quotes
The media was allowed to watch for about an hour of practice for Mark Richt’s opening day of fall camp at Miami. Here are my impressions from that period along with some notable quotes.
**The first thing that I took note of was that Al-quadin Muhammad and Jermaine Grace both participated in practice. That was not a surprise, but it was good to see them out there nonetheless as they are facing an internal probe. Both are expected to be on the team and were working with the first team unit. Juwon Young, on the other hand, was not at practice. We have reported that he is no longer on the team stemming from the luxury car rental incident.
“They’re on the team and practicing right now,” was the only comment that Mark Richt made on AQM and Grace.
**On the offensive line, the biggest question remains right tackle where redshirt junior Sonny Odogwu appeared to be working with the first team unit of Trevor Darling, Kc McDermott, Nick Linder, and Danny Isidora. Tyree St. Louis will try to pry that spot away from Odogwu, but if Sonny remains healthy, he should take control. Remember, Odogwu missed the spring with a knee injury.
**Richt said that the thought of redshirting Jack Allison has not crossed his mind yet. He maintained that there remains a rotation behind Brad Kaaya as the battle for the backup quarterback spot goes on.
Evan Shirreffs, who is battling for the backup position, said that coaches are preaching “consistency” as the important thing to focus on. Shirreffs says that he added 15 pounds in the offseason and credited the strength and conditioning and nutrition staff for getting him to 210 pounds.
Shirreffs gave his thoughts on the two freshmen receivers.
I saw a really nice play from Ahmmon when he had a streak on the outside and he blew past the corner and Jack (Allison) hit him. Bruce is obviously one of the quickest guys we’ve got. I think they can both make an impact.
**At wide receiver, the first group that I saw emerge with Brad Kaaya was Stacy Coley in the slot with Braxton Berrios and Ahmmon Richards on the outside. David Njoku and Chris Herndon were also with the first team along with Mark Walton at running back.
“Sam’s (Bruce) a little bit behind because he hasn’t been here as much and we’re trying to get him to learn a couple different spots,” said Richt.
Richt touted both Richards’ and Bruce’s speed as well, but noted that they need to develop their ball skills.
**What appeared to be Miami’s first team “base” 4-3 defense was the following:
DE Chad Thomas
DT R.J. McIntosh
DT Kendrick Norton
DE Al-Quadin Muhammad
LB Mike Pinckney
LB Shaquille Quarterman
LB Jermaine Grace
RCB Sheldrick Redwine
LCB Corn Elder
FS Rayshawn Jenkins
SS Jamal Carter
**Jamie Gordinier was getting in the mix at linebacker as well as Gerald Willis and Anthony Moten on the defensive line.
**Willis limped off the field about an hour and a half into practice. It did not appear to be a serious injury, hopefully just a cramp. Mark Richt then commented on the heat in his post-practice presser.
“There’s a few guys that cramped up a little bit, but here we are in south Florida in the middle of the day,” Richt said.
“We’re making them sprint everywhere they go, we’re making them finish. It’s not easy. We’re conditioning during camp,” he said.
**Sophomore defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh described Miami’s defensive scheme as “a big race to the quarterback”.
“They want us to keep fighting forward – it’s more aggressive,” he added.
McIntosh said that he thinks freshman defensive end Patrick Bethel, an early enrollee, could see the field this season.
**This coaching staff has been high on redshirt senior safety Rayshawn Jenkins, who is fully healthy and in the best shape of his career. Jenkins explained the biggest difference about Miami’s defense this season in his opinion.
“You can just play fast. He (Coach Diaz) puts us in situations to make plays and let’s us be ball hawks around the ball,” he said.
“They want me around the ball. They have me towards the strength and around the ball.”
**At tight end, Michael Irvin II has been on the radar for a few weeks as a player making gains in the weight room and impressing the quarterbacks. Standing side-by-side with David Njoku, Irvin has the base and frame to grow into the type of mismatch problem that Njoku has become. Irvin II made this nice juggling catch against senior linebacker Jermaine Grace:
**Miami signee Dionte Mullins was walking around practice in street clothes. There is still no official word on his qualifying status, though. He is not yet enrolled in classes, but Miami remains hopeful that the final i’s will be dotted and t’s crossed.
**One freshman who caught my eye just moving around was linebacker Zach McCloud, who showed his lengthy and fluidity in one-on-ones. He could be special once his physicality develops.
“McCloud is getting a lot of reps at the two unit and he’s going to be competing for a starting spot,” said Richt.
Richt added that the true freshmen linebackers Mike Pinckney and Shaquille Quarterman have “as much experience in this defense as anybody”. Both of them are expecting to start alongside Jermaine Grace.
**Linebacker Darrion Owens appeared to be a full go today while wearing a knee brace. He is recovering from a torn ACL and meniscus. Owens was expected to play a pivotal role in Miami’s defense last year and if he is 100%, he could provide some nice depth for the Hurricanes at one of their thinnest positions at linebacker. Richt seemed to feel like they will remain cautious with him, but says that he is definitely in the mix.
“I’m just trying to trust it and get back in the flow of things since I’ve been out for a while,” said Owens. “It’s just a mind thing right not that I’m battling.”
“Hopefully he’ll be able to practice every single day and be in that kind of condition and not fatigue in the area that you were injured. So far, he did well,” said Mark Richt.
**Miami’s new fullback Marquez Williams is a TANK. We aren’t able to see what he’s capable of just yet, since the team is not in pads – but I can say that he looks to be every pound of the 280 he’s listed at. Here is a video of him walking around.
“He moves well – he’s about a 280-pounder. He’s very physical. If you looked up the definition of fullback in Webster’s, you’d probably have a picture of that guy,” Richt said. “That’s the body type and athleticism you like to have.”