Thoughts on the first spring of the Richt era

Thoughts on the first spring of the Richt era

DMoney
These are some observations from the watching all three scrimmages and a few practices:

If I could describe the last few years of the Golden era in a word, it would be “frantic.” Starters like Deon Bush rotated constantly with less-talented backups. We shifted back and forth from pro-style with Kaaya to spread-option with Rosier. Even Golden’s post-practice interviews seemed scatterbrained and paranoid.

Richt brings predictability and stability. He’s already had success and is confident in his system. Every practice looks pretty much the same. There’s no more music blaring. Instead of rushing through Oklahoma drills before starting a scrimmage, the sides just warm up and play ball. The best eleven players play with the 1s and stay there. The interviews are straightforward and candid. Everything just feels more stable.

I spent some time with an NFL personnel man, and he marveled at the difference. He said that Richt’s schemes are simple and sound, while Coley tried to do too much. I think the same can be said of the entire staff. We are really going back to the basics.

QB- Not much more can be said about Brad Kaaya. He is a star and Richt is gushing about him to people within the program. The biggest improvement in Kaaya’s game has been his mobility. He is making throws rolling right and left and generally looks quicker inside the pocket. Another summer of mat drills should help his athleticism.

None of the backups shined, which can be largely attributed to the lack of talent on the second team offense. Malik Rosier struggled with the transition to a pro-style offense. His accuracy is inconsistent and he lacks length to stand in the pocket. Evan Shirreffs looked more comfortable in the offense and made better decisions. I would like to see him become more confident as a passer over the summer.

Jack Allison is raw but has a very high ceiling. He made some eye-popping throws, including a deep ball to Berrios that was Morris-like. He still locks onto his first read and has inconsistent accuracy, but Richt will be great for his development. The height, coordination and arm are there. I’ve also heard he has a great attitude, and that Kaaya has taken him under his wing. Vincent Testaverde is talented for a walk-on but he is behind the other four.

HB- There is still no clear starter in the group. Mark Walton had the best spring and is running a lot more decisive. He remains excellent in the passing game. Joe Yearby is consistent. I wanted to see a little more from Gus Edwards, but he is still rusty from his layoff. The competition should continue over the summer. Trayone Gray showed his usual flashes but was stuck on the third team. He just hasn’t shown the football IQ to win over a coaching staff, which is surprising given his background as a QB.

FB- This position was an afterthought last year, but now it looks like 2001 all over again. For the first couple weeks, we used a series of walk-ons like Cory Giordano with the starters. None were really qualified. Things took a turn for the better when Christopher Herndon started getting increased reps at the position. He is an incredibly well-rounded football player who can block and catch. With him in the game, you can line up in an I-formation and shift to a two-TE or three-WR look, or vice versa. He is one of the most valuable players on the team right now.

The staff desperately needs to find another fullback this summer. That could be preferred walk-on Zak Lawler or a graduate transfer. Maybe it’s Michael Irvin II, who played all over the field at STA and brings many of the same traits as Herndon. Whoever that guy is, the fullback position is here to stay at Miami.

WR- This group is Stacy Coley and everyone else. He has added weight and looks ready for a Hurns/Dorsett-type senior year. But as we saw in the last week, durability will always be an issue. Braxton Berrios was the second-best receiver in camp. Because we played so little 11 personnel, Berrios did a lot of his damage on the outside. He has surprising strength and body control to win those battles. Lawrence Cager can get open but needs to improve his hands. He struggled with drops all spring, including on Saturday. Darrell Langham can’t separate, and Malcolm Lewis wasn't much of the factor. We need the freshmen receivers to make an impact like the young linebackers did.

TE- David Njoku should be one of the top receiving TEs in the country this year. We already discussed Herndon. Stan Dobard lost weight and is moving really well. Now he needs to become reliable with his hands. Jovani Haskins was at the scrimmage and looks physically ready to come in and play. Strong group.

OL- The first team looks like they will have enough to get the job done. Danny Isidora has finally taken the next step. He played strong, balanced and consistent all spring. Kc McDermott and Trevor Darling are talented guys who can move people. Tyree St. Louis had rough moments, but played well overall and flashed his talents (especially in the spring game). Once Nick Linder and Sonny Odogwu come back, this unit should be fine. The only thing really holding this group back is the lack of a true left tackle.

Ty Gauthier played a lot of center and held up well. I still like him best at guard. Alex Gall improved but is physically limited. Bar Milo played mostly left tackle, but isn’t a natural fit there. He needs to get stronger. The rest of the offensive linemen will struggle to see the field at Miami. There was too much dead weight in the 2015 class and we need a strong group in recruiting this year.

DT- This group was one of the stories of spring. Golden recruited well here in his last couple years and now they are getting coached. Kendrick Norton and Courtel Jenkins are big, bulky guys who have the first steps to be disruptive in the run game. RJ McIntosh and Gerald Willis are taller, more athletic guys who can get after the passer. Some if not all of these guys will play on Sundays. Anthony Moten is behind those four but can climb right back in the mix with a good summer. Ryan Fines should strongly consider moving to offensive line. He has a chance to really help there. At DT, he is going to get eclipsed by more athletic players.

DE- Not as deep as DT but still in decent shape. Al-Quadin Muhammad is the alpha of the group and sets the tone with his effort. Chad Thomas improved over the spring but isn’t there yet. He is still a bit predictable in his pass-rush and doesn’t always finish the play. Some early success will help him make the leap. Demetrius Jackson needs to become more consistent in the run game but was highly disruptive in the pass game. He has excellent closing speed and gets his hands on a ton of passes. Trent Harris makes plays with effort and instincts but lacks impact tools. Pat Bethel is not ready yet.

LB- These guys might have been the story of the spring. Shaq Quarterman and Mike Pinckney came in ready and have all but locked up starting jobs. You can see the ability to run and hit, but I’m most impressed by their attitudes and intelligence. They act like they belong. Quarterman is the bigger, more powerful player who blows up ballcarriers and forces fumbles. Pinckney is a little quicker and plays with impeccable timing. Both guys diagnose quickly and look comfortable in coverage.

Jermaine Grace is the same player we’ve seen and should flourish in this defense. The backups look improved as well. Juwon Young doesn’t play with the intelligence of Quarterman and Pinckney, but he is a devastating tackler with speed. Mike Smith handled the MIKE surprisingly well and looks improved. CJ Perry is a run-and-hit guy who put on weight and looks more comfortable in this defense. He has a future at LB but could possibly help at the FB position. Jamie Gordiner lacks speed but has good instincts in the middle. Zack McCloud will be just as good as the other two freshmen but isn’t as polished. Maybe it’s the #53 , but the way he runs and strikes reminds me of Navarro Bowman.

S- Pretty good spring but a lot of work to do. Rayshawn Jenkins and Jamal Carter played most of the reps with the 1s and look likely to start. I was particularly impressed with Jenkins’s approach. He’s been immature at times in the past, but he is locked in from all accounts. Both guys flash good tackling ability but they are inconsistent. That needs to change by September. Jaquan Johnson is a quick, instinctive player who will be on the field at either safety or nickel. Robert Knowles took positive steps in the spring and flashes a knack for the ball. He needs to keep working to hold off the incoming freshmen.

CB- This is one position where Miami cannot afford injuries. Corn Elder and Sheldrick Redwine are good, not great, and there is very little behind them. I wish we had more depth at receiver to test these guys. Mike Jackson is probably the most talented of the backups but will struggle some with quickness. Ryan Mayes has length and flashes ability but is not consistent. Terrance Henley is not ready. Malek Young will have an opportunity to play a big role immediately.

Overall, it was a productive and relatively healthy spring. We will know more in August camp, but the big story is that the young linebackers are for real and the team looks to be enjoying the transition to the new staff.
 

Comments (83)

Really was hoping Bar Milo was stronger...apparently he still looks and plays like a basketball player. [MENTION=2]DMoney[/MENTION] do you think Zach McCloud catches a RS since we have a couple of capable guys?
 
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DMoney: Pastor Richt referenced attrition when talking about picking up guys on the waiver wire. Any ideas on who might be on the way out? We need CB depth in the worst way.
 
If you're suffering from erectile dysfunction just go ahead and re-read those comments about DT. Problem will be solved.
 
Great write up, D. Thanks.

Looking forward to your comments on the fall camp and the potential impact of the newly arriving players
 
DMoney: Pastor Richt referenced attrition when talking about picking up guys on the waiver wire. Any ideas on who might be on the way out? We need CB depth in the worst way.

Most of the dead weight is at Oline and CB. Unfortunately we are low on numbers at the CB position so those players are safe for another year. As for O'line, its time to cut Bacon
 
We have an absolute budding star at qb, if all things go as planned(championships) this just might be his last year at Miami. Can't turn down being a top 5 pick, I don't know anyone who would do that.
 
Thanks for the write up!

And I really respect your delivery on this subject:

QB- ....

None of the backups shined, which can be largely attributed to the lack of talent on the second team offense. Malik Rosier struggled with the transition to a pro-style offense. His accuracy is inconsistent and he lacks length to stand in the pocket. Evan Shirreffs looked more comfortable in the offense and made better decisions. I would like to see him become more confident as a passer over the summer.

Jack Allison is raw but has a very high ceiling. He made some eye-popping throws, including a deep ball to Berrios that was Morris-like. He still locks onto his first read and has inconsistent accuracy, but Richt will be great for his development. The height, coordination and arm are there. I’ve also heard he has a great attitude, and that Kaaya has taken him under his wing. Vincent Testaverde is talented for a walk-on but he is behind the other four.


1 guy is a spread-QB who hasn't made the transition to pro-style ... Another guy has the look of what you want, but lacks the confidence to play well when "bullets are flying" ... Another should still be in high school, but appears to have the goods to play the position as he matures ... And another is a serviceable walk-on/scout QB, with a great last name.

Lucky for us ... It also appears Kaaya may have taken the next step in his QB development!

Could and should be a season where the O carries the team, while Diaz gets the D together.

And I'll also point this out ... Defenses can look a lot better than they really are when playing from the front. If the O gets things rolling early, those DBs can look much better when they know the O is passing, and the DL is getting pressure!
 
I dunno man. I know it would be hard to turn down top 5 potential if that's the case for him next year, but Kaaya seems like a 4 year guy to me. If Golden was here, I could definitely see Kaaya leaving after his junior year, but he's being coached by one of the best and will only keep getting better under Richt. I know you cant predict the future, but I can definitely see Kaaya staying all 4 especially of what we can potentially do in '17.




We have an absolute budding star at qb, if all things go as planned(championships) this just might be his last year at Miami. Can't turn down being a top 5 pick, I don't know anyone who would do that.
 
Great write up, D. Strong aggressive front 7 should help secondary and, more importantly help future recruiting on D --especially DT.
 
Good stuff, D. We have enough to win the coastal. Our program desperately needs success this season. If we win it's on and poppin'.
 
I dunno man. I know it would be hard to turn down top 5 potential if that's the case for him next year, but Kaaya seems like a 4 year guy to me. If Golden was here, I could definitely see Kaaya leaving after his junior year, but he's being coached by one of the best and will only keep getting better under Richt. I know you cant predict the future, but I can definitely see Kaaya staying all 4 especially of what we can potentially do in '17.




We have an absolute budding star at qb, if all things go as planned(championships) this just might be his last year at Miami. Can't turn down being a top 5 pick, I don't know anyone who would do that.

If there is a QB with top talent who stays for 4th year it will be Brad. Not starving and has stated he is staying. I would tell him to take the money, but a good year under Mark, might have the kid smelling the NC he came here for.
 
i think our starting dbs are pretty good it's just what's behind them that we need to improve other than Jaquan Johnson who could start IMO. They need to go ahead a move Jaquan to nickel corner. He would bring another physical presence at the CB position in the running game. Corn has the ability to tackle, Redwine is physical and a good tackler and you already know what Jaquan Johnson brings in that department. Regardless a great front 7 can improve the play of the cbs and safeties so I'm not that worried about that. It helps going against the best qb they will face all season by far*(unless Watson in acc championship ) every day in practice as well as a offensive guru calling plays.... I'm excited for this season man
 
Thanks D. Great to hear about Allison. It sounds like this might be Kaaya's last year here. If so, we need Allison to develop and learn quickly.
 
Kayaa has stated before he wants some hardware... Some type of championship. I think if this team is hitting on all cylinders for 2017 he would have to make a tough choice but would come back.
 
CJ Perry could possibly help at the FB position.
[MENTION=2]DMoney[/MENTION] I thought the same thing. Has this been mentioned by anyone around the program or is this just speculating on your part (not flaming)? I think he would be a perfect fit if he has the balls for it.
 
CJ Perry could possibly help at the FB position.
[MENTION=2]DMoney[/MENTION] I thought the same thing. Has this been mentioned by anyone around the program or is this just speculating on your part (not flaming)? I think he would be a perfect fit if he has the balls for it.

He played rb/fb in highschool in addition to his lb role.
 

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