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Cager at PR? (Matt Porter article)

scrantoncane

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CORAL GABLES — A few updates from Wednesday morning’s practice …

* Junior Sam linebacker Charles Perry, running as a second-teamer behind starter Zach McCloud, missed the early part of practice. The Royal Palm Beach High alum was wearing a sling on his left elbow and riding a stationary bike. Teammates and coaches have spoken positively about his development.

Others working at Sam: true freshman De’Andre Wilder and walk-on Eddie Dunn. True freshman Waynmon Steed, still out with a knee injury, was hitting the sled and appears closer to a return.

* True freshman wideout and punt returner Jeff Thomas was on the bike and not participating in early drills. Thomas was not wearing a brace or showing any outward sign of injury. His absence put Lawrence Cager back at punt returner for another day, next to true freshman DeeJay Dallas. Maybe Lawrence Cager, 6-foot-5 Punt Returner may be a thing after all? He has strong hands and good speed, so he appears capable of filling a role there, though it seems he may be needed more as an big-body receiver and red-zone threat.

* Sophomore tight end Michael Irvin II, who returned to practice Tuesday, did a short conditioning stint before jumping into drills. Irvin was dealing with dehydration early in camp.

* Another sophomore starting slow, linebacker Michael Pinckney, was conditioning. Pinckney has been limited by a hamstring injury.

* Redshirt junior Darrion Owens has been running with the first team in Pinckney’s absence. “He was ‘that guy,'” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said Tuesday of Owens, before his 2015 knee injury. Diaz also said redshirt junior Mike Smith has been “active and making plays … some guys, they just lock in and realize it’s their time to make an impact on the team. You see that with Mike.” Diaz also praised the recovery of redshirt sophomore Jamie Gordinier and the improvement of true freshman Bradley Jennings and redshirt junior Terry McCray.

“All those guys should be fighting for some role to help Miami win games,” Diaz said.

We’ll talk to Smith, who UM planned to also use as a fullback, after Wednesday’s practice. Also speaking: offensive coordinator Thomas Brown and wideouts Ahmmon Richards and Braxton Berrios.

* Diaz, speaking after Tuesday’s practice, was high on his defensive tackles. Starters Kendrick Norton and RJ McIntosh, both juniors, are “not satisfied” with last year’s production, he said. The two combined for 19.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Sophomore Pat Bethel, a converted end, was raised (by his father, former Canes tight end Randy Bethel) to “give you everything he has.” Anthony Moten, Diaz said, is “starting to raise his game.” No better time for that for Moten, a 6-foot-4, 315-pound senior.

Then there’s true freshman Jon Ford, who has yet to enroll but has intriguing potential at 6-5 and close to 300 pounds. Asked how quickly Ford could acclimate, Diaz used a metaphor. “It’s like opening a present,” he said. “You had one left under the tree. You’re putting your tree [out] a couple weeks after Christmas and all of a sudden there’s one left in there. We’ll open it up, see if we can plug it in and play.”

* In Saturday’s scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium (closed to public and media, by the way), Diaz said he’s looking to see if his team can tackle, especially in the secondary. He’s also waiting to see if the young and inexperienced players can play well outside of Greentree. “Even if the stadium’s empty, sometimes just being on the stage, the game moves a little faster,” he said.

* True freshman offensive lineman Zalon’tae Hillery (right foot/ankle in boot) and wideout Evidence Njoku (hyperextended left knee) were also riding the Tour de Greentree.

* Practice visitors have been a limited lot, but a Cleveland Browns rep (later discovered to be former UM linebacker Glenn Cook, a Browns scout) and coaches from Miami-Booker T. Washington High were spotted on the field.
 

scrantoncane

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And here is Barry Jackson's article...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes after Wednesday’s practice:

• Braxton Berrios, one of the team’s most thoughtful, articulate players, naturally wouldn’t say publicly who’s leading the QB race even if he had an opinion.

But he insisted Tuesday that the top contenders are extremely close in performance through nine days of camp.

That’s a view we’ve heard elsewhere as well, with top contenders N’Kosi Perry, Evan Shirreffs and Malik Rosier all having their moments in camp but none of them perfect by any means.


“I don’t see much distance whatsoever,” Berrios said. “They are all splitting reps. There is zero distance in my mind. And I kind of expected that until the first scrimmage and especially the second scrimmage. Once people go live, you see a lot more than you do when you can’t get hit. I don’t see much distance. It’s a pretty even race right now.”

Scrimmages the next two Saturdays will have a major role in determining the starter.

• It’s easy to overlook Shirreffs, who received no Power Five conference scholarship offers other than a late one from Miami.

But receiver Ahmmon Richards said Shirreffs doesn’t have an issue with getting the ball downfield 50 plus yards, amid previous questions about arm strength: “He can throw the ball. He works extremely hard and he really cares. You can see the passion he plays with.”

And Berrios said: “I don’t care about stars, how many offers you have. I always knew he could be something special. He’s a good quarterback overall.”

• Depth at running back and tight end are real concerns.

At running back, Travis Homer is Mark Walton’s likely backup, though offensive coordinator Thomas Brown stopped short of saying that.

But he made clear Crispian Atkins is pushing Trayone Gray for the No. 3 job. Freshman Robert Burns (shoulder) isn’t expected to be ready for the opener, as Mark Richt has said.

“Atkins has been a pleasant surprise,” Brown said. “Every spot is up for grabs. Robert is getting mental reps. In the spring, he looked really good. Big, physical guy, really powerful with top end speed.”

When will Burns be able to play?

“Who knows?” Brown said.

Brown said receiver DeeJay Dallas hasn’t received any snaps at running back during camp.

But moving Dallas to running back “isn’t out of the question,” Brown said. “He’s a very versatile player. We can use him multiple returns, including kickoff returns and punt returns.”

At tight end, no clear cut backup has emerged behind Chris Herndon.

Michael Irvin Jr. has missed time with dehydration. Walk-on Malik Curry has received considerable work with the second-team. And freshman Brian Polendey remains a work in progress.

“Curry has been solid every day, consistent,” Brown said. “It would be tough to make it through some practices without him. He’s been great for us so far. Polendey is being more consistent with run blocking and knowing what to do and catching the ball out in space will be a big thing for us. But he’s been fine.”

• I asked Brown if he’s comfortable using Berrios, who’s a skilled slot receiver, on the boundary, if he and Richt determine that Richards, Berrios and natural slot receiver Jeff Thomas are Miami’s top three.

“The great thing about Berrios is he can play multiple positions,” Brown said, noting Thomas and Mike Harley are playing both inside and outside as well. “He’s a super smart guy. We wouldn’t have any hesitation to put him where we need him best. Great confidence in Berrios” - who said he’s looking forward to more targets.

• Brown said of Mike Smith: “I’m not sure how much we will use him at [fullback]” because he’s needed at linebacker.

Smith said his offensive snaps have been limited.

• Richards, on Dee Delaney: “He’s a bigger corner, likes to use his hands. That’s helping me get better, using his hands.” And Malek Young? “He uses his head, tries to outsmart you, based on your tendencies. He watches a lot of film, knows what you want to do.”

Berrios said this cornerback group should be at the caliber at a very high level of ACC football, if not higher.

• Sophomore defensive end Joe Jackson, who had 8.5 sacks as a freshman, said freshman Jon Garvin might be better than he was at this stage.

"I think he can be better than me at this time because he came in earlier,” Jackson said. “I think he has better raw talent than me, to be honest. He's doing real well -- when he learns the play he'll be OK. One thing he does do well is his speed. He comes off the ball and he's fast. It's very hard to stop him when he just uses his speed rush.”

Manny Diaz has said that Garvin “terrorized” Palm Beach County as a high school pass-rusher.
 

scrantoncane

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• I asked Brown if he’s comfortable using Berrios, who’s a skilled slot receiver, on the boundary, if he and Richt determine that Richards, Berrios and natural slot receiver Jeff Thomas are Miami’s top three.

“The great thing about Berrios is he can play multiple positions,” Brown said, noting Thomas and Mike Harley are playing both inside and outside as well. “He’s a super smart guy. We wouldn’t have any hesitation to put him where we need him best. Great confidence in Berrios” - who said he’s looking forward to more targets.

Love this. I want to see Thomas and Harley outside (as well as in the slot) to give Berrios a chance. I know he hasn't put up numbers and a lot of people are selling their stock, but I think he can help move the chains if used properly.

And I just wanna see JT and Harley run go routes right by people.
 

407cane

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Sorry for asking a noob question but is Pinckneys conditioning an issue dude looks out of shape

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

gcane44

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Sorry for asking a noob question but is Pinckneys conditioning an issue dude looks out of shape

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

Sounds like he's nursing a hamstring strain that the coaches are being careful not to turn into a pull. Super common in early camp and being precautionary is by far the best move
 

Colombie

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"• Sophomore defensive end Joe Jackson, who had 8.5 sacks as a freshman, said freshman Jon Garvin might be better than he was at this stage."

This is the best news I have read this whole camp.
Very excited to see this news actually.
 

CFLCane

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[MENTION=1740]brock[/MENTION] ......crispian atkins....


Why arent you pumping RB depth sunshine at us?
 

DC1986

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Need to try DJ Johnson at PR. He might kill someone.
 

MizCane

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I would assume Cager is just getting in hand eye reps. As a WR it never hurts to catch balls whether they are a pass or fielding a punt.
 

The Franchise

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[MENTION=1740]brock[/MENTION] ......crispian atkins....


Why arent you pumping RB depth sunshine at us?

Is it impossible that Atkins can be a good 3rd or 4th team RB? I think he put up some decent numbers in a scrimmage.

Wasn't Dee Delaney a total scrub with no offers at one point? Now, he's a highly-regarded CB at a marquee P5 program.
 
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