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Lashlee gives take on QB progress, looking for primary RB

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Stefan Adams

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After Thursday’s drills, Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee took some time to discuss the progress of his offense this spring, beginning with the young quarterbacks in Tyler Van Dyke, Jake Garcia, and Peyton Matocha.

“They’ve all progressed well, and you’d hope that because they’re all getting more reps than they’ve ever gotten,” Lashlee said. “Van Dyke may be the most experienced one we have. He’s improved a lot more from where he was last year. And he should be more comfortable. Matocha is getting more reps than he’s ever gotten and done some really nice things. And then you’ve got Jake Garcia, he’s really supposed to still be in high school, going to prom. For a freshman, he showed great poise and calmness, done really well.

“They make a lot mistakes, that’s what spring ball is for, but done a good job of not repeating mistakes, which is promising. Hopefully tomorrow night they take that next step. At the end of the day, are we moving the offense or not is the biggest deal. They’ve all gotten better and should because they’re getting more reps than they’ve ever gotten.”

Lashlee also gave an update on the recovery of QB D’Eriq King, although he noted King’s status is mostly the same as it was at the beginning of spring.

“I don’t think a whole lot has changed from what coach (Manny) Diaz and myself have said,” Lashlee said. “He’s doing excellent, is doing what we thought he’d do as far as exceeding expectations. He’s in a really good place mentally, physically. Our team is doing a really good job medically, in the rehab process. We feel really good about where he is. There’s no point rushing anything.”

The Hurricanes are looking to use this spring to develop some WR depth behind returning leading receiver Mike Harley, and Lashlee said the group has impressed at times in camp.

“I’m not going to highlight one, it’s not fair to anybody and not accurate,” Lashlee said of the receivers. “All of them are doing some good things, have areas to improve on. I do like a guy like Harley’s leadership. He’s trying to be a leader for us. You look at a guy like Xavier (Restrepo) who just gives you everything he has, lays it on the line. He plays so hard the ball finds him. I feel really good about (Charleston) Rambo and (Dee) Wiggins and Keyshawn (Smith) and even (Mark) Pope and all those guys. They’re all doing some really good things.

“It’s a process, we’re a work in progress. We’re on the right track, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Miami has rolled with a three RB approach this spring, as Don Chaney, Cam Harris, and Jaylan Knighton have all seen reps with the first team, although Lashlee says he would prefer to settle on one primary back for the 2021 season.

“It’s just my philosophy in general (to have a primary RB),” Lashlee said. “The running back has got to get in a rhythm, you have to have some consistency. That doesn’t mean all three won’t be important and maybe young guys (too). It’s an easy headline `There’s one.’ That’s not the case. Others can have a role.

“At the end of the day, in a game situation, it’s not a must (to have a primary RB) - there may be a game next year nobody has 20 carries. You want to let guys get in a rhythm - another guy may have a different role but he comes in and is fresh. A guy on third down. The competition has been great. We feel blessed to have three guys we think can all earn that starting spot and if something happens to whoever earns that starting spot, those guys can hop up and we wouldn’t miss a beat.”

While the Canes broke off more than a few big runs in 2020, there were also too many runs that went for zero or negative yardage, and Lashlee would like to see UM be more consistent running the ball on a play-by-play basis moving forward.

“Last year wasn’t as consistent as we needed (in the run game),” Lashlee said. “That’s a point of emphasis, trying to be more consistent running the football.”

The Canes are banged up at tight end this spring, as presumed starter Will Mallory is out with a shoulder injury, while Dominic Mammarelli and Elijah Arroyo have missed time as well, and Lashlee was asked if that has held back the run game at all.

“We’re thin there (at TE), but it hasn’t held back our progress trying to run the football,” Lashlee said. “Michael Parrott is a tight end/fullback, does a nice job, we have Will Huggins, have some bodies and they’re doing a nice job. They might not be your typical tight end bodies, but those guys are doing a good job.”

Miami’s second spring scrimmage will take place Friday (4/9) night, and Lashlee gave his take on what he’ll be looking for from his unit.

“Just go out and play,” Lashlee said. “Practices have been really competitive. Our defense is playing with a great edge, flying around, a lot of give and take. That’s what makes you better. You just want to see how guys handle being in the stadium, if they act any different. We want to be physical, fast, continue to execute. We’re not overwhelming them with a ton of scheme, just execute good football plays.”
 

djnellz

Shut up, Karen.
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"even Pope"

Anyway, we better see Restrepo play early and often
It reminds me of when Michael Jackson and Jermaine's beef. Michael would shout out his family and say yes, including Jermaine as a diss to him.

I don't see Pope being on the field the way he said that. That was a lot like include him so he won't cry moment IMO.
 
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SFbayCane

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“Just go out and play,” Lashlee said. “Practices have been really competitive. Our defense is playing with a great edge, flying around, a lot of give and take.

He did not just say 'flying around', did he?





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FrancisSawyer

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I hope the primary RB talk is riding the hot hand rather than forcing the ball to one guy game after game.
Based on Lashlee's comments so far I am fairly confident that he means riding the hot hand. Funny thing about the way he keeps framing the RB competition and the talk about a feature back makes me think Lashlee has a few goodies up his sleeve in terms of using his RBs.

I have a feeling that we are going to be seeing a lot of 21 personnel at times. I believe Lash is using this spring to try out some different formation with 2 RBs. I could also see a package with all 3 top RBs on the field together.

It's all about using your personnel in a way that maximizes their talents. When breaking down this offense one can immediately see that we have 3 excellent skill players at RB. Use them! Basically I think all this feature back talk is a smokescreen for his true intentions which are to better utilize all 3.

Depending on how Arroyo comes along during the Summer/Fall we could once again have a legit duo at TE with Mallory/Arroyo. That just gives us more flexibility in terms of potential matchups depending on who we face that week.

At WR I'm rolling with Harley, Rambo, X and Key as my top 4. Counting the incoming freshmen we will have 8 WR battling for the last 2 spots. This should be very interesting. My dream scenario would be for X to do what he's doing now in real games and for Key Smith to start coming into his own combined with Brinson and B.Smith being too good to keep off the field. Whatever happens the 2021 offense should have many more proven weapons and significantly more flexibility in terms of formation and personnel groupings.
 

edge

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“And even Mark Pope”

That speaks volumes. It shows after last season coaches were just about done with him. And still might be.
 

Turnoverchaincane

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“Just go out and play,” Lashlee said. “Practices have been really competitive. Our defense is playing with a great edge, flying around, a lot of give and take.

He did not just say 'flying around', did he?
Yes and he also said this......

It’s a process, we’re a work in progress. We’re on the right track, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”

I'm ded!!!

Go Canes!!!!
 

grover

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I must have missed a game where Restrepo looked good. I didn't see anything from him but it seems that people are high on him. I hope he shows out and proves me wrong but I don't see a playmaker.

People are high on him because he's getting praise from all parties during this practice series and Coach Macho was his coach and said he was a straight out baller who carrier the team on his back. He may be a Green Tree AA. But he may also be a breakout candidate. Either way, one to watch.
 

Coach Macho

aka Beardy Ryan
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I must have missed a game where Restrepo looked good. I didn't see anything from him but it seems that people are high on him. I hope he shows out and proves me wrong but I don't see a playmaker.
This logic is so silly.
It's hard to see anything when he hasn't been given a chance.

However, this is the second off-season in a row where we've heard stories about him tearing it up in practice. And I'm not just talking about message board hearsay, I'm talking about people who have actually watched practice, who say he's out there killing people.

The kid has done MORE than enough to earn his spot.
 
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