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Spring Game Review (Long)

HighSeas

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Let's go position by position and break down what I saw from individual players in the Spring Game.

QB

I'll join the chorus who prefers Garcia to TVD at this point. The big trait differences are footwork/pocket movement and aggression. Garcia is comfortable climbing and sliding the pocket and does it even when he doesn't have to. It's just a natural part of his game. TVD is more statuesque and unnatural with his footwork. There were some throws he missed or failed to drive where he locked his front leg and armed the ball. Garcia has superior lower body mechanics and it's not close.

In terms of aggression we saw Garcia look to push the ball down the field, sometimes to a fault. It's easier to coach that out of a player than to teach them to look for the deep shot. I can see Garcia giving defenses fits with the tempo RPO game and then going for the deep ball kill shot when it's timed up. He's also experienced and proficient in Air Raid concepts. He threw a well-timed hole shot to Redding on his first drive which was my favorite moment of his. He's advanced for a guy who just got on campus. He was a beat late on a deep dig vs Cover 3 later on in the scrimmage but that's just an example to show he's not perfect, yet?

TVD is no slouch though because he has one thing over Garcia - processing speed and timing. His eyes were consistently in the right place and he gets the ball out instantly at the top of his drop. There were just too many off-target throws and touch throws where he needed to drive the ball. If he cleans up the accuracy issues he could be like Mac Jones with less confidence moving around the pocket and briefly extending plays. He may even have a stronger arm than Garcia but that tells you that arm talent =/= arm strength cause his arm talent is clearly inferior.

Speaking of arm talent, we know Matocha doesn't have what it takes in that department. I don't think the portal would be wise for him.

RB

Knighton ran well. His footwork and processing were on point. He just doesn't bring any power element and gets stopped easily on contact. That's not uncommon for his archetype of back and doesn't preclude him from having an NFL career. People thought Chase Edmonds would be the feature back for Arizona this year and he's the same way.

Harris didn't play much yet still had an awesome rep in pass pro, of course. His footwork still isn't on the level that Knighton showed, which is disappointing. He's a macro-mover who likes big jump cuts or longer diagonal cuts. This causes him to miss cutbacks and narrow creases. If he ran with micromovement like a Dalvin Cook or Alvin Kamara he'd be a big-time prospect and challenge Chaney for the feature job. I don't think Chaney should be worried as long as he can suit up.

WR

Rambo was ok. He caught everything and ran hard but his routerunning looked ordinary. He ran a speed out where he tipped off his route badly and those often end in pick 6es. He's still a clear starter imo.

Restrepo looks the part. The only issues with him is his small catch radius. He didn't adjust to an off-target TVD throw on a glance route at the goal line but then leaped to score the next one. He has to leave his feet to make most of his catches, which isn't ideal, but he turns into a ballcarrier quickly nonetheless. He should be a major factor.

Pope and Wiggins were their usual selves. Pope is way too soft, has permanent alligator arms and never attacks the ball at its highest point. He's supposed to be an athlete but never eludes anyone cause he runs so soft and tentative. If he enters the portal I'll be thrilled.

Wiggins can stick around though. Yes he still wilts on contact and has weak hands but he separates vertically and that's not nothing. I'd give him another chance to make some plays and see if he can turn it around. It's not unfathomable that he can run by guys in off-man or press-bail and actually catch the ball.

Keyshawn Smith is the dude who deserves the job. He's pretty explosive with his release and he might be the best technician on the team. His routes are precise, he's confident with his hands and he's efficient after the catch. I don't know what the coaches are missing.

The other guy I (still) like is Daz Worsham who's basically Keyshawn lite. He runs good routes and plays physical beyond his size and supposed athletic deficiencies. He reminds me of Riley Ridley. He should take over Pope's role as a versatile depth guy off the bench.

So based on what I saw here I'd go:

X - Rambo then Wiggins/Brinson. Redding in red zone, perhaps
Z - Smith then Payton? +Worsham+Harley mixing in to get Restrepo more snaps
Slot - Harley then Restrepo +Brashard

OL

Was good. Not much to say here. Gaynor played well but his lack of range was evident in the run game, and will always bother me. Zion and Scaife had issues with set points but that's more of a consistency thing than a talent problem. Traore was bad mentally and physically but who cares?

DL

Top-end talent and depth is a huge problem at DE. 13 had some good battles with Zion with his quickness and inside counter. Harvey has traits but goes long stretches of being invisible. They might be ok starters which makes the drop-off from them to the backups alarming. 33 and 22 are both high-cut, leggy and stiff - and guess what there's another like that coming in this summer! 22 has a motor but he doesn't have the edge speed or an inside move to make an impact. Oh yeah I almost forgot about 53 - I kinda wish I did. He plays hard and looks violent but he's robotic and has no idea what he's doing. If you put a gun to my head I'd choose him as the 3rd best DE on the team. It's really bad. Thomas Davis should play a lot if he can stay healthy.

Ford looks leaner and quicker and he's playing as more of a penetrator than just a stack the line nose. He looks poised for a career year and might get on the radar as an NFL guy.

LB

Maybe the most pleasant surprise for me was seeing Keontra at WILL. He looks like a bonafide set it and forget it starter. His processing, angles, and take-on skills were all beyond what I expected. Credit him and the staff for his development. He should be considered a favorite to lead the team in tackles.

Steed was up and down, as usual. One play he'll trigger and make the stop in the backfield then later on he'll get caught in the wash and give up a TD. He's fine depth. I've been corrected as it was Flagg who got caught up on Rivers' block when he needed to widen out into the B gap vs inside zone. And no it's not that Flagg is too slow as his initial read and quickness was good, it was just a lazy approach as he read Knighton's movement. Apologies to @waynejr31

TAC is slow with his reads and seems like more of a "see-it-attack-it" type still. He's athletic but Troutman has better movement and awareness in coverage so he might end up ahead of him on the depth chart. Of course Troutman is worse than a "see-it" type as a run defender because he routinely makes the wrong read and takes himself out of position.

I guess I'll lump Chase Smith in with this group. His size and athleticism easily jumps off the screen and should earn him some kind of role, particularly in the pass game.

DB

Ivey still sucks as a run defender.

Dunson has nice traits as a zone corner. He can be physical as a run defender and at the top of the route. Having length on the field with him and Chase could create opportunities for takeaways. The coaches can't put Dunson in press with catch technique because guys will run by him. He needs to get a jam in.

Hall looked a tick faster early on and made some nice tackles but then continued being a liability in coverage. The issue with him and Kinchens is a lack of burst when they break on the ball from flat-footed positions. Neither have any business lining up in man coverage. Restrepo beat Kinchens on a glance route for a TD where Kinchens squared him up with his strong agility but he just doesn't have the quickness to stay with WRs on route breaks. TVD threw it off-target so the next play they went back to the matchup and X toasted Kinchens to the sideline. So yeah idk how you tell me his athleticism isn't an issue but at least he didn't miss any tackles. He should be a deep safety only.

Avantae is a tank and a reckless striker. It remains to be seen if that's a good or a bad thing. He missed badly on one.

Carter should not be a starter at any position.

Scheme

Wasn't a focus for me. The offense was heavy on RPO glance routes and perimeter underneath stuff. I'd like to see more deep crossing routes but that's hard to do from wide alignments. Restrepo is good at the bending deep-in routes vs zone so maybe we'll see those a lot. A few vanilla concepts were showcased in the run game.

The defense mixed up coverages a lot and was more experimental. There were multiple plays with unsound alignments that got gashed, as per usual.

--

And now we wait for August, pretty much.
 
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Gables Cane

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I re-watched the first half today and was pleasantly surprised by the play of Campbell. He played tackle (wish they would play him at guard) and held his own. Speaking of tackles I didn't see Williams. Is he hurt?
 

Mklein13

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I re-watched the first half today and was pleasantly surprised by the play of Campbell. He played tackle (wish they would play him at guard) and held his own. Speaking of tackles I didn't see Williams. Is he hurt?
Yes I believe him and Reed were held out. Would be nice to see Reed get reps at C. I’m done with Gaynor. Let Clark and Reed battle it out.
 

Cribby

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In Johnsons defense he’s been out awhile, I was actually surprised he went as hard as he did. He played well considering. I still think a de is a possibility. LT will add depth there too when he arrives , the plan is to start him outside.
 

Cribby

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Yes I believe him and Reed were held out. Would be nice to see Reed get reps at C. I’m done with Gaynor. Let Clark and Reed battle it out.
Correct Williams was in shorts. Campbell did play pretty well.
 

Gables Cane

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In Johnson defense he’s been out awhile, I was actually surprised he went as hard as he did. He played well considering. I still think a de is a possibility. LT will add depth there too when he arrives , the plan is to start him outside.
I concur. We need another impactful DE. McCloud got plenty of burn and was a hot mess. His stunts looked like somebody who is just learning how to play end. I like Cam Williams but he hasn't shown much other than somebody who can provide adequate depth.

We need another playmaker who can rush the passer. If we cannot get pressure with our front 4, then we are in trouble. Our secondary isn;t strong enough to standup all game and our blitz packages are too predictable and inconsistent.

Portal wishes following Spring (in order of preference):

1. LB
2. DE
3. LB (another one...maybe)
 

Colombie

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I still think a de is a possibility. LT will add depth there too when he arrives , the plan is to start him outside.
return of the jedi yes GIF by Star Wars
 

Cribby

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You prefer Scaife or Williams at the other T spot?
It’s actually closer than I thought it would be. I figured Williams had the job locked up. Williams played pretty well last year but I’ve always liked scaife at tackle. I haven’t seen enough of scaife to say him so I’d say Williams just off last year. That’s just me , but I’m not at practice everyday.
 

rayray

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personally i see more value in pope than wiggins. pope still went 6-115 even w/ the horrible drop. he's not a 5 star player and has his glaring deficiencies but can still be productive. wiggins to me has lost all confidence and even tho he theoretically has value as a field stretcher we're still talking about, what, a target per game max on a route like that? i get that there's more skill overlap between pope and the rest of the WR room but wiggins isn't making the play at the end of the VT game that pope made, for instance

jon ford and elijah roberts were the guys on the DL who popped off the screen for me. ford almost looks like a different guy physically. roberts is built well for a DL (obv still needs to get stronger) and has the quickness off the line to succeed in our scheme.

when it comes to passing downs, it looks like the strength of the team is going to be in the secondary as opposed to the pass rush, which is obv a reversal of the last few seasons. if harvey can replicate garvin level pass rush it will be a huge help ... if not it's a bit hard to see how we generate consistent, meaningful pressure w/ the front 4 on passing downs. manny likes his blitzes w/ softer zone coverage in the back and i'm sure we will see a good bit of that this year. but i'm wondering if we also see more press man coverage if we can't lean on the DEs to create pressure and force a mistake.
 

Number1CanesFan

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Nothing on Flagg? Also I disagree with having Wiggins stick around. Him and Pope need to go now. Everyone else at WR could stay.
The thing is they both made several plays after their drop in the Spring game. The fans magnify every negative thing these two do because the fans have soured on them. They can never drop another pass in their Miami career for the fans to be happy. Even then they won't be satisfied.

I'm not makig excuses for them, but I'm not going to lose my mind until it happens when it really counts.
 

Mklein13

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The thing is they both made several plays after their drop in the Spring game. The fans magnify every negative thing these two do because the fans have soured on them. They can never drop another pass in their Miami career for the fans to be happy. Even then they won't be satisfied.

I'm not makig excuses for them, but I'm not going to lose my mind until it happens when it really counts.
So basically you are saying is you won’t care unless they drop one with the game on the line? So kind of like our bowl game where both guys dropped passes that could have been big plays.
 

Number1CanesFan

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So basically you are saying is you won’t care unless they drop one with the game on the line? So kind of like our bowl game where both guys dropped passes that could have been big plays.
Obviously, not what I said or implied. The point is neither of these guys have any cache with the fanbase and most have moved on from them.

I didn't like the drop by Pope and Wiggins was a fumble called a drop where he took 2 steps after catching the ball and may have been down. Both are bad.

Ever playery earns snaps in game by what they do in practice. If they never drop another pass in a game then all is forgiven with me. If they do, then it's time to sit.
 
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Mklein13

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Obviously, not what I said or implied. The point is neither of these guys have any cache with the fanbase and most have moved on from them.

I didn't like the drop by Pope and Wiggins was a fumble called a drop where he took 2 steps after catching the ball and may have been down. Both are bad.

Ever playery earns snaps in game by what they do in practice. If they never drop another pass in a game then all is forgiven with me. If they do, then it's time to sit.
I just think we have better options. These two have shown over the course of their careers they are soft mentally and physically and can’t catch. Pope gets open and Wiggins is fast. Doesn’t mean **** if you can’t catch the ball. Should have given the young guys more looks last year and definitely have to this year.
 

CFLCane

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personally i see more value in pope than wiggins. pope still went 6-115 even w/ the horrible drop. he's not a 5 star player and has his glaring deficiencies but can still be productive. wiggins to me has lost all confidence and even tho he theoretically has value as a field stretcher we're still talking about, what, a target per game max on a route like that? i get that there's more skill overlap between pope and the rest of the WR room but wiggins isn't making the play at the end of the VT game that pope made, for instance

jon ford and elijah roberts were the guys on the DL who popped off the screen for me. ford almost looks like a different guy physically. roberts is built well for a DL (obv still needs to get stronger) and has the quickness off the line to succeed in our scheme.

when it comes to passing downs, it looks like the strength of the team is going to be in the secondary as opposed to the pass rush, which is obv a reversal of the last few seasons. if harvey can replicate garvin level pass rush it will be a huge help ... if not it's a bit hard to see how we generate consistent, meaningful pressure w/ the front 4 on passing downs. manny likes his blitzes w/ softer zone coverage in the back and i'm sure we will see a good bit of that this year. but i'm wondering if we also see more press man coverage if we can't lean on the DEs to create pressure and force a mistake.
Wiggins and Pope both just trade off who had the worst day. Harleys turnaround give me hope but Harley has never lacked confidence or leadership skills like those two. Both these kids should get a good taste of bench and have to earn their way back hunger games style.
 
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