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Spring thoughts (long)

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DMoney

D-Moni
Administrator
Joined
Oct 13, 2011
Messages
16,754
You can tell we are spending money. The first thing you notice when you walk into practice is the sheer size of the staff. It feels at least three times bigger. Kids are finishing a drill and getting instruction immediately, which isn't possible with a smaller staff. The pace is night and day. As @k9cane mentioned, everybody on the staff-- from GAs to coaches-- looks physically ready to step on the field and play. We've seen five gold jackets walking around, along with other stars and celebrities. It just has a big-time feel.

The team itself is a work in progress. Part of that is injuries. Guys like Tyrique, Kinchens, Chaney, Knighton, Mallory, Moultrie, Brinson and Chase Smith will beef up some of these groups. There is also help on the way with Porter, Agude and a bunch of upcoming Portal additions. The freshman class will fill in the third-team, which is mostly walk-ons for now. The front seven in particular is nowhere near what I expect to see in fall.

But if there is one clear area of progress, it is physicality. These are the most violent practices since at least 2016 and probably beyond. Players are getting weeded out. There is a clear emphasis on taking on blocks and collisions. The staff feels we were too conditioned to slipping contact, which led to DL getting washed. This isn't a Golden two-gap scheme, but it is also different than what we saw last year. We need depth because players will be banged up. That's the trade-off. An NFL scout said he never worries about Mario players being tough because they are trained that way in college. This team is on the way.

Here are some thoughts by position:

QB- The unquestioned strength of the team. Tyler Van Dyke looks leaner and is in total control. This isn't an Enos offense where the QB is frequently under center, but it is more pro-style than what we saw last year. TVD picked it up quickly and fits like a glove. Jake Garcia started slow but picked up towards the end of camp. At the beginning, he was taking off and running too much. Now he has settled down and is showing off his natural passing ability. He is one of the more talented backups in the nation. We won't know what we have in Jacurri Brown until the bullets are live, but the early returns are outstanding. He is just as tall as TVD with a sturdy frame. His passing reminds me of Lamar Jackson- whip arm, easy velocity and flashes of accuracy. He will throw some short passes in the dirt but makes some tough throws (opposite hash, skinny posts) look very easy. Fundamentals and consistency are the key with him. Many of his team reps were in skeleton (7on7) because of the lack of depth on offense, but he did not look out of place with second unit. He is maybe the best athlete we've ever had at QB at UM and has a positive attitude. One interesting change- the backup QBs mimic TVD's reps behind every play. So all three QBs are dropping back and going through the throwing motion.

RB- Henry Parrish looks like he did at Ole Miss. Great feet, great vision, good receiver, average speed. He is very solid and ready to play. Thad Franklin really opened some eyes after a poor offseason last year. He is so smooth as a runner that he rarely takes losses, and he weighs 238 pounds. He performed well in both scrimmages, with a TD in the first one. His hands are outstanding (former basketball player) and he has shake as a route runner. He dropped a couple of our LBs on two-way go's because of his quickness. He should play a role this year. Don Chaney and Jaylan Knighton were out there despite the lack of contact and should hit the ground running in August camp.

WR- Talented group but we lack a true gamebreaker. Jacolby George is the guy with the talent to be a #1. He isn't there yet with consistency but he makes some spectacular catches (including one-handed) due to his coordination and giant hands. If you compare him to Rambo, he is further along at the spring stage. Keyshawn Smith looks better than last year but still has another level to reach. Xavier Restrepo has been the best and most consistent receiver. Does everything full speed, is QB-friendly and runs after the catch like a running back. Frank Ladson started real slow and did better at the end. Would like to see a little more fluidity out of him- he is big and fast but there is some stiffness.

Breshard Smith finished camp very strong. I think he will do better once the full Gattis offense comes together. He is built for some of those misdirection and gadget plays like AJ Henning at Michigan. It hasn't come together for Michael Redding. Every time he shows flashes, there is an injury or some other setback. I believe in the talent and work ethic but it has been a bumpy road. Daz Worsham has improved tremendously but I still worry if he has enough physicality and twitch to truly make an impact. I wouldn't rule out a Portal addition here, especially if we can add a speedster.

TE- Outstanding group, even with Will Mallory missing most of spring. Elijah Arroyo is an excellent blocker, whether in-line or seeking collisions out of the backfield. I saw a Chris Herndon comparison on the board, and it is a good one. Arroyo is probably better at the same age. I'd like to see him lose a couple pounds and get more explosive with his breaks. Jaleel Skinner has been incredible and way ahead of what I expected. Jake Garcia has connected with him regularly on big plays, including a 60-yarder in the second scrimmage. Skinner also broke multiple first-team tackles (including #15 and #26) on a scrimmage TD. His hands are more consistent than advertised and he gets downfield easily with long strides. He will have a role Day 1 and has true star potential. Dom Mammarelli is huge and looks like a small tackle. I don't think he's big enough to make the switch, but he can help us as a blocker. Kahlil Brantley made a few catches and can be a role player if he continues to develop.

OL- Picking up where they left off in the second half of the season. The clear emphasis here is getting more push in the running game. Gattis's offense employs a lot more pulling and gap schemes than we saw last year, and Mario is putting these guys in a position to prove their power. The first-team offensive line coming out of spring looks like Zion Nelson, Jalen Rivers, Jakai Clark, Logan Sagapolu and DJ Scaife. The three that I feel best about are Zion, Rivers and Scaife. Jonathan Denis will push the other guys and we are clearly looking to add a tackle body. Overall, this is a competent group, but we have too many 6'1-6'3 guys and need more length. Michael McLaughlin has shown real talent and progress at tackle but is probably a year away. Justice Oluwaseun is experienced depth. Ousman Troare has gotten some reps with the 1s but is probably a better fit with the twos. Big Baby Seymore, Ryan Rodriguez and Chris Washington are still developing and aren't threatening the starters. Of those guys, I want to see more development from Seymore. He has ability.

DT- This is kind of like OL- we have a lot of guys with the same body type. A lot of 3-4 DE type frames: 6'4, 270-285. Leonard Taylor is by far the most talented. You can tell he is being pushed (he didn't start the first scrimmage) and is responding well with disruptive plays to close spring. The key with him is getting more stout and not trying to slip or swim past everything. Jared Harrison-Hunte missed most of spring with an injury and is very similar to Taylor. Jacob Lichtenstein is another guy with similar dimensions. He's a little tight but has good straight-line speed for a DT. Jordan Miller brings some needed size but hasn't taken the next step yet. It would be great if we still had Jonathan Ford in this defense. Allan Haye showed flashes of disruption with the second-team, more of a rotation talent. This group could use a 310+ transfer.

DE- This group was very undermanned in camp and will look much different in fall. Jahfari Harvey started slow but finished strong with two very productive scrimmages. He gets sacks off of hustle, speed and change of direction. I like him as a change-of-pace rusher who stands up a lot. Chantz Williams fought through some nicks and his starting to translate some of his weight room strength into functional strength. His weakness is stiffness as a pass rusher. Better on first and second down, with great straight-line speed for clean-up sacks and blowing up designed QB movement plays like bootlegs. What we lack is somebody who can beat OTs quickly with their first or second move. Cyrus Moss got a ton of reps with the 1s because of the lack of depth. He is very skinny and has a slight frame. He is totally overmatched right now in the run game. But he is tough, smart, competes and has a natural feel for using his body to keep bigger and stronger tackles off-balance. He showed very good fluidity and depth dropping in coverage. Going forward, expect his versatility and IQ to get him on the field. Thomas Davis is similar to Harvey. Lacks the size of an everydown guy, but a good athlete with rush ability and effort. Elijah Roberts was hurt and will help when he arrives, along with Mitchell Agude, Nyjalik Kelly, Jabahri Ishmael and some more transfer help.

LB- We all know this spot needs help. Let's start with the positive- Waynmon Steed is playing the best football of his UM career. A lot of guys would have quit after the injuries, but he has pushed through and gotten better and better. And as time has gone by, his old athleticism has slowly been coming back. Kudos to @waynejr31 for raising a resilient fighter. Keontra Smith makes up for lack of size with excellent activity and speed. He made more plays than any other linebacker. Those two took almost all of the first-team reps. Corey Flagg was firmly second-team. We know his game- great IQ, limited size and speed. Wesley Bissainthe looks like a player when playing but got banged up and needs ten pounds. Avery Huff flashes but still struggles with consistency and taking coaching. Tirek Austin-Cave is gone, Deshawn Troutman is likely gone and help is on the way here.

Nickel- We know what Te'cory Couch and Gilbert Frierson can do, and I thought both looked better in camp than they did last year (where they really underachieved). Couch brought back some of the physicality we saw early in his career, and Frierson looked lighter and more fluid in coverage. He was heavy last year. I will put Al Blades in this category, although he also got a ton of reps at safety. He is playing more physical than he has at any point in his career and is in great condition. Expect him to play a role somewhere. Tyrique Stevenson is a natural big nickel and may factor in here when he comes back. Khamauri Rodgers is still rehabbing from his ACL but has the IQ, fluidity and quickness to eventually fit in this spot.

CB- It's too early to crown anyone, but I am very encouraged by everything I've seen from Coach Addae. His trajectory is straight up and he is making an impact early. As Coach Steele mentioned, the CB group has been very impressive all spring and may be better than we anticipated. They are finishing better at the catch point, playing well in press and generally competing at a higher level. Remember, Couch/Frierson/Blades/Dunson/Ivey are all former blue-chip prospects and they have a ton of experience. Isaiah Dunson has improved the most. He's always been physical, but the emphasis on press and his added weight has really helped his game (which is length over speed). We've been through this with DJ Ivey. He started all camp, just like he started for the past two DB coaches. I hope it finally translates to the field because he is a great kid with elite size. Tackling is the key with him. Marcus Clarke was a backup all camp and may not hang around. Malik Curtis is still learning and may fit best on special teams at this point of his development. This group is going to be extremely competitive once Daryl Porter and two physically advanced freshmen (Chris Graves and Jaden Harris) arrive on campus.

Safety- One of the best positions on the team. Avantae Williams is the tone-setter with his energy, physicality and range. He looks outstanding and has next-level twitch. James Williams looked like himself, although I'd like to see more consistency as a tackler. I think he will start moving across the chessboard once Kam Kinchens comes back. Steele likes to be creative with his safeties. The key with the Williams Twins is that they both love football and bring energy, on top of their natural ability. As a tandem, they remind me of Earl Thomas (deep) and Kam Chancellor (box) in Steele's Cover 3 scheme. Brian Balom bounced back from injury with a solid camp. He provides depth. When he first got here, a veteran staffer said he was our most impressive young safety since Deon Bush. I wouldn't put him with our top 3 guys, but he's someone we want to keep. Blades has also gotten a significant amount of reps at safety. Myles Mooyoung is a versatile walk-on DB who is FBS caliber.

Overall, there is a lot of work to do and a lot of talent to add. But we have great QBs, a big-time staff, and a bunch of blue-chippers who are getting better. This team should compete for an ACC title if the Portal is good to us the next few weeks.
 

BeastMode

Junior
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
9,422
You can tell we are spending money. The first thing you notice when you walk into practice is the sheer size of the staff. It feels at least three times bigger. Kids are finishing a drill and getting instruction immediately, which isn't possible with a smaller staff. The pace is night and day. As @k9cane mentioned, everybody on the staff-- from GAs to coaches-- looks physically ready to step on the field and play. We've seen five gold jackets walking around, along with other stars and celebrities, It just has a big-time feel.

The team itself is a work in progress. Part of that is injuries. Guys like Tyrique, Kinchens, Chaney, Knighton, Mallory, Moultrie, Brinson and Chase Smith will beef up some of these groups. There is also help on the way with Porter, Agude and a bunch of upcoming Portal additions. The freshman class will fill in the third-team, which is mostly walk-ons for now. The front seven in particular is nowhere near what I expect to see in fall.

But if there is one clear area of progress, it is physicality. These are the most violent practices since at least 2016 and probably beyond. Players are getting weeded out. There is a clear emphasis on taking on blocks and collisions. The staff feels we were too conditioned to slipping contact, which led to DL getting washed. This isn't a Golden two-gap scheme, but it is also different than what we saw last year. We need depth because players will be banged up. That's the trade-off. An NFL scout said he never worries about Mario players being tough because they are trained that way in college. This team is on the way.

Here are some thoughts by position:

QB- The unquestioned strength of the team. Tyler Van Dyke looks leaner and is in total control. This isn't an Enos offense where the QB is frequently under center, but it is more pro-style than what we saw last year. TVD picked it up quickly and fits like a glove. Jake Garcia started slow but picked up towards the end of camp. At the beginning, he was taking off and running too much. Now he has settled down and is showing off his natural passing ability. He is one of the more talented backups in the nation. We won't know what we have in Jacurri Brown until the bullets are live, but the early returns are outstanding. He is just as tall as TVD with a sturdy frame. His passing reminds me of Lamar Jackson- whip arm, easy velocity and flashes of accuracy. He will throw some short passes in the dirt but makes some tough throws (opposite hash, skinny posts) look very easy. Fundamentals and consistency are the key with him. Many of his team reps were in skeleton (7on7) because of the lack of depth on offense, but he did not look out of place with second unit. He is maybe the best athlete we've ever had at QB at UM and has a positive attitude. One interesting change- the backup QBs mimic TVD's reps behind every play. So all three QBs are dropping back and going through the throwing motion.

RB- Henry Parrish looks like he did at Ole Miss. Great feet, great vision, good receiver, average speed. He is very solid and ready to play. Thad Franklin really opened some eyes after a poor offseason last year. He is so smooth as a runner that he rarely takes losses, and he weights 238 pounds. He performed well in both scrimmages, with a TD in the first one. His hands are outstanding (former basketball player) and he has shake as a route runner. He dropped a couple of our LBs on two-way go's because of his quickness. He should play a role this year. Don Chaney and Jaylan Knighton were out there despite the lack of contact and should hit the ground running in August camp.

WR- Talented group but we lack a true gamebreaker. Jacolby George is the guy with the talent to be a #1. He isn't there yet with consistency but he makes some spectacular catches (including one-handed) due to his coordination and giant hands. If you compare him to Rambo, he is further along at the spring stage. Keyshawn Smith looks better than last year but still has another level to reach. Xavier Restrepo has been the best and most consistent receiver. Does everything full speed, is QB-friendly and runs after the catch like a running back. Frank Ladson started real slow and did better at the end. Would like to see a little more fluidity out of him- he is big and fast but there is some stiffness.

Breshard Smith finished camp very strong. I think he will do better once the full Gattis offense comes together. He is built for some of those misdirection and gadget plays like AJ Henning at Michigan. It hasn't come together for Michael Redding. Every time he shows flashes, there is an injury or some other setback. I believe in the talent and work ethic but it has been a bumpy road. Daz Worsham has improved tremendously but I still worry if he has enough physicality and twitch to truly make an impact. I wouldn't rule out a Portal addition here, especially if we can add a speedster.

TE- Outstanding group, even with Will Mallory missing most of spring. Elijah Arroyo is an excellent blocker, whether in-line or seeking collisions out of the backfield. I saw a Chris Herndon comparison on the board, and it is a good one. Arroyo is probably better at the same age. I'd like to see him lose a couple pounds and get more explosive with his breaks. Jaleel Skinner has been incredible and way ahead of what I expected. Jake Garcia has connected with him regularly on big plays, including a 60-yarder in the second scrimmage. Skinner also broke multiple first-team tackles (including #15 and #26) on a scrimmage TD. His hands are more consistent than advertised and he gets downfield easily with long strides. He will have a role Day 1 and has true star potential. Dom Mammarelli is huge and looks like a small tackle. I don't think he's big enough to make the switch, but he can help us as a blocker. Kahlil Brantley made a few catches and can be a role player if he continues to develop.

OL- Picking up where they left off in the second half of the season. The clear emphasis here is getting more push in the running game. Gattis's offense employs a lot more pulling and gap schemes than we saw last year, and Mario is putting these guys in a position to prove their power. The first-team offensive line coming out of spring looks like Zion Nelson, Jalen Rivers, Jakai Clark, Logan Sagapolu and DJ Scaife. The three that I feel best about are Zion, Rivers and Scaife. Jonathan Denis will push the other guys and we are clearly looking to add a tackle body. Overall, this is a competent group, but we have too many 6'1-6'3 guys and need more length. Michael McLaughlin has shown real talent and progress at tackle but is probably a year away. Justice Oluwaseun is experienced depth. Ousman Troare has gotten some reps with the 1s but is probably a better fit with the twos. Big Baby Seymore, Ryan Rodriguez and Chris Washington are still developing and aren't threatening the starters. Of those guys, I want to see more development from Seymore. He has ability.

DT- This is kind of like OL- we have a lot of guys with the same body type. A lot of 3-4 DE type frames: 6'4, 270-285. Leonard Taylor is by far the most talented. You can tell he is being pushed (he didn't start the first scrimmage) and is responding well with disruptive plays to close spring. The key with him is getting more stout and not trying to slip or swim past everything. Jared Harrison-Hunte missed most of spring with an injury and is very similar to Taylor. Jacob Lichtenstein is another guy with similar dimensions. He's a little tight but has good straight-line speed for a DT. Jordan Miller brings some needed size but hasn't taken the next step yet. It would be great if we still had Jonathan Ford in this defense. Allan Haye showed flashes of disruption with the second-team, more of a rotation talent. This group could use a 310+ transfer.

DE- This group was very undermanned in camp and will look much different fall. Jahfari Harvey started slow but finished strong with two very productive scrimmages. He gets sacks off of hustle, speed and change of direction. I like him as a change-of-pace rusher who stands up a lot. Chantz Williams fought through some nicks and his starting to translate some of his weight room strength into functional strength. His weakness is stiffness as a pass rusher. Better on first and second down, with great straight-line speed for clean-up sacks and blowing up designed QB movement plays like bootlegs. What we lack is somebody who can beat OTs quickly with their first or second move. Cyrus Moss got a ton of reps with the 1s because of the lack of depth. He is very skinny and has a slight frame. He is totally overmatched right now in the run game. But he is tough, smart, competes and has a natural feel for using his body to keep bigger and stronger tackles off-balance. He showed very good fluidity and depth dropping in coverage. Going forward, expect his versatility and IQ to get him on the field. Thomas Davis is similar to Harvey. Lacks the size of an everydown guy, but a good athlete with rush ability and effort. Elijah Roberts was hurt and will help when he arrives, along with Mitchell Agude, Nyjalik Kelly, Jabahri Ishmael and some more transfer help.

LB- We all know this spot needs help. Let's start with the positive- Waynmon Steed is playing the best football of his UM career. A lot of guys would have quit after the injuries, but he has pushed through and gotten better and better. And as time as gone by, his old athleticism has slowly been coming back. Kudos to @waynejr31 for raising a resilient fighter. Keontra Smith makes up for lack of size with excellent activity and speed. He made more plays than any other linebacker. Those two took almost all of the first-team reps. Corey Flagg was firmly second-team. We know his game- great IQ, limited size and speed. Wesley Bissainthe looks like a player when playing but got banged up and needs ten pounds. Avery Huff flashes but still struggles with consistency and taking coaching. Tirek Austin-Cave is gone, Deshawn Troutman is likely gone and help is on the way here.

Nickel- We know what Te'cory Couch and Gilbert Frierson can do, and I thought both looked better in camp than they did last year (where they really underachieved). Couch brought back some of the physicality we saw early in his career, and Frierson looked lighter and more fluid in coverage. He was heavy last year. I will put Al Blades in this category, although he also got a ton of reps at safety. He is playing more physical than he has at any point in his career and is in great condition. Expect him to play a role somewhere. Tyrique Stevenson is a natural big nickel and may factor in here when he comes back. Khamauri Rodgers is still rehabbing from his ACL but has the IQ, fluidity and quickness to eventually fit in this spot.

CB- It's too early to crown anyone, but I am very encouraged by everything I've seen from Coach Addae. His trajectory is straight up and he is making an impact early. As Coach Steele mentioned, the CB group has been very impressive all spring and may be better than we anticipated. They are finishing better at the catch point, playing well in press and generally competing at a higher level. Remember, Couch/Frierson/Blades/Dunson/Ivey are all former blue-chip prospects and they have a ton of experience. Isaiah Dunson has improved the most. He's always been physical, but the emphasis on press and his added weight has really helped his game (which is length over speed). We've been through this with DJ Ivey. He started all camp, just like he started for the past two DB coaches. I hope it finally translates to the field because he is a great kid with elite size. Tackling is the key with him. Marcus Clarke was a backup all camp and may not hang around. Malik Curtis is still learning and may fit best on special teams at this point of his development. This group is going to be extremely competitive once Daryl Porter and two physically advanced freshmen (Chris Graves and Jaden Harris) arrive on campus.

Safety- One of the best positions on the team. Avantae Williams is the tone-setter with his energy, physicality and range. He looks outstanding and has next-level twitch. James Williams looked like himself, although I'd like to see more consistency as a tackler. I think he will start moving across the chessboard once Kam Kinchens comes back. Steele likes to be creative with his safeties. The key with the Williams Twins is that they both love football and bring energy, on top of their natural ability. As a tandem, they remind me of Earl Thomas (deep) and Kam Chancellor (box) in Steele's Cover 3 scheme. Brian Balom bounced back from injury with a solid camp. He provides depth. When he first got here, a veteran staffer said he was our most impressive young safety since Deon Bush. I wouldn't put him with our top 3 guys, but he's someone we want to keep. Blades has also gotten a significant amount of reps at safety. Myles Mooyoung is a versatile walk-on DB who is FBS caliber.

Overall, there is a lot of work to do and a lot of talent to add. But we have great QBs, a big-time staff, and a bunch of blue-chippers who are getting better. This team should compete for an ACC title if the Portal is good to us the next few weeks.

But did they have music on during practices?
 

miamicanephins

Paid in Full
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Messages
4,397
Great write up! Sounds like the offense is going to be lit, just need the defense to make an occasional play. Go Canes!
 

Ziggy

Junior
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
5,109
Awesome write up @DMoney ! Like most college teams this roster has holes. However, we have the most important piece of the puzzle and potential Heisman dark horse with TVD. Having an elite QB like TVD can cover up a lot of those issues.

Strengths of the team: TVD, RB's, TE's, Safeties, and K/P... I'd take our QB, RB, TE, Safeties, K/P rooms over almost every team in the country. We are loaded and deep at each of those positions.

Weaknesses of the team: offensive line and defensive line. I'm bullish on our offensive line with Cristobal and Mirabal guiding them but we lack depth and size. Defensive line is a real issue - the group lacks an elite edge rusher and an elite DT (maybe LT can get there but he isn't there yet and that's okay). The portal guys we have coming will help but this group still needs 1-2 more bodies.

Excited to watch the canes on Saturday!
 

CANEMC

All-Big East
Joined
Jan 25, 2017
Messages
7,093
Workout Yes GIF by Openfit
 

ChinstrapCane

Sophomore
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
913
Great post! There are obviously holes in the roster that will take time to fill. I love this staff and know that the coaching will not be the problem. I’m happy that they are having more physical practices.
 

PIPO

Marrrriiooooooooo!!!!!
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
6,850
You can tell we are spending money. The first thing you notice when you walk into practice is the sheer size of the staff. It feels at least three times bigger. Kids are finishing a drill and getting instruction immediately, which isn't possible with a smaller staff. The pace is night and day. As @k9cane mentioned, everybody on the staff-- from GAs to coaches-- looks physically ready to step on the field and play. We've seen five gold jackets walking around, along with other stars and celebrities, It just has a big-time feel.

The team itself is a work in progress. Part of that is injuries. Guys like Tyrique, Kinchens, Chaney, Knighton, Mallory, Moultrie, Brinson and Chase Smith will beef up some of these groups. There is also help on the way with Porter, Agude and a bunch of upcoming Portal additions. The freshman class will fill in the third-team, which is mostly walk-ons for now. The front seven in particular is nowhere near what I expect to see in fall.

But if there is one clear area of progress, it is physicality. These are the most violent practices since at least 2016 and probably beyond. Players are getting weeded out. There is a clear emphasis on taking on blocks and collisions. The staff feels we were too conditioned to slipping contact, which led to DL getting washed. This isn't a Golden two-gap scheme, but it is also different than what we saw last year. We need depth because players will be banged up. That's the trade-off. An NFL scout said he never worries about Mario players being tough because they are trained that way in college. This team is on the way.

Here are some thoughts by position:

QB- The unquestioned strength of the team. Tyler Van Dyke looks leaner and is in total control. This isn't an Enos offense where the QB is frequently under center, but it is more pro-style than what we saw last year. TVD picked it up quickly and fits like a glove. Jake Garcia started slow but picked up towards the end of camp. At the beginning, he was taking off and running too much. Now he has settled down and is showing off his natural passing ability. He is one of the more talented backups in the nation. We won't know what we have in Jacurri Brown until the bullets are live, but the early returns are outstanding. He is just as tall as TVD with a sturdy frame. His passing reminds me of Lamar Jackson- whip arm, easy velocity and flashes of accuracy. He will throw some short passes in the dirt but makes some tough throws (opposite hash, skinny posts) look very easy. Fundamentals and consistency are the key with him. Many of his team reps were in skeleton (7on7) because of the lack of depth on offense, but he did not look out of place with second unit. He is maybe the best athlete we've ever had at QB at UM and has a positive attitude. One interesting change- the backup QBs mimic TVD's reps behind every play. So all three QBs are dropping back and going through the throwing motion.

RB- Henry Parrish looks like he did at Ole Miss. Great feet, great vision, good receiver, average speed. He is very solid and ready to play. Thad Franklin really opened some eyes after a poor offseason last year. He is so smooth as a runner that he rarely takes losses, and he weights 238 pounds. He performed well in both scrimmages, with a TD in the first one. His hands are outstanding (former basketball player) and he has shake as a route runner. He dropped a couple of our LBs on two-way go's because of his quickness. He should play a role this year. Don Chaney and Jaylan Knighton were out there despite the lack of contact and should hit the ground running in August camp.

WR- Talented group but we lack a true gamebreaker. Jacolby George is the guy with the talent to be a #1. He isn't there yet with consistency but he makes some spectacular catches (including one-handed) due to his coordination and giant hands. If you compare him to Rambo, he is further along at the spring stage. Keyshawn Smith looks better than last year but still has another level to reach. Xavier Restrepo has been the best and most consistent receiver. Does everything full speed, is QB-friendly and runs after the catch like a running back. Frank Ladson started real slow and did better at the end. Would like to see a little more fluidity out of him- he is big and fast but there is some stiffness.

Breshard Smith finished camp very strong. I think he will do better once the full Gattis offense comes together. He is built for some of those misdirection and gadget plays like AJ Henning at Michigan. It hasn't come together for Michael Redding. Every time he shows flashes, there is an injury or some other setback. I believe in the talent and work ethic but it has been a bumpy road. Daz Worsham has improved tremendously but I still worry if he has enough physicality and twitch to truly make an impact. I wouldn't rule out a Portal addition here, especially if we can add a speedster.

TE- Outstanding group, even with Will Mallory missing most of spring. Elijah Arroyo is an excellent blocker, whether in-line or seeking collisions out of the backfield. I saw a Chris Herndon comparison on the board, and it is a good one. Arroyo is probably better at the same age. I'd like to see him lose a couple pounds and get more explosive with his breaks. Jaleel Skinner has been incredible and way ahead of what I expected. Jake Garcia has connected with him regularly on big plays, including a 60-yarder in the second scrimmage. Skinner also broke multiple first-team tackles (including #15 and #26) on a scrimmage TD. His hands are more consistent than advertised and he gets downfield easily with long strides. He will have a role Day 1 and has true star potential. Dom Mammarelli is huge and looks like a small tackle. I don't think he's big enough to make the switch, but he can help us as a blocker. Kahlil Brantley made a few catches and can be a role player if he continues to develop.

OL- Picking up where they left off in the second half of the season. The clear emphasis here is getting more push in the running game. Gattis's offense employs a lot more pulling and gap schemes than we saw last year, and Mario is putting these guys in a position to prove their power. The first-team offensive line coming out of spring looks like Zion Nelson, Jalen Rivers, Jakai Clark, Logan Sagapolu and DJ Scaife. The three that I feel best about are Zion, Rivers and Scaife. Jonathan Denis will push the other guys and we are clearly looking to add a tackle body. Overall, this is a competent group, but we have too many 6'1-6'3 guys and need more length. Michael McLaughlin has shown real talent and progress at tackle but is probably a year away. Justice Oluwaseun is experienced depth. Ousman Troare has gotten some reps with the 1s but is probably a better fit with the twos. Big Baby Seymore, Ryan Rodriguez and Chris Washington are still developing and aren't threatening the starters. Of those guys, I want to see more development from Seymore. He has ability.

DT- This is kind of like OL- we have a lot of guys with the same body type. A lot of 3-4 DE type frames: 6'4, 270-285. Leonard Taylor is by far the most talented. You can tell he is being pushed (he didn't start the first scrimmage) and is responding well with disruptive plays to close spring. The key with him is getting more stout and not trying to slip or swim past everything. Jared Harrison-Hunte missed most of spring with an injury and is very similar to Taylor. Jacob Lichtenstein is another guy with similar dimensions. He's a little tight but has good straight-line speed for a DT. Jordan Miller brings some needed size but hasn't taken the next step yet. It would be great if we still had Jonathan Ford in this defense. Allan Haye showed flashes of disruption with the second-team, more of a rotation talent. This group could use a 310+ transfer.

DE- This group was very undermanned in camp and will look much different fall. Jahfari Harvey started slow but finished strong with two very productive scrimmages. He gets sacks off of hustle, speed and change of direction. I like him as a change-of-pace rusher who stands up a lot. Chantz Williams fought through some nicks and his starting to translate some of his weight room strength into functional strength. His weakness is stiffness as a pass rusher. Better on first and second down, with great straight-line speed for clean-up sacks and blowing up designed QB movement plays like bootlegs. What we lack is somebody who can beat OTs quickly with their first or second move. Cyrus Moss got a ton of reps with the 1s because of the lack of depth. He is very skinny and has a slight frame. He is totally overmatched right now in the run game. But he is tough, smart, competes and has a natural feel for using his body to keep bigger and stronger tackles off-balance. He showed very good fluidity and depth dropping in coverage. Going forward, expect his versatility and IQ to get him on the field. Thomas Davis is similar to Harvey. Lacks the size of an everydown guy, but a good athlete with rush ability and effort. Elijah Roberts was hurt and will help when he arrives, along with Mitchell Agude, Nyjalik Kelly, Jabahri Ishmael and some more transfer help.

LB- We all know this spot needs help. Let's start with the positive- Waynmon Steed is playing the best football of his UM career. A lot of guys would have quit after the injuries, but he has pushed through and gotten better and better. And as time as gone by, his old athleticism has slowly been coming back. Kudos to @waynejr31 for raising a resilient fighter. Keontra Smith makes up for lack of size with excellent activity and speed. He made more plays than any other linebacker. Those two took almost all of the first-team reps. Corey Flagg was firmly second-team. We know his game- great IQ, limited size and speed. Wesley Bissainthe looks like a player when playing but got banged up and needs ten pounds. Avery Huff flashes but still struggles with consistency and taking coaching. Tirek Austin-Cave is gone, Deshawn Troutman is likely gone and help is on the way here.

Nickel- We know what Te'cory Couch and Gilbert Frierson can do, and I thought both looked better in camp than they did last year (where they really underachieved). Couch brought back some of the physicality we saw early in his career, and Frierson looked lighter and more fluid in coverage. He was heavy last year. I will put Al Blades in this category, although he also got a ton of reps at safety. He is playing more physical than he has at any point in his career and is in great condition. Expect him to play a role somewhere. Tyrique Stevenson is a natural big nickel and may factor in here when he comes back. Khamauri Rodgers is still rehabbing from his ACL but has the IQ, fluidity and quickness to eventually fit in this spot.

CB- It's too early to crown anyone, but I am very encouraged by everything I've seen from Coach Addae. His trajectory is straight up and he is making an impact early. As Coach Steele mentioned, the CB group has been very impressive all spring and may be better than we anticipated. They are finishing better at the catch point, playing well in press and generally competing at a higher level. Remember, Couch/Frierson/Blades/Dunson/Ivey are all former blue-chip prospects and they have a ton of experience. Isaiah Dunson has improved the most. He's always been physical, but the emphasis on press and his added weight has really helped his game (which is length over speed). We've been through this with DJ Ivey. He started all camp, just like he started for the past two DB coaches. I hope it finally translates to the field because he is a great kid with elite size. Tackling is the key with him. Marcus Clarke was a backup all camp and may not hang around. Malik Curtis is still learning and may fit best on special teams at this point of his development. This group is going to be extremely competitive once Daryl Porter and two physically advanced freshmen (Chris Graves and Jaden Harris) arrive on campus.

Safety- One of the best positions on the team. Avantae Williams is the tone-setter with his energy, physicality and range. He looks outstanding and has next-level twitch. James Williams looked like himself, although I'd like to see more consistency as a tackler. I think he will start moving across the chessboard once Kam Kinchens comes back. Steele likes to be creative with his safeties. The key with the Williams Twins is that they both love football and bring energy, on top of their natural ability. As a tandem, they remind me of Earl Thomas (deep) and Kam Chancellor (box) in Steele's Cover 3 scheme. Brian Balom bounced back from injury with a solid camp. He provides depth. When he first got here, a veteran staffer said he was our most impressive young safety since Deon Bush. I wouldn't put him with our top 3 guys, but he's someone we want to keep. Blades has also gotten a significant amount of reps at safety. Myles Mooyoung is a versatile walk-on DB who is FBS caliber.

Overall, there is a lot of work to do and a lot of talent to add. But we have great QBs, a big-time staff, and a bunch of blue-chippers who are getting better. This team should compete for an ACC title if the Portal is good to us the next few weeks.
Thank you, D! Amazing write up.

In this quote, “Jacob Lichtenstein is another guy with similar dimensions. He's a little tight but has good straight-line speed for a DT,” what do you mean by a “little tight” in football terms?

Not sure if you meant “light” or if it’s some other football jargon I just don’t know.
 

DMoney

D-Moni
Administrator
Joined
Oct 13, 2011
Messages
16,754
Thank you, D! Amazing write up.

In this quote, “Jacob Lichtenstein is another guy with similar dimensions. He's a little tight but has good straight-line speed for a DT,” what do you mean by a “little tight” in football terms?

Not sure if you meant “light” or if it’s some other football jargon I just don’t know.
“Tight” meaning he has some issues with flexibility and change of direction. He is better in a straight line.
 

Shogungts

Junior
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
2,541
Good stuff D

WR is fascinating, promising and frustrating at the same time. Outside of Restrepo (a VERY solid WR), it seems like we have a ton of receivers who are all on the cusp of being THAT GUY, but there is something holding each back. One would have to think that with the numbers we have and so many that seem so close, that at least one could emerge.
 
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