There were touchdowns. There were interceptions. There was at least one fumble. And there was a whopper of a field goal – “57 or 58 yards,” according to University of Miami football coach Al Golden.
The first spring scrimmage of 2015, closed to the media and most of the public, apparently had some good, some bad and some wow moments.
Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, linebackers Juwon Young and Jermaine Grace, cornerback Artie Burns, running back Gus Edwards, receivers Stacy Coley, Rashawn Scott and Braxton Berrios, tight end Stan Dobard and kicker Mike Badgley were among the players who stood out in the Hurricanes’ first spring scrimmage Thursday at Greentree Field, according to the players who spoke afterward.
“It went pretty well,” said quarterback Brad Kaaya, who threw multiple touchdowns and two interceptions that were diving, acrobatic plays by Grace and safety Dallas Crawford. “A lot of guys making plays on both sides of the ball.
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“It feels like we just ended the season. Almost feels like a fall scrimmage, to be honest.”
Kaaya said Scott, who returns for his final season after sitting out in 2014 with a clavicle injury, and Coley, who will be a junior after a disappointing season, were especially impressive.
“Rashawn had a lot of grabs,” Kaaya said. “He was a grown man out there.
“Stan had a nice 80-yard catch.
“Stacy had a really good day. He killed it today. He was making all kinds of grabs, so he was killing the DBs today.”
Kaaya said Muhammad “was in there a lot. He was all over the place. He was covering and getting in, beating our O-line, moving, all kinds of stuff.”
Golden refrained from compliments, saying he needed to look at film and “grade ’em up and see where we’re at and go from there.”
The coach did reiterate that the team needs to “get rid of the selfish penalties and the operational penalties. We had a couple too many of those.
“And we’ve got to protect the ball. There’s going to be a deflection, that’s part of the game. But in terms of just putting the ball on the ground at tailback, we can’t do that. We did that today in a bad situation.”
Soon-to-be sophomore Juwon Young, now up to 245 pounds, was brought to talk to the media as a defensive player who excelled.
“I had some pass breakups, some tackles for loss. You know, minor stuff,” said Young, who had one of the deflections that turned into an interception. “Now I’m kind of getting more of an understanding. I know what I’m doing. I guess it just took a good year for me to adjust to the system.”
Dobard said he scored a touchdown from the “2- or 3-yard-line” on the first play of the scrimmage in goal-line practice.
“We came out with a pass play,” he said. “I think we caught them off guard with that one.”
Coley said he caught two touchdowns Thursday, both on corner routes.
“I just attacked the corner after leveraging and made a play on it,” said Coley, who noted he wants at least 14 touchdowns in 2015. “I feel like I’m having fun again.”
After Friday classes, the players part for spring break and return by next weekend. Practice resumes March 17.
Badgley, who is from New Jersey and will accompany good friend Kaaya to his home in Los Angeles on Friday night, kicked what UM said was a 57-yard field goal. Had it been a real game, it would have tied the Hurricanes’ record of 57 yards by Danny Miller at Florida State in 1981.