Judging by the talk among players, the Miami Hurricanes are leaning toward (or have possibly already decided) letting the quarterbacks go live Saturday morning in the first fall scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium.
But nothing has been made official or revealed to us by coach Mark Richt.
Here’s some of what we heard on the scrimmage and quarterback race Wednesday after practice:
▪ From defensive end Joe Jackson: “It doesn’t matter where we scrimmage. I am excited. We get to go against the offense. The quarterbacks will be live, so we’ll see if they can take some hits. I’m just looking forward to making big plays and show that I’ve improved since last year.
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“They’re live. You give them a good lick every now and then. But you don’t try to hurt them — it’s a teammate.’’
Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said this about the subject on Wednesday:
▪ ”We haven’t talked about it. I know the first thing in the spring we had those guys go live. We may do the same thing this time. obviously we want to make sure we get an accurate look at those guys but also keep them healthy at the same time, which is the biggest thing. We’ll probably make a decision between now and Saturday.”
Brown, on how N’Kosi Perry looks when he’s playing with the first team:
▪ ”I think all four of those guys [Malik Rosier, Evan Shirreffs, Perry and Cade Weldon] that are getting reps right now are being pretty consistent and working their butts off. there’s still a ways to go in this competition. We’ll see what happens.”
And Perry, specifically?
▪ “I think the biggest thing with him and even most young quarterbacks is the poise he has. Make sure guys don’t get too frustrated and also don’t get too high. You know, throw a great touchdown pass and linger on it for four periods. Move on. Whether it’s a good play or bad play. He’s done a really good job of keeping poised and being consistent for the most part. But there’s still always improvement.”
Brown, on if Weldon and Perry have made a jump in progress after a week of fall camp:
▪ ”Definitely, obviously Cade has been here since [spring practice and] that obviously helps out. It’s a big adjustment. When it comes to college football now it’s almost like going through camp in the summer. We have so much time to meet with those guys one-on-one and it really helps those young guys get ahead. Those guys have made great progress. There’s still a ways to go, still a lot of ways to get better but the competition has been strong.”
From senior receiver Braxton Berrios on freshmen Perry and Weldon:
▪ “They’re doing well. Cade is right in the rotation as well. He gets reps with us as well. They’re really learning what to do. that was the main thing with all of them coming in, and now that they know what to do, it’s doing it consistently. That’s the main thing.
“Even N’Kosi. He knew he was going to come in here with a chance to start and he took that in his mind and he took that preparation well. Like I said, it’s a really close race right now.”
How does Berrios feel about the quarterbacks being up for grabs in a scrimmage?
▪ “It doesn’t make too much of a difference for me, but obviously the worry is that QBs get hurt, this and that. But you do want to see who’s going to do what under pressure. You do want to see who is going to stand in there and take that hit. I like it, especially for the first scrimmage and with this tight QB race we have. I like them going live.”
How different are these quarterbacks vs. Brad Kaaya last year? They can run.
▪ Defensive end Jackson: “That is more difficult. You’ve got to be more conscious of what you’re doing, especially on certain plays and certain calls because just about every quarterback we have is fast enough — especially Kosi and Malik. You gotta pay attention to them real well. We keep up with them. They’re just naturally faster than us. If you don’t play them smart, you’ll get beat off the ball.’’
Receiver Ahmmon Richards on the QB race:
▪ “They’re all trying to win the job. They are giving it all they’ve got every play. So that’s good.
Richards on freshman Perry:
▪ “Yeah, it’s early, but I feel like he’s getting a feel for the system and he’s becoming more comfortable with it. There’s a learning curve at some point but I feel he’s past that already. I feel he’s maturing more and learning the system.
Richards on freshman Weldon:
▪ “Cade is working also. We have a few read plays or whatever, and he’s really making the defense think twice about just watching the running back on a certain play, because he can keep the ball also. His athletic ability is pretty good. Obviously he can throw the ball also.”
SMITH MOSTLY AT LINEBACKER
Linebacker Mike Smith on defensive coordinator Manny Diaz saying Tuesday how bad he wants it:
▪ “It’s just in our whole linebacker room. We really want it badly. We really want to be really good this year. A lot of people said we were young last year. I think we’re really going to make a statement already.”
How much is Smith studying or practicing at fullback?
▪ “I study it off and on, but I’m really mainly at linebacker right now.” How many snaps daily? “I don’t know. We flip here and there everyday, so it’s fullback some days, linebacker most of the time.
“I feel like I got stronger in the bench and squat. I feel like I’m moving a little faster laterally. The speed of the game is kind of slowing down for me.
On what it’s like trying to learn fullback:
▪ I’m more used to attacking than trying to block. I’m still getting it.”
▪ The Canes are being given the day off on Thursday.