University of Miami football coach Al Golden made it clear Thursday that “it’s time to cut the cord” for many of his players.
That process will begin Saturday at Sun Life Stadium, as the Hurricanes take the field — though only 50 yards of the field will be used — for their annual spring game that concludes their 15-session spring period.
Because of injuries, including previous starting quarterback Ryan Williams’ torn ACL, the Canes will not have their traditional orange vs. white game that Golden has implemented in the past.
Instead, it will be more of a controlled scrimmage on half of the field, while the other half is used for carnival-like games and activities.
Golden said coaches will not be “hands-on” in the football part of the scrimmage that begins at 6 p.m.
“This one is going to take on a little bit different meaning — bigger crowd, in our home stadium, a lot of energy in there,” he said. “So, we need guys to play with poise, see who can execute under pressure and that’s really it. Who is going to do the things that we need them to do when we need them to do it?”
The first half-hour will have one-on-one competitions and seven-on-seven competitions between offense and defense. The final hour-and-a-half will be the offense vs. defense scrimmage (Golden said the ball will be put in various spots on the field), with a specific scoring system that awards points to each for various situations (eg. touchdowns, first downs, three-and-out, defensive stop, etc.).
All eyes, regardless, will be on redshirt freshman starting quarterback Kevin Olsen, who was elevated when Williams injured his knee on April 4 in a closed scrimmage.
“Kevin had a real good scrimmage last Friday,” Golden said. “Now he’s got to go in there and really prove it to himself in running the offense, doing it with confidence … and not thinking too much — just executing.”
Golden said new backup Gray Crow had a good week and now must “carry that into the game. This needs to be a big step for Gray. Gray needs to do all the little things right and just come out and let it rip Saturday.”
Though running backs Duke Johnson and Joe Yearby returned to practice on a limited basis this week, they will not take part in the scrimmage.
Several players posted positive feedback on Twitter.
“Our new uniforms change the game! Best in college football, hands down!” posted defensive end Anthony Chickillo.
“[Bro], our jerseys are so sexy omg!!!!!!’’ posted running back Walter Tucker.
“Them helmets too!!!” running back Gus Edwards tweeted, followed by three smiley faces with hearts for eyes.