Quarterback competition highlights first University of Miami scrimmage

Two quarterbacks emerged during the Canes’ first scrimmage of fall practice, and safety Dallas Crawford dominated at his new position.

08/13/2014 7:49 PM

08/14/2014 9:07 PM

The Hurricanes had their first scrimmage of fall camp Wednesday at Greentree Field, and by the sound of the report released by the University of Miami, this much is clear:

•  The quarterback race is led by graduate transfer Jake Heaps and true freshman Brad Kaaya — but not necessarily in that order.
• Safety Dallas Crawford, who was switched this season from running back, is a beast.
• Running back Duke Johnson is back on track after breaking his ankle Nov. 2 at Florida State.
• The Canes should treat linebacker Denzel Perryman (if they haven’t already) to something special (and within NCAA rules) for returning to Coral Gables for his senior season.

The Canes closed the controlled scrimmage (goal-line situations followed by 12 series, per UM) to the media and public but released a report with several details. Full final statistics were not revealed.

UM reported that six quarterbacks took snaps in the scrimmage, four of them —Heaps, Kaaya, redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen and true freshman Malik Rosier — scholarship players.

Ryan Williams, the fifth-year senior still rehabilitating from reconstructive knee surgery, was not mentioned. And Olsen and Rosier only were mentioned in the context of taking snaps.

“Heaps used many different weapons to get the Canes moving, completing five passes to five different receivers,’’ the report stated. “Kaaya had several impressive throws, including an 18-yard completion to Stacy Coley and a 27-yard strike to Clive Walford.’’

Kaaya was also mentioned for throwing a touchdown to running back Walter Tucker during goal-line drills.

UM coach Al Golden previously said the quarterback race will be streamlined to two front-runners after Wednesday’s scrimmage, and a starter will emerge after Monday’s second scrimmage.

The report lauded the defense, saying it was “particularly good on third down.’’

Crawford, a 5-10, 195-pound junior from Fort Myers, had five tackles and forced a fumble that was recovered by defensive end Tyriq McCord. Crawford also intercepted a pass and “and took it 50 yards for a touchdown to end Wednesday’s action,’’ said the report.

Junior cornerback Ladarius Gunter had another pick.

The report did not reveal who threw the interceptions.

Perryman, a Butkus Award candidate who had 108 tackles last season, led the Canes with nine tackles. He had three tackles for loss, UM said, “including a huge hit’’ on freshman tailback Joseph Yearby.

Yearby, 5-9 and 192 pounds from Miami Central, broke the fibula on his left leg Nov. 30 and is getting back to full form.

Yearby’s UM mentor, Johnson, “juked past two defenders on a 21-yard run to get a first down,’’ the report noted, then, on the next play, “went untouched for 54 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.

“Johnson also was a threat in the passing game, taking his lone reception of the afternoon for a scrimmage-best 30 yards.’’

Among the other scrimmage details provided by UM:

• True freshman Trayone Gray, who arrived late for camp weighing 222 pounds on his 6-2 frame, ran for a 25-yard touchdown.
• Backup tailback Gus Edwards ran for a 3-yard touchdown in goal-line drills.
• Receivers Coley, Tyre Brady, Malcolm Lewis and Herb Waters; and tight end Clive Walford “had multiple receptions.’’
• The Canes had seven pass deflections (Anthony Chickillo, Thurston Armbrister, Tracy Howard, Hugo Delapenha and Ryan Mayes), six tackles for loss and two sacks (Ufomba Kamalu and Jermaine Grace).

Camp continues Thursday morning for the first of a two-a-day session.

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