A six-pack of UM, Heat, Dolphins and Marlins notes:
• Some Canes offensive notes after Saturday’s practice: With Brad Kaaya mulling whether to turn pro, I wondered who has been the most impressive of the backup quarterbacks this season.
Mark Richt said Malik Rosier “is getting most of the reps [behind Kaaya]. That lets you know where we think he is on the depth chart.”
Richt said Evan Shirreffs is getting some reps and has “done a nice job.”
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What about Jack Allison? Richt said he’s on the scout team and didn’t elaborate about his performance.
Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said the backup QB play in practice has been “up and down” and “Malik at times” has been the best of the group and Vinnie Testavarde at other times has been the best...
Of the freshmen tight ends, Brown said Michael Irvin - who was pushing a tire after practice - has “done a better job of working harder” recently and shows “more suddenness as a receiver” than Jovani Haskins.
Brown said both of those freshmen tight ends have “good skill sets” and have improved as in-line blockers....
Brown said neither Joe Yearby (who previously tweeted that he’s leaving UM) nor Gus Edwards (one report said he’s considering transferring) have told him their plans. “I hope both are back,” Brown said....
Richt said he will hold onto some scholarships so he doesn’t “miss a chance” to add a grad transfer or players available after signing day.
• Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, on Chad Thomas’ season: “When you look at where he was [when Diaz arrived], he has made substantial improvements. There is still so much more there and Chad knows it. He took a step of being a solid, top-tier defensive end in the [ACC]. He needs to take the step of being a guy who can dominate a game.”
• Though UM tight end David Njoku has been non-committal on turning pro, UM associates say they fully expect he will turn pro, based on private comments made.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen on Friday called Njoku “the biggest and baddest dude that we’ve faced all year, gives a lot of matchup problems.”
UM and West Virginia play in the Dec. 28 Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.
• A couple of ways the new labor deal will potentially hurt the Heat next summer:
1) Max salaries are going up, making it unrealistic to add more than one max player even with Miami’s substantial cap space.
2) Mid-level exceptions are going up, making it easier for teams without cap space to land players when they compete against teams that have space (like the Heat will).
3) Minimum salaries are rising 45 percent, increasing the size of cap holds for unfilled roster spots and potentially reducing Heat cap space by $1 million to $2 million, depending on how many holds the Heat needs. (Teams must account for 12 players with contracts or cap holds.)
If Dion Waiters and Willie Reed opt out and Chris Bosh is cleared off Miami’s cap (all as expected), Miami could have $40 million or so in space, depending on where it drafts, far more than that if it trades Goran Dragic, who is due $17 million next season.
• Though Adam Gase seemed lukewarm and non-committal about Dion Jordan, defensive coordinator Vance Joseph believes Jordan can help next season.
“He's a big body who can help us in the future,” Joseph said. “But he's lacking health. We tried to get him back out there and move him around a little bit, but he just wasn't ready physically, and the time ran out. Dion has to go back and just rehab and get himself healthy. He's a young player. He's got a bright future, if healthy. So that's what we didn't see. We didn't see the kid healthy enough to play."
• Closer Aroldis Chapman told Yankees reporters that “the Marlins were close on signing me” but he was deterred “because, as you all know, from time to time they change their team a lot. I wanted to have a stable team... where I could feel at home.”
The Marlins offered a deal similar to the $86 million contract that the Yankees gave him, but without a no-trade clause.