A six-pack of UM nuggets on a Tuesday:
• UM receiver Dionte Mullins’ final statement this spring - including a terrific sideline catch during Saturday’s scrimmage - was encouraging, even more so because he was no factor as a freshman.
Ahmmon Richards said Mullins has helped himself by being “in better condition.” Richards also said Mullins “plays harder all the time” now.
“He's still maturing,” receivers coach Ron Dugans said. “I've just got to get him to play consistent. That's what you look for when you're going with the first group. Guys have to go out and perform in the run game and pass game. He's done a good job for us.”
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• Dugans said DeeJay Dallas’ transition from high school quarterback to college receiver has been smooth.
“I'm glad he came in in the spring and not some time in the summer,” Dugans said. “He's done a good job transitioning [from quarterback], catching the football better than what I thought he would.”
Richt said UM hasn’t ruled out moving him to running back if it’s desperate but prefers not to do that.
Incidentally, Dugans said of Dayall Harris: “I did see growth with Mr. Harris. He caught the ball better than he did last spring. He knows every position. He's grown mentally and starting to understand the game better. He's done a really good job route running and catching the football.”
• Dugans expects a May arrival for ballyhooed receivers Mike Harley and Jeff Thomas.
“There's been a lot of contact,” Dugans said. “Those guys will be here sometime in May. They will come in a lot sooner than Ahmmon came in. Ahmmon came in June or July. These guys will come in a lot sooner. I'm excited. Harley is at almost every practice. Jeff, I stay in touch with him and we talk about football stuff. I can't wait to get those guys.”
• Though Navaughn Donaldson (pictured above) was a standout high-school tackle, offensive line coach Stacy Searels said guard, “right now, it's probably the best spot for him. It's easier for a guy to learn the whole system inside than out there on an island. He's done a good job this spring.”
• One offensive linemen who simply must get better: left guard Trevor Darling.
“Trevor has had some good days and has had some bad days,” Searels said. “Trevor has played a lot of ball and has played a lot of ball for us. He's got to continue to get better.”
The loser of the center battle – Nick Linder or Tyler Gauthier – will compete for a guard spot.
“I think the centers can play all three positions inside,” Searels said. “We are going to put the best five guys out there. If those two guys are the best five, one will play center and one will play guard.”
My take: There’s still too many dead weight on the offensive line: Bar Milo, Hayden Mahoney, Tre Johnson and Jahair Jones. None of them have proven they can help. Some might end their careers here, but it would be surprising if all four do.
And four-star LSU transfer George Brown Jr. has been something of a disappointment, unable to challenge for a starting job.
Though Brown is talented and former starter Sunny Odogwu is coming back from injury, Searels said Kc McDermott and Tyree St. Louis “are the two guys who would line up Day 1 when we start fall camp. The stretch at the end of the season last year, the last five games where we won, they both played and played well. They earned some points there in the pecking order right now and they've done a great job this spring.”
Susan Miller Degnan has the story here on why Jack Allison left, and a bit more on what I’ve heard: Someone who watched all UM practices said he had the best arm and threw with the most authority, but because Richt prefers a mobile quarterback, Allison needed to be a lot better, both with his accuracy and decision-making, to overcome the fact that he isn’t a dual-threat QB. Ultimately, Allison fell short in those areas, at least so far, in the estimation of the coaching staff.
And please click here for my full story on the Marlins’ expected sale to a group featuring Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter, including several exclusive details.