Spring has sprung for the University of Miami football program.
Practice, closed to the public, had already been going for a while when media was allowed to watch the first 20-25 minutes or so. On Thursday, the next session, our viewing will likely be cut in half. But glad to see what we did.
The quarterback race included, in this order relating to throwing drills: redshirt junior Malik Rosier (No. 12), redshirt sophomore Evan Shirreffs (No. 16), redshirt freshman Jack Allison (No. 11), redshirt junior Vincent Testaverde (No. 14) and true freshman early enrollee Cade Weldon (No. 17).
“Not bad,’’ coach Mark Richt said when asked his impressions of the quarterbacks. “The guys that should know what to do, know what to do. It’s Day One install, so it’s not a super complicated installation for guys that have been here for a season. Weldon being brand new... their heads are swimming a little bit. I think Cade did pretty well. He got a good many reps in our pass skeleton, our seven-on-seven stuff and our team stuff with the [No.] 3 units. “He did pretty good I would have to say.
“Some guys, Day One, it’s too much for them... We’re no-huddling, we’ve got code names, we’re going tempo, we’re changing personnel groups, we’re doing a lot. We’re going at veteran pace and he’s not a veteran. He held up pretty decent.
“...I kept Weldon with the [No. 3 group] until he can handle the more mature group and not slow everybody down.’’
Richt also said redshirt freshman Jack Allison “threw it really well. He threw it very well as a matter of fact. I was impressed with how he threw it.’’
The coach said there’s no quarterback decision pending.
“I probably won’t make it this spring, to be honest with you,’’ Richt said. “I’ll have a pecking order in my mind when it’s over, but I really think it’ll go into camp before we know who it’s going to be.’’
Incoming freshman N’Kosi Perry arrives in May.
“We’ve got one more coming,’’ Richt said, adding that the decision “will probably happen by the second scrimmage, maybe the third scrimmage, of the fall. It may go that deep into it. We’ve got one more guy that’s going to come and compete. I’m not saying anything other than I want to see what he can do, too.’’
Freshman running back Robert Burns wore No. 22 and at his listed 5-11, 215-pound physique, looked very powerful.
Perhaps the most enlightening observation, if it means anything at all this early (and I’d say it does) was that early enrollee Navaughn Donaldson, a 6-6, 350-true freshman man-child out of Miami Central, started O-line drills as the first-team right tackle, with Kc McDermott next to him at right guard, Tyler Gauthier at center, Trevor Darling at left guard and Tyree St. Louis at left tackle.
“Isn’t he big?’’ Richt said of Donaldson. “We put him some with the 1s just to get him a veteran next to him to help him. Because if we put him and Dykstra side by side, it’s not good. So we wanted to try to balance it out with some veteran players that could help the young players -— linemen especially —know what to do.’’
“He did a really good job today,’’ McDermott said of Donaldson. “I can remember my first practice four years ago. He has been a guy that is relentlessly asking questions. We have been working on the playbook, but I am very impressed with him and the way he works.’’
The second-team O-line, left to right, was LSU transfer George Brown, Jr., Hayden Mahoney, Bar Milo, Jahair Jones and true freshman Zach Dykstra/Tre Johnson.
▪ Tight End Chris Herndon, who will replace NFL-bound David Njoku: “I just have to step up more and help the young guys get acclimated. It is going to be a lot of leadership on my behalf.’’
▪ Richt said cornerback Sheldrick Redwine has been switched to safety.
▪ Players who did not participate during the media viewing, though Richt did not specify, were running back Trayone Gray (recovering from ACL), defensive tackle Gerald Willis (who was suspended for the Russell Athletic Bowl), tackle Sunny Odogwu (leg) and center Nick Linder (shoulder).
▪ Richt praised sophomore receiver Dionte Mullins and freshman receiver DeeJay Dallas for their first spring practice.
▪ Former UM quarterback Brad Kaaya was working on his passing at Greentree Field after practice ended. Also out there was former tight end Stan Dobard.