University of Miami

Second UM football spring scrimmage Saturday amps up urgency

UM receiver Ahmmon Richards talks scrimmage, QB battle

Ahmmon Richards talks UM scrimmage and quarterbacks on Thursday, April 13, 2017.
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Ahmmon Richards talks UM scrimmage and quarterbacks on Thursday, April 13, 2017.

Scrimmage No. 2 is almost here.

The battle for first-team status going into fall camp continues Saturday morning at Greentree Field, where all eyes once again (but preferably not all bodies) will be on the quarterbacks fighting to earn the coveted starting spot that Brad Kaaya had the past three seasons.

Evan Shirreffs appears to have the edge now in the QB competition, but with another week of practice left, as well as scrimmage No. 2 and 3, Malik Rosier is still right there.

Redshirt freshman Jack Allison injured his shoulder in last week’s scrimmage, and hasn’t been fully practicing the past week, so he likely won’t take contact Saturday. Allison has a strong arm, and it’s obviously unfortunate he was hurt. Hopefully he comes back soon.

Keep in mind that coach Mark Richt has continually said the quarterback will not be named until fall camp — possibly the end of fall camp.

If there is contact Saturday, because Richt hasn’t said for sure, true freshman Cade Weldon will get reps, at least according to what Richt said after the first scrimmage. Richt said Weldon wasn’t ready yet and held him out, which was a smart decision. Would be great if Weldon gets his shot Saturday.

Defensively, the Canes dominated last weekend, according to coaches and people who watched the scrimmage. UM middle linebacker Shaq Quarterman was asked this past Tuesday what he wanted to see defensively for the second scrimmage.

“First and foremost,’’ Quarterman said, “as a defense I just want everybody to continue to get better. Things that we didn’t do so well in the scrimmage – we call the scrimmage a game – things that we didn’t do too well in the game we want to fix those things this week, so when Saturday comes we can transfer those things to the game.

“For myself, I just want to be more urgent, more vocal. I have to work on everything in my mindset.’’

Quarterman said he “felt very comfortable’’ assuming a leadership role “after the first year with all the experience I got from the season.’’

For defensive players such as 6-3, 240-pound redshirt junior linebacker Darrion Owens, who sustained a severe injury to his right knee against FAU on Sept. 11, 2015, these scrimmages are invaluable toward their continued improvement and development physically and mentally.

Said Owens of his knee: “It feels good. I did a lot of treatment and working out. We have a great staff and they really helped me and made me feel a lot more comfortable just being out there and moving around. I feel like I’m right there.’’

Added Quarterman: “Darrion is looking good,’’ Quarterman said. “He’s bouncing back from the injury tremendously. It breeds really good competition. That’s what we need. That’s what Miami was built on.”

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz on Thursday said he was pleased with the first scrimmage, but for him, it’s all about improving.

“It’s like anything else, there are always good plays and bad plays,’’ Diaz said. “But I thought overall, No. 1, the thing you evaluate in a scrimmage is tackling, because we don’t get to tackle to the ground all that often. We tackled very well – there was not a lot of yards after contact, those type things. That’s good, we don’t get a lot of chances to do that.

“Run defense did a good job, too, so there was a lot of positive takeaways and then certainly a bunch of things that we still were not quite pleased with.”

The scrimmage again is closed to the general public and media, but open to former players and players’ family members and friends, boosters, high school football recruits and their coaches. There’s a list that security verifies, so not worth going if you’re not invited.