UM offensive coordinator talks about offensive line
The Miami Hurricanes are in the top 20 — 18 to be exact.
The Hurricanes were ranked 18th on Thursday afternoon among the Top 25 in the Amway Coaches Poll, the first major preseason poll released.
Alabama (14-1 in 2016) is ranked No. 1, followed by No. 2 Ohio State (11-2), No. 3 Florida State (10-3), No. 4 Southern California (10-3), defending national champion and No. 5 Clemson (14-1), No. 6 Penn State (11-3), No. 7 Washington (12-2), No. 8 Oklahoma (11-2), No. 9 Michigan (10-3) and No. 10 Wisconsin (11-3) to wrap up the top 10.
Florida is 16th, two spots ahead of the Canes.
The Canes, who finished 9-4 last year, won their first bowl game in 10 years and ended the season with their first five-game winning streak since their 2001 national championship campaign. They will meet the No. 3 Seminoles on Sept. 16 in Tallahassee in the third game of the season. UM does not play Florida until the 2019 season opener at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
The coaches voted Miami at No. 23 to end the 2016 season.
The Associated Press poll has not been released, but after Clemson upset Alabama in the College Football Playoff national championship game in January, the Hurricanes were voted into the AP’s final Top 25 poll for the first time since 2009 and only the second time since 2005. They finished 20th in 2016 in the AP rankings.
You might recall that West Virginia (10-3 in 2016), the team UM defeated 31-14 in the Russell Athletic Bowl, finished two spots ahead of the Canes last January at No. 18 in the AP poll.
UM made it official on Thursday that it has agreed to a home-and-home series with Temple University.
The Hurricanes will host the Owls at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 5, 2020. Miami will travel to Philadelphia to face Temple on Sept. 23, 2023. UM leads the all-time series 13-1.
UM CAMP NOTES
▪ Day 3 of fall camp on Thursday saw the continuation of the quarterback battle, with redshirt junior Malik Rosier followed by redshirt sophomore Evan Shirreffs, freshman Cade Weldon and freshman N’Kosi Perry in the rotation during about 10 minutes of media viewing after the initial five-minute stretch period.
“I think it’s trying to figure out who’s going to give us the best chance to be successful,’’ offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said. “You have a couple guys who have different skill-sets, who are all different and will somewhat dictate how our offense will be called based on who ends up being the guy. It’s a healthy competition right now. …
“Obviously, Evan and Malik had a lot of reps in the springtime when it was live, and N’Kosi has faced the bullet when Manny Diaz’s defense gets up and comes at him full speed.”
▪ Brown said that backup tailback Travis Homer is a “no-nonsense, balls-to-the-wall, ‘I’m going to go as hard as I can until I pass out’ type player. You never have to coach effort with him. I’m really impressed with him. He has gotten a lot looser in the hips and has become more fluid in the open field. He’ll be dang good this year.”
As for 6-2, 235-pound redshirt junior Trayone Gray, who is coming off an ACL tear, Brown said he has done “a very good job of not flinching, not hesitating,’’ but that “he has a ways to go to catch up’’ to Homer.
▪ Expect the freshmen to get loads of playing time this season. “We don’t sign a freshman to redshirt,’’ Brown said. “We expect all those guys to play and contribute, if nothing more than special teams. Offense or defense, the best guys are going to play regardless.’’ That includes receiver Evidence Njoku, Brown said.
▪ Starting weak-side linebacker Michael Pinckney was on an exercise bike on Thursday pedaling with only his right leg while his left leg was motionless. At the end of practice, Pinckney watched as the others took turns on tackling sleds. A UM spokesman said Pinckney being on the bike was “precautionary.’’ ... Next to Pinckney on the other rehab bike was freshman offensive lineman Zalon’tae Hillery, who had his right foot in a boot.
▪ The six Canes sharing first-team practice time with the offensive line are left tackle Kc McDermott, right tackle Tyree St. Louis, centers/guards Tyler Gauthier and Nick Linder, and guards Trevor Darling and Navaughn Donaldson.
▪ St. Louis on sophomore defensive end Scott Patchan, coming off a knee injury: “He looks really good … like he did in high school when we played together. He’s starting to get back to quick-shifting guys.”