University of Miami

Golden says ‘tough decisions’ still ahead

Brad Kayaa
Brad Kayaa Miami Herald

Two weeks before the start of the season and just minutes after the Miami Hurricanes finished their second and final scrimmage of fall camp — delayed about 10 minutes Saturday night because of rain and lightning — Al Golden sounded as undecided about starting lineups as he did before the scrimmage.

“There are going to be some tough decisions, no question,” Golden said. “But we’ve got a long, long way to go here… Wherever you are when we start the week, that’s just the starting point.

“We’re too far out to put the brakes on.”

Here’s what came out in bits and pieces from coaches and a handful of players after the closed scrimmage, which lasted three quarters at Greentree Field and except for the shortened length, was handled like a regulation game:

▪ The defense had two sacks, both by defensive tackle Anthony Moten and only one on starter Brad Kaaya, fewer in total than the first scrimmage the week before.

▪ There were no turnovers, unlike at least one fumble and interceptions last week.

▪ Freshman tailback Mark Walton and junior Gus Edwards each scored short-yardage touchdowns.

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Junior receiver Stacy Coley is making a case to start after last year’s season-long slump, scoring a “50-plus-yard” touchdown, maybe more, according to fellow receiver Herb Waters, who also had a good night.

▪ Redshirt freshman receiver Darrell Langham and tight end David Njoku scored as well, but slot receivers Malcolm Lewis and Braxton Berrios sat out with injuries.

▪ Danny Isidora, who started 12 games last season at first-team right guard, worked much of the night at first-team right tackle, with Trevor Darling at left tackle, Alex Gall at left guard, Nick Linder at center and Joe Brown at right guard.

“Guys, that [No. 1] defense is good,” offensive coordinator James Coley said. “They’ve got really good players up front. We have to scrap. And when we scrap with those guys every now and then we get some bad ball — meaning we have some penalties. We’ve got to really grab those guys because they’re big, they’re strong and they’re fast.”

Said defensive end Chad Thomas: “We had a good attitude today. We made some plays. Tonight Anthony Moten was getting in the backfield a lot. He was the best at his technique.’’

Thomas also praised rush end Al-Quadin Muhammad: “I saw him out there laying out for plays. That motivated a lot of D-lineman just watching Quan go out there setting the edges.’’

What did James Coley know after the scrimmage that he didn’t know Friday?

“We’ve got four quarterbacks that can go into the game and play. Our guys were very aggressive. I didn’t see a lot of mental errors. I saw guys that were aggressive with their throws make good decisions and move very well in the pocket. I’m very high on that group right now.’’

Coley lauded Gus Edwards for his “tough running,’’ and freshman Mark Walton and sophomore Joe Yearby for their “open-field stuff.’’

The coach said “there were a couple runs” in which sophomore Trayone Gray “could have been lower in the goal-line area. I’m kind of down on him on that.”

Golden said 11 of 12 freshmen played Saturday.

“Once you get them out there in game tempo and you’re not babysitting them and overcoaching them… what we learned was who could handle those situations,” the coach said.

Though it’s believed coaches have already decided much of their projected depth chart going into the Sept. 5 opener against Bethune-Cookman, Golden previously would not divulge any projected starters on offense other than Kaaya.

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