Some quick-hit chatter notes on University of Miami Hurricanes football and the Marlins:
• Whereas one former Hurricane said players were afraid to make suggestions to ex-defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio, receiver Stacy Coley said one appealing aspect of coach Mark Richt is “he listens. What we tell him, he will draw up.”
Players objected to D’Onofrio’s strategic decisions, but one former player said they couldn’t make suggestions because of fear he would lash out or scoff at them.
• UM can’t wait to see what these three freshmen starting linebackers become over the next four years.
“We have tremendous chemistry together,” Shaquille Quarterman said of himself, Mike Pinckney and Zach McCloud. “I’m calm. Mike is energetic. Zach is a silent hit man. We feed off each other.”
Richt said that in the opener, “they were probably too aggressive at times. One thing about these guys – they’ll strike you.”
Quarterback Brad Kaaya on Tuesday called Quarterman a “man amongst boys.”
• UM is ranked 25th in the AP poll this week, marking the first time the Hurricanes have been in the top 25 since Nov. 16, 2013, when they were 23rd.
• Courtel Jenkins remains out indefinitely with a leg injury, with UM declining to give a timetable. But Gerald Willis returns from a one-game suspension against FAU on Saturday and already is on the second team.
• Other than Kaaya, it’s difficult to find a player that Richt raves about more than first-string tight end Chris Herndon.
“Herndon knows every play the fullback knows, every play the tight ends have to know and every play a slot receiver has to know,” Richt said. “Usually you don’t have that. That’s a tribute to him, his athleticism, his brainpower.”
• Offensive coaches have made a subtle change that should reduce penalties. “Cadences this year allow them to not have to predict,” Kaaya said. “Our cadences are more rhythmic, so it allows them to know when I'm about to say, ‘Down, set, hut.’ It's easy for them to time up and jump off the ball."
So why didn’t UM coaches do this last year?
• One unique advantage for UM recruiting: Recruits are being allowed to hang out in Hard Rock Stadium’s Club Liv before games and at halftime.
“No place in America has kids hanging out in a place like that,” Richt told Joe Zagacki and Don Bailey on WQAM’s Hurricane Hotline, adding that one recruit told him Saturday that “your team is very happy. They care about each other.”
• With 20 oral commitments (six of them four-star prospects), UM’s 2017 recruiting class has risen to sixth in Rivals’ rankings, best in the ACC and well ahead of No. 15 FSU.
• UM alum report: Former UM undrafted rookies Herb Waters (Green Bay), Rashawn Scott (Dolphins) and Ufomba Kamalu (Texans) were relegated to practice squads, but cornerback Tracy Howard made Cleveland’s 53-man roster.
• The Andrew Cashner trade (with San Diego getting Josh Naylor and Carter Capps) could end up being disastrous for Miami, but at least the Marlins got back Luis Castillo after Colin Rea’s elbow gave out. Castillo (8-4, 2.07 at Jupiter) this week was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Year. And hard-throwing reliever Tayron Guerrero, acquired by Miami in that deal, has looked good (1-1, 1.93 ERA at Double A).
As for Cashner,he has been a disaster since joining Miami. Since the trade with San Diego, he's 0-4 with a 5.57 ERA and 55 base-runners allowed in 32 innings.
The Marlins probably wouldn’t be able to afford Cashner this winter even if they wanted him. And Cashner said any interest he would have in re-signing would hinge on the Marlins eliminating their no-facial hair policy.
Cashner said “I still hate” the Marlins’ no-beard rule and “that is a big deal to me in free agency.”
So what’s the thinking behind the policy, which was set years ago but not enforced in 2014 or 2015? “It’s just who we want to be as an organization,” Don Mattingly said. “It’s nothing like it makes us better or makes us more disciplined.”
To read the lead item of today’s buzz column, about some historical precedent that is reason for optimism on Ryan Tannehill, please click here.