A bunch of Dolphins and Canes football notes on a Sunday:
• With the Dolphins’ top three receivers back, it’s difficult to see much changing for Leonte Carroo (103 offensive snaps last season) and Jakeem Grant (19 offensive snaps) barring injuries.
Adam Gase advocated Grant’s selection in the sixth round last year and the Dolphins expect more after a season in which he finished sixth in kickoff return average and 12th in punt returns but also had four fumbles and didn’t develop as much as hoped as a receiver.
Grant, who dropped the only pass thrown to him, has been told he needs to improve.
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A disappointment last year, Carroo caught just three passes for 29 yards and was surpassed by undrafted Rashawn Scott late in the season.
“We’ve just got to keep bringing him along,” Gase said of Carroo. “When you’re trying to figure a guy out that’s not in your top three it’s not always as easy as you’d think. The longer I’d been around him the more we’ve kind of figured out how we need to use him. He’s done a good job trying to figure out his role on special teams and where he really fits in with those receivers. Our young guys have got to be ready to step up.”
• The Dolphins, down to less than $17 million in cap space, are being hurt by $8.1 million in dead money cap charges, with Isa Abdul Quddus’ injury costing them $1.7 million cap hit (certainly not Miami’s fault) and Branden Albert $3.4 million.
• The Dolphins will continue their defensive tackle search in the coming week, and there are well over a dozen available who would fit in their preferred price range ($2 million-$3 million). That group includes Kendall Reyes, Paul Soliai, Jonathan Babineaux, Corbin Bryant, Tyrunn Walker, Cam Thomas, Vance Walker, Roy Miller, Tyson Jackson, Legar Douzable, Billy Winn, Tony McDaniel and Sen’Derrick Marks. Former Jacksonville starter Tyson Alualu, who can play defensive end or tackle, would be a logical option.
• Though the Dolphins would be OK if Jermon Bushrod and Ted Larsen are their starting guards, it was reiterated to me that Miami will be looking for a guard in the draft.
So the offensive line group next season would include Laremy Tunsil, Ja’Wuan James, Mike Pouncey, Bushrod, Larsen, Kraig Urbik, at least one draft prospect and potentially Sam Young and/or Anthony Steen.
• As UM’s quarterback battle begins this week, one player remarked the Jack Allison throws the nicest ball of the contenders. The belief is that he has improved considerably since last spring.
• Biggest concern: Depth at running back and depth at tight end, where there is absolutely nobody proven or experienced behind Chris Herndon. But one UM person said Michael Irvin, suspended for the bowl game, has returned with more maturity.
• UM has said it will bring along slowly players coming off major injuries. That group includes Lawrence Cager, Trayone Gray, Jamie Gordinier and Sunny Odogwu.
• One UM person said Dionte Mullins has been working hard to crack the receiver rotation. He will have plenty of opportunities this spring, with three incoming receivers (Jeff Thomas, Mike Harley and Evidence Njoku) not arriving until the summer.
• There will be at least one projected “starter” who won’t be at spring practice: new punter Zach Feagles, who is not yet enrolled.
• We hate to use the term disappointments with college kids, but there are a bunch of linebackers and offensive linemen who must show serious growth this spring if they want to receive any consideration for significant playing time.
At linebacker, that includes Charles Perry, Mike Smith and Terry McCray. UM has spoken of moving a player to running back, and Perry warrants consideration because he played the position at Royal Palm Beach.
Four offensive linemen must show they can compete for playing time at an ACC program: Bar Milo, Hayden Mahoney, Tre Johnson and Jahair Jones.
• Eyebrows were raised when former Oregon coach Mark Helfrich visited campus for several days; Mark Richt said it was merely to discuss strategy and exchange ideas.