Barry Jackson

A dozen nuggets from the first day of UM spring practice

Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt before the start of the game as the University of Miami takes on the West Virginia Mountaineers at the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando Wed., Dec. 28, 2016.
Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt before the start of the game as the University of Miami takes on the West Virginia Mountaineers at the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando Wed., Dec. 28, 2016. adiaz@miamiherald.com

News and views from the first day of UM football spring practice:

• Found it interesting that when Mark Richt was asked how his five quarterbacks looked Tuesday, the only one he mentioned was early enrollee Cade Weldon.

Colleage Susan Miller Degnan will have the full quotes in her piece, but Richt basically said that UM is asking the QBs to do a lot of things (some no-huddle, etc.) and Weldon wasn’t overwhelmed.

“I think Cade did pretty well,” Richt said.

• Richt was asked specifically about only one other quarterback (Jack Allison) during his seven-minute briefing. He said Allison “threw it really well” and he was very impressed with him.

This QB battle will extend into August, and Richt reiterated he wants to see summer arrival N’Kosi Perry before making a decision. (Remember: Reporters are not permitted to watch most of practice.)

• We mentioned Monday that Dionte Mullins was working hard to crack the receiver rotation, and Richt singled him out today as someone who has impressed him.

“The one guy who caught my eye was Mullins. Much more sure of what he's doing,” Richt said. “He's in good condition. Made some nice catches. Did a nice job.”

• As for freshman receiver DeeJay Dallas, Richt said “he showed the ability to snatch the ball well, which is a great key to be able to catch the ball away from your body and not cradle it. He's still kind of lost. He's definitely not in condition to go as hard as we want to go in practice. He had a few bright moments.”

• UM remains limited at receiver this spring, because Jeff Thomas, Mike Harley and Evidence Njoku aren’t enrolled and possible starter Lawrence Cager remains out after 2016 knee surgery.

“It looks a lot like a year ago as far as the lack of depth again,” Richt said. “We know we've got three guys coming that will really make a difference and help us with our depth. And then you add Cager coming back, because he's not going right now. That changes everything with depth.”

• In a change from past UM coaches, Richt declined to say which players would sit out spring practice.

But during the 15 minutes open to reporters, Cager, Trayone Gray, Sunny Odogwu, Nick Linder and Gerald Willis were not eyeballed. All are coming off injuries and/or surgeries. Willis was seen after practice, but not wearing practice gear.

• The decision to shift Sheldrick Redwine to safety, at least for now and possibly beyond, makes sense because he likely wasn’t going to be one of the UM’s top three corners and might not even have been the fourth.

Among UM’s likely top three corners (Malek Young, Jhavonta Dean and Dee Delaney), only Young is on campus. Trajan Bandy, who could emerge as UM’s No. 4 corner, isn’t on campus yet either.

That means lots of spring reps for Michael Jackson, Terrence Henley and Ryan Mayes, who have much to prove.

• Redwine could join Jaquan Johnson as starting safeties if Redwine catches on to the position quickly. Among Redwine’s competition: Robert Knowles, Romeo Finley, Amari Carter, Jeff James.

• Richt said right tackle Navaughn Donaldson got work with the first team because he wanted to mix youth and experience. He didn’t want to pair early enrollees Donaldson and Zach Dykstra on the same side of the line.

• Count Kc McDermott among those impressed with Donaldson.

McDermott and Trevor Darling were the first-team tackles on Tuesday, with Tyree St. Louis and Donaldson at guard. Tyler Gauthier was at center, with Linder still out.

“Right now, we've got 7 guys that can play,” McDermott said. “We actually have eight. It helps the competition level a lot.”

• Sophomore-to-be Patrick Bethel, who received some playing time at defensive end last year, is now also working at tackle.

Defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski “wants to cross train some of those ends to play three technique because Courtel [Jenkins] is not here anymore,” Richt said. “You get some attrition.”

Starting defensive tackle Richard McIntosh said Bethel is asking me a lot of questions, how to take on double teams. He is going to get it quickly. He's coachable.”

• Backup tight end remains a concern behind new starter Chris Herndon.

“I have to help the young guys get acclimated and bring them along,” Herndon said. “It will be a lot of leadership. both Mike [Irvin] and Jovani [Haskins] are eager. We're always watching film. They're eager to get better and learn. [Early enrollee] Brian polendey is a hard worker.”

• NFL/UM notes: Former Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, now with the Cincinnati Bengals, gave a private workout to Brad Kaaya... Tampa Bay’s tight ends coach gave a private workout to David Njoku on Monday.

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