Barry Jackson

UM corner flashes; elite newcomer needs to get in better shape; Canes notes

Head coach Mark Richt during University of Mami spring practice on Tues., March 21, 2017.
Head coach Mark Richt during University of Mami spring practice on Tues., March 21, 2017. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Tidbits from UM spring football Day 4:

• Three of what likely will be UM’s top four corners haven’t enrolled yet (Dee Delaney, Jhavonta Dean and Trajan Bandy). Malek Young, who’s on campus, also belongs in that group.

Of the others, we hear Michael Jackson has been the best, with Terrence Henley and Ryan Mayes still having much to prove.

Jackson “made some really great plays today,” Mark Richt said. “I was impressed. He had a couple pass interferences too. We’ve got to cut that out. He had an interception on what [could have been] a 30-yard gain.”

• Navaughn Donaldson, who has been running with the first team at right tackle, continues to flash but needs to get in “better shape,” offensive line coach Stacy Searels said.

“Navaughn coming in here has really picked up things quickly,” Searels said. “He’s a very intelligent young man. The thing we have to do is keep getting him in shape and conditioning him, but boy he’s worked his tail off this offseason.”

Searels recalled one play where he “knocks the crap out of a linebacker. It was the wrong linebacker” though.

Searels told him “that’s an outstanding play” but it needs to be against the correct linebacker.

• George Brown, the four-star offensive tackle transfer from LSU, has been running with the second team but “has shown some good things,” Searels said.

• With Nick Linder out, Tyler Gauthier has “done a good job” at center, Searels said.

• Though this line has more depth than last year’s, Searels said Danny Isidora’s leadership is missed. “No one has replaced that. Someone has to make up for losing a really good player.”

• Searels on Zach Dykstra: “He’s probably going to be an inside [guard or center] guy. Zach’s working hard. He’s young. He should still be in high school right now. He’s working hard.”

• Searels said: “We’re not sure exactly where the starting five is. We know we have some guys who are capable of playing, but it’s just getting them in the right spots. I think that’s what spring is for – just to build some continuity. First of all, we have to identify who the best five are and then where do they fit best.”

• Receivers coach Ron Dugans mentioned Darrell Langham as a player who has improved. “He’s gotten quicker, using his hands.”

He said Dionte Mullins still gets tired at times but also has made a lot of contested catches.

• Lawrence Cager, off last year’s major knee surgery, is participating in non-contact parts of practice. Richt said he won’t be involved in contact drills this spring.

“When Cager is running routes and making adjustments to balls that aren’t perfect, he looks like he has no fear back there at all,” Richt said. “He hates his brace. But he needs to wear his brace. Sometimes, guys [off knee surgery] look tentative. He doesn’t look tentative.”

• UM needs to get Braxton Berrios more involved in the offense, considering his ability to make defenders miss. Does Richt agree?

“He will be in the game, so he will get balls thrown to him,” Richt said. “So much is predicated on what the defense does.”

• Richt does not expect running back Trayone Gray, off last year’s knee surgery, will participate in spring practice.

• Richt planned to have lunch Tuesday with the 15 players who will participate in UM’s Pro Day on Wednesday.

For those who wondered about Joseph Yearby’s decision to turn pro, his agents Michael and Jason Katz said there “a lot of interest in Joe” and a bunch of teams have called.

He averaged an impressive 5.4 yards per carry in college, including 6.0 last season.

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