Barry Jackson

UM’s Perry “looks like a natural”

A quick six-pack of Canes notes:

• It’s too early to tell how much of a factor N’Kosi Perry will be in the UM quarterback competition this summer.

After all, the ballyhooed Perry just arrived a couple of weeks ago from Ocala Vanguard.

But early impressions – very early – have been positive, according to teammates.

“He’s very athletic,” quarterback Evan Shirreffs said Thursday during a UM community service event at Tucker Elementary in Coconut Grove. “He looks like a natural out there. He’s got a great arm. He’s a really nice kid, too. I have an acting class with him. It’s pretty funny. He looks really good. He’s got some nice touch. I like watching him throw. He’s getting the playbook.”

Does Shirreffs see him being a viable contender to start?

“Yeah, I certainly think all the quarterbacks on the roster could end up being the starter,” he said. “It’s who’s willing to put in the work and work on their consistency.”

Running back Travis Homer said “I saw some nice passes” from Perry.

For the record, UM expects Perry to seriously compete for the job. But nobody will know his chances until organized practices.

This is what quarterbacks coach Jon Richt has said about Perry: “The dude can make a lot of plays when plays break down. He's an X factor when he's out there. Shows remarkable touch, unbelievable arm strength. He has this thing coach [Bobby] Bowden used to say: He gets guys the ball. He's not always going to make the most perfect pass. He can make coaches look smarter than they are.

“If you go back to Florida State, [Mark Richt] had Charlie Ward. This kid reminds us of Charlie. He can make plays with his feet. That's how we'll use him. He's a guy that can really throw the ball. I don't want to understate how well a passer he is.”

Players organized their first player-run voluntary practice on Wednesday, and Shirreffs said it went well.

• Shirreffs said it’s his understanding that he and Malik Rosier are even, and ahead, in the battle for the starting job.

“I think it’s still how it was during the spring, with me and Malik, and then everyone else still competing,” Shirreffs said.

• Shirreffs has been impressed with freshmen receivers Jeff Thomas and Mike Harley.

“Both are them are just real smooth,” he said.

And of DeeJay Dallas, who arrived in the spring, Shirreffs said: “I certainly think he can be a big part of the offense this year. It really benefitted him coming in early, because he played quarterback in high school. Getting used to the playbook he’s a few months ahead of the other guys.”

• Travis Homer said winning the No. 2 running back job is meaningful to him - he’s the front-runner for the job - and didn’t take issue with Richt’s tweet encouraging grad transfers to come here.

“Just another way to get more players on the team,” Homer said of Richt’s tweet. “Why not? Some coaches are going to be like, Why did he do that? Like it’s a joke. But if you want players, you get all the resources he can.”

By the way, both Robert Burns and Trayone Gray are expected back by August camp. “Robert Burns is getting better; I haven’t seen him run around yet,” Homer said.

UM remains optimistic Burns will be able to help this season.

• Homer met with offensive coordinator Thomas Brown after the season and “we went over what he thought my positives and negatives were.”

One area he must work on: “Reading the defense faster is big for me. I want to be able to read it real fast and get out if I want to get out.”

Though he’s known for his speed, Homer’s toughness shouldn’t be underestimated. He runs hard and broke tackles at times in closed practices.

“They can question what they want,” he said. “I can be physical when I need to.”

• NFL rookie and former Cane Justin Vogel appears on track to winning the Packers punting job. Green Bay today cut veteran Jacob Schum. Zach Feagles is expected to replace Vogel as UM’s punter.

Here’s my six-pack of Dolphins notes today, including news on Ryan Tannehill and practice news and views.