Barry Jackson

A big change for next Orange Bowl game. And UM player experimenting in new role

A quick six-pack of Hurricanes and college football notes:

The Orange Bowl has either started or finished at night every year since 1965.

But Orange Bowl CEO Eric Poms said next season’s game will be an early afternoon start (exact time TBA) on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, preceding the Rose Bowl.

He said it will be the only time the OB will start during the day in the next few years.

One tweak under new defensive coordinator Blake Baker: UM — which has only four scholarship corners this spring and six overall — has been using safety Amari Carter as a slot corner in nickel situations, a role that needs to be filled.

“Amari is such a good dime [cornerback], such a good blitzer, has such a good feel for underneath coverage,” Baker said. “That’s kind of how it’s evolved.”

And striker Romeo Finley, UM’s most improved player last year, has been moving to safety on third downs.

“It kind of came to fruition with a couple guys banged up,” Baker said. “In our third-down package, we’re putting him at safety. He’s played that position before. But he’s doing some good things back there. Any time you get an opportunity, make the most of it. We’ll see what comes of it.”

UM wants ballyhooed defensive tackle prospect Nesta Silvera to play with more of an evenness. He has a tendency to do demonstrative things after every play he makes in practice, such as pointing at someone, or some other display. The level of performance hasn’t matched the bravado, but he has been getting second-team work after opening spring on the third team.

“He’s becoming more coachable,” Baker said. “You can’t come out here and fight every single snap. All that does is hurt us on Saturdays….

“He’s everything you want in a defensive tackle. We’ve got to work on some hand placement, but he’s doing some really good things. I think he’s trying to do exactly what we want him to do.”

We hear receiver Brian Hightower has looked good in spring practice, using his size more to make plays and becoming more dependable.

But it remains hit-and-miss with Mark Pope, who has mixed catches with drops this spring. His route running still seems shaky to one practice observer.

And from what we hear, receiver Evidence Njoku needs to play with more urgency.

Draft-eligible cornerback Michael Jackson, a likely third-day pick, said some teams are looking at him as a safety.

“I’m 210, but I can move,” he said. “A lot of guys felt I was this stiff guy, slow. I just told them, ‘I came to Miami. You can’t be stiff and slow and play.’ I just proved to guys I can move with this 210. I moved good for any type of person, not just a little guy. When they tell me, ‘I move pretty good for a big guy,’ I take that as an insult because they wouldn’t tell a small guy they move well.”

Why did guard Venzell Boulware leave UM and turn pro (he might not even be drafted) when the Canes could have used him?

Because Boulware has already graduated and financial issues came into play.

“It was personal circumstances,” he said. “Manny Diaz tried to get me to stay. I think I will be drafted.”

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