Barry Jackson

What we’re hearing from UM’s closed scrimmage on Sunday night

What we’re hearing from someone in attendance at UM’s closed scrimmage at St. Brendan High in Miami on Sunday night:

▪ N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams each threw an interception, and both were caught by impressive young safety Gurvan Hall. Perry’s pick was off a deflection, but the ball was thrown into heavy traffic, and Hall returned it for a touchdown.

Williams’ interception came when he threw the ball deep and Hall made a play on it.

▪ That wasn’t Perry’s only turnover Sunday. The ball fell out of Perry’s hands when he cocked his arm to throw it, resulting in a fumble.

One UM official said the big concern with Perry remains his penchant for turnovers, which was an issue last season and at times in practice last week.

If not for the turnovers, he might be clearly leading the competition. Then again, without the iceberg, the Titanic might have been a delightful cruise.

Nonetheless, Perry remains firmly in the starting race, and he did some nice things Sunday, including a few nifty touch passes and two really nice runs. He’s generally processing defenses better than a year ago.

▪ One observer thought Williams was narrowly the best Sunday but that it wasn’t clear cut and nobody has taken command of this QB battle. Besides the pick to Hall, Williams threw a couple of other passes that were near interceptions.

But the UM person said Williams showed good command of the offense and led a couple of long drives. Williams, like Perry, appears more serious and diligent about what’s expected of him than a year ago.

▪ Martell had the cleanest scrimmage in terms of not committing a turnover but was sacked a half dozen times and looked tentative when the pocket collapsed, the official said.

Martell had some success throwing underneath but didn’t do a lot of damage downfield. He gained decent yards on designed runs, but Greg Rousseau flustered him and was often in his face.

Martell and Williams both ran for touchdowns.

▪ UM hopes to determine a starter after next weekend’s scrimmage, and unless someone really emerges this week, this is going to be a very difficult call because there’s no clear-cut magic solution among the three, though all have their strengths and all have had their moments.

Manny Diaz said the quarterbacks evenly shared first- and second-team snaps in the scrimmage.

▪ Overall, the defense had the upper hand Sunday, which wasn’t surprising. UM’s defense could be among the top quarter in the country at the very least. Conversely, the offense still has a lot of question marks, not only at quarterback but with a line featuring only one starter with a lot of starting experience.

▪ The official said Rousseau was exceptional Sunday,with at least three sacks. Hall had a sack, and Shaq Quarterman and Mike Pinckney were among other defenders who were impactful.

And besides Hall, Manny Diaz singled out Amari Carter, Derrick Smith and Rob Knowles during his appearance Monday with WQAM’s Joe Rose.

▪ The UM official described offensive coordinator Dan Enos as agitated by several things, including the pass protection issues and penalties for false starts and delay of game.

▪ There was initially considerable concern after running back Cam’Ron Harris sustained what appeared to be a knee injury. Harris needed to be helped off but was walking OK by the end of the night. UM hasn’t publicly addressed injuries from the scrimmage.

▪ Freshman receiver Jeremiah Payton had a couple of nice catches and continues to impress. Mike Harley Jr. had a long gain on a catch down the sidelines.

▪ DeeJay Dallas had a touchdown on a swing pass.

▪ Look for this staff to maximize Jeff Thomas’ explosiveness. He had a sizable gain on a jet sweep.

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