UM Quarterback Tate Martell Comments on Starting Quarterback Position
A quick six-pack of notes from UM media day:
▪ Coach Manny Diaz said he emerged from his conversation with Tate Martell under the impression that Martell plans to stay with the program after losing out to Jarren Williams in his bid to be the starting quarterback.
Martell did not participate in practice Monday, as 247sports reported, but did rejoin the team since that point. N’Kosi Perry, who also lost out in his bid to start, also remains with the team.
Safety Bubba Bolden, a former teammate of Martell at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, spoke to Martell since the quarterback decision and said Martell intends to remain at UM and has no intention of transferring.
“He’s good,” Bolden said. “He was down a little bit, but he came back and he talked to us. He was just like, ‘I’m trying to win games. I’m trying to do anything I can to contribute to the team.’
‘’He wants to be the best. He’s a competitor. That’s his nature. If he goes down on the depth chart it’s going to get to him a little bit, but he’s always here to work.”
Tight end Brevin Jordan, who also attended Bishop Gorman with Martell, said Martell was in good spirits.
“He’s good,” Jordan said. “He knows he’s going to play a big role for us this year. He’s a competitive guy. He’ll be good. He’ll be at practice today. ... He was definitely a little hurt about it because he’s such a competitive guy. He works his tail off. ... He puts in the extra work. He knows the playbook in and out. ...
“Him not getting the spot, it hurt him a little bit because he’s a competitive guy, but he knows he’s going to play a big role for us.
“Kosi is in good spirit, too. All the quarterbacks are real good friends. It’s not like anything is getting in between any of them. All three of them are going to play big roles for us this year.”
Martell and Perry were not made available to reporters during the team’s media day on Tuesday. Diaz said he hopes both remain with the program.
“We told them we felt it was too close to call for who the backup would be,” Diaz said. “I know it’s the old story, but you’re a snap away.”
Diaz was asked if he could have a package for Martell, as Ohio State did. Diaz was noncommittal.
“Whatever it takes to get yards and get points, we’re not opposed to anything,” he said when posed that question.
▪ Regarding the decision to name Williams the quarterback, Diaz said the decision was made Sunday.
“[Offensive coordinator] Dan Enos and I never spoke about who the front-runner was until this past weekend because we didn’t want any moment to create a bias,” Diaz said. “Points in the year we could have thought it was a different guy, but we’ve been consistent on what would be the measuring stick.
“I felt we could have gone in any of the three directions, just Jarren has a little bit of an instinct of where to go with the ball and a feel for the game that’s a little bit different than the other two at this moment,” Diaz said. “That might have been the deciding factor.”
Diaz also said Williams scored an 88 percent on his decision-making in the scrimmage, which also helped him. “Jarren by far on Saturday was the best guy at that,” Diaz said.
The most pleasant surprise about Williams from the past three weeks of practice? His ability to extend plays, something Enos didn’t necessarily know he had in him.
▪ Asked about linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Mike Pinckney returning for their senior seasons, Diaz said both players want their name on the practice field wall of UM greats.
And when they were told their NFL Draft chances this year, Diaz told them “`Don’t settle, don’t take good.’ They realized where they’d be slotted that they can do better than that.”
▪ Here’s what Diaz wants to see against UF: “Will we compete, can we compete, play like Miami Hurricanes and sustain that for 60 minutes with our attitude, demeanor, toughness, all those non-negotiables? I really want to see how we respond to adversity.
“In a tight game vs. LSU last year, they popped a touchdown run and [we] responded very poorly, played the next 20 minutes as bad as all season. Spoiler alert: something bad will happen.
“I want to see a team that if something bad happens, and something bad will happen, that we can respond and get off the mat and right back in the game. That’s been a big point of our offseason.”
▪ John Campbell said he took first-team snaps at right tackle in Saturday’s scrimmage and remained in that position in practice on Monday. Campbell has been competing with Kai-Leon Herbert for that right tackle job.
Several other jobs remain open, including positions three through five among receivers. K.J. Osborn and Jeff Thomas assuredly will play, but the three others in the rotation are to be determined.
▪ Defensive coordinator Blake Baker said the starting defensive line group appears set, with Jon Garvin and Scott Patchan at end and Pat Bethel and Jon Ford at tackle.
Trevon Hill and Greg Rousseau are the third and fourth ends, Chigozie Nnorukua the No. 3 tackle.