‘The moment is never too big for me,’ Jarren Williams said.
A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday night:
▪ Because UM has two other talented quarterbacks on the roster (N’Kosi Perry and Tate Martell), will Jarren Williams have a short leash as the starter?
Absolutely not, offensive coordinator Dan Enos insists. And Enos said that message has been conveyed to Williams.
“He’s our starter; I don’t think there’s a short window,” Enos said. “That’s a bad way to go into a relationship [saying], ‘You’re the starter until you do that [mess up].’ Jarren has earned the job and has our full support. By no means do we think he’s going to play perfectly. He’s not going to.
“But the guy isn’t going to play well if he’s looking over his shoulder all the time. We don’t want him to do that. We’ve told him he doesn’t have to do that. We’re going to ride him and give him all the support we can to help so he can be successful.
“He’s an excellent passer, very accurate, good touch, great arm strength, very good mobility. I underrated his ability to move and extend plays. He’s a smart guy. He’s going to continue to get better. I think he has a very high ceiling. He’s tough and competitive and has earned the respect of his teammates.”
▪ With UM and UF set to play Aug. 24 in Orlando, could a regular football series with the Gators be around the corner?
UM athletic director Blake James tweeted Wednesday: “Big news regarding @CanesFootball future schedule coming next Tuesday!”
In an email exchange, James declined to say if this will be an announcement of a more regular series with Gators; regardless, he doesn’t want to spoil any announcement. But James has been pushing for more frequent games with UF, and Gators coach Dan Mullen has said he’s open to it. An announcement in the days before UM-UF would make sense.
The Orlando Sentinel reported the “two schools are in discussions and may soon announce a home-and-home series to begin in the near future, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.”
Gambling guru Lee Sterling said UF is a seven-point favorite in the game in 34 Las Vegas offshore sports books and Las Vegas sportsbooks. The line opened at 7 1/2, dropped to 7 and then to 6 1/2 but now is up to seven because Miami is starting an inexperienced quarterback; the public has a greater knowledge of Tate Martell.
The total (points scored) has dropped from 50.5 to 47.5. Oddsmakers “don’t think either offense will do much in this game,” Sterling said.
▪ Getting back to QB talk... Enos said the “key now for Jarren is to maintain the chip on his shoulder and sense of urgency he had every day [when he was trying] to try to win the job, and not get complacent and relax at all because that’s not what got him the job. That’s what I told him; the hard part starts now.
“Now that he’s been named the starter, he has to do a really good job of encouraging his teammates, not only on offense, but defense, everybody, getting to know him better. Establish himself as a leader. If someone is not doing something to the standard we need to do it, he needs to address it a little bit himself and be a little more vocal. I think he’ll do that.”
▪ While UM can expect to have a very good defense, there’s far less certainty with the offense not only because of last year’s struggles but because of inexperience at quarterback and the offensive line. What does Enos expect?
“I think it can be very good,” he said. “We’re very, very young offensively --- quarterback, offensive line, tight end. Our guys have responded. They’re getting better at fundamental details [and] I think we have a chance to be very good offensively.
“We have to find out who our playmakers are going to be. If we can stay balanced and establish a good core running game, that will make everything easier. Coach [Butch] Barry has done a tremendous job with the offensive line; I’ve seen drastic improvements in that area. Our tight ends are playing well. We’ve got some backs that will be very good. Our wideouts are exciting. I think this will be a group that will compete and get better week 1 to week 2 to week 12.”
▪ What players should break out this year?
Senior linebacker Shaquille Quarterman mentioned three on offense --- KJ Osborn (“came in and done everything to be a solid player for us and he’s definitely gifted”); DeeJay Dallas, who to a large extent has already broken out (“stepped up to the No. 1 back now; he’ll definitely have a big year”) and tight end Will Mallory.
“My guy, pretty Will, that’s what I call him, I see him having a great year, along with him Brevin Jordan, back being healthy,” Quarterman said, adding that he calls Mallory “pretty Will” because he’s “super cool.”
▪ Defensively, Quarterman cites five players ready to break out: safeties Amari Carter and Gurvan Hall, cornerbacks Al Blades Jr. and DJ Ivey and defensive tackle Jon Ford.
“Even losing Sheldrick [Redwine] and Jaquan [Johnson], I don’t think there’s much of a falloff, if any, with the guys we have back there,” Quarterman said. “You have Amari, Gurvan - who’s rangy - a vet like Trajan Bandy coming back and two very good corners in Al Blades and DJ Ivey. Very solid. People think we’re untested [in the defensive backfield, aside from Bandy], but they’ve been doing a great job. They’ve all gotten better.”
And Quarterman said Ford - who’s starting at defensive tackle alongside Pat Bethel - “understands it’s his time to shine. He’s been doing everything he’s been needing to do where it’s time for him to flourish. I think he will. I think he wants it. When he’s inspired, he’s a great player.”
Here’s my Wednesday piece with some telling quotes from Mark Pope and Lorenzo Lingard, UM’s two Rivals five-star players on the roster, and where each stands.
Here’s my Wednesday six-pack of Heat notes, including an interesting prospect summoned to team headquarters, Stan Van Gundy’s new job and other things.