Barry Jackson

UM sits several freshmen, keep alive redshirt chance. And some playing time changes

A 10-pack of UM notes on a Wednesday:

Against Virginia Tech on Saturday, UM held out several freshmen who had been playing in previous games.

And if that’s being done to keep alive redshirt possibilities, that’s a smart decision that could pay dividends down the road.

Freshmen tight end/H-back Larry Hodges, who impressed coaches in the previous two games, didn’t play at all against Virginia Tech. He has played in three games, according to UM; players lose the opportunity to redshirt if they appear in more than four.

An extra year of Hodges would be helpful; there’s no reason he can’t develop into a multiskilled Chris Herndon-type player here. But it’s certainly possible Miami might need him this season.

Other freshmen who had been playing in recent weeks but didn’t against Virginia Tech, according to UM: conerback T’Cory Couch (is at the maximum four games played; another appearance would lose his redshirt possibility); linebacker Sam Brooks (has appeared in two games); defensive end Jahfari Harvey (played in three games); and receiver Jeremiah Payton (appeared in two games).

Having each of them for an extra year would be helpful, though Couch and Brooks might be needed more this season.

Several freshmen are on track to redshirt, including safety Keontra Smith and defensive tackles Jared Harrison Hunte, Jason Blissett and Jalar Holley.

Freshman cornerback Christian Williams will not redshirt; he has appeared in five games, mostly on special teams.

There’s a lot to admire about linebacker Shaq Quarterman — his work ethic, leadership skills, diligence, his impressive on-field contributions in four years here and his mature decision to return for his senior season. But this has been an uneven year for the linebacker.

Read Next

Quarterman still is playing well against the run and had a career-high 14 tackles against Central Michigan. But his goal to improve in pass coverage hasn’t materialized. According to numbers compiled by Herald metrics correspondent Daniel Gould, Quarterman has been targeted 10 times in coverage this season and has allowed nine completions for 126 yards.

The low point was Saturday’s loss to Virginia Tech, when he permitted tight end Dalton Keene to shake free for two touchdowns. UM naturally won’t disclose who was responsible for Keene’s three touchdowns. But Gould, who analyzes every play, said it appears Quarterman was responsible in coverage for two of Keene’s sizable catch-and-run touchdowns.

Quarterman has four tackles for loss and one sack this season; last season, he had 14 and 5, respectively.

Per Gould, Virginia Tech averaged 0.8 yards per play on defensive tackle Jordan Miller’s 19 snaps. No wonder defensive tackle Blake Baker raved about Miller and Nesta Silvera, who also played 19 snaps in his season debut on Saturday.

This went under the radar, but defensive end Scott Patchan’s playing time decreased significantly Saturday (to 17 defensive snaps, per Gould). He had played 46 against Central Michigan.

Trevon Hill (38 snaps) was the recipient of much of the playing time that had gone to Patchan, with Greg Rousseau again limited to 22 snaps.

Safety Bubba Bolden played 21 snaps in his UM debut but was victimized for a 67-yard completion on the only pass thrown against him.

At receiver, Jeff Thomas was third in snaps (45) against the Hokies, behind K.J. Osborn’s 56 and Mike Harley’s 52. Those three were followed by Dee Wiggins (26), Mark Pope (24) and Brian Hightower (20). UM is finding a way to incorporate six receivers, which can be challenging. Tate Martell played only two snaps.

Walk-on Mike Parrott has beaten out Realus George at fullback and got seven snaps against the Hokies.

A few interesting red zone notes from Gould: Offensive coordinator Dan Enos’ red zone TD percentage, as offensive coordinator at Arkansas, was 68 percent. It’s 58 percent so far at UM… And Miami’s red zone TD percentage on defense has dropped to a disappointing 68.8 percent (11 TDs in 16 trips). That’s much worse than 51.3 percent in 2016, 54.8 in 2017 and 48.7 in 2018.

This makes sense because of the way DeeJay Dallas and Brevin Jordan are playing: The gap in playing time between those two and their well-regarded backups continues to expand. Against Virginia Tech, Dallas played 60 snaps and Cam’Ron Harris 22. Jordan, meanwhile, played 59 snaps, while Will Mallory played 30 and Michael Irvin Jr. 8.

On passes thrown at least 20 yards in the air, Jarren Williams is just 4 for 14 for 135 yards this season with one touchdown and one interception. Conversely, N’Kosi Perry was 5 for 10 for 181 yards and two touchdowns on those 20-plus yard passes in his season debut against the Hokies.

That could work to UM’s advantage in Friday’s game against Virginia

Related stories from Miami Herald