As the first quarter of 2017 is now in the rearview mirror, the Hurricanes finished their ninth spring practice session this past Saturday – which included a full contact scrimmage.
Here are musings from the weekend practice and things to watch for this week:
There were two main narratives from Saturday’s scrimmage: the first being quarterback play.
> On the Tuesday prior to the scrimmage, Canes head coach Mark Richt said that he planned on allowing defenders to have full contact with the quarterbacks to see “how they would respond to pressure and how they would react after getting hit”.
Richt and other coaches hemmed and hawed about whether the quarterbacks would wear their “protective” red non-contact jerseys during the scrimmage through Thursday’s practice session, but they elected to make it full contact.
> Reports surfaced Saturday afternoon that redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Allison sustained a right shoulder injury during the scrimmage. It was said that Allison “mildly separated” his throwing shoulder when a defender took him to the ground on a rollout pass.
> Personal sources confirmed that Allison did suffer the injury, but said that it didn’t appear to be too serious.
Richt told reporters after the scrimmage that he would confer with team doctors about Allison’s status moving forward.
Richt also confirmed the early enrollee freshman quarterback Cade Weldon did not participate in the scrimmage Saturday…“I didn’t think Cade was ready so I didn’t give him any reps today. Next scrimmage he will get reps. I didn’t think he was ready for the moment yet.”
> Sources confirmed that it was redshirt junior Malik Rosier and sophomore Evan Shirreffs that took reps with the No. 1 offense during the scrimmage.
> Beyond the Allison injury, the other narrative from the closed scrimmage was the play of the Hurricanes defense.
Richt told reporters that the defense had “between four to eight sacks” and that the defense was impressive early in the scrimmage because of “self-inflicted wounds on offense and just defense smothering them up, once they started smelling the blood.”
Miami’s defense – specifically its front seven – remains the strongest part of the team. The defensive line has a mix of experience and youth – personified by senior defensive end Chad Thomas and sophomore Joe Jackson, who had a stellar freshman campaign. Add in defensive tackles R.J. McIntosh and Kendrick Norton along with rotational players like Demetrius Jackson and Gerald Willis, and it is hard to find a deeper or more talented group on the roster.
> Also, another player that has received praise from coaches is freshman athlete DeeJay Dallas. The early enrollee from Brunswick, Georgia has been lauded for his explosiveness as a slot receiver and kick returner. Somewhat of a “jack of all trades”, Dallas can – and probably will – contribute right away this fall because of his versatility. The majority of his work this spring has been at wide receiver, but he could also work as a defensive back and will definitely contribute on special teams.
> One thing that has gotten Miami Hurricanes fans excited is how well Richt and company have done in recruiting.
The Canes currently have the No. 1 recruiting class for 2018 – holding 15 verbal commits, nine of which being 4-star prospects.
Also included in that class is 5-star running back Lorenzo Lingard from Orange City, Florida’s University High School.
The 6-foot, 190-pound Lingard made his pledge to the Canes back in February and is rated as the No. 2 overall running back in the 2018 class and the 17th best player.
Lingard, who rushed for nearly 1,500 yards and 22 touchdowns during his junior year of high school, is scheduled to join Larry Blustein and J.T. Wilcox on the SFHSSports Radio Show on Miami Sports Radio 560 Monday night at 9 p.m.