With every spring game comes a swarm of over reaction. Why is there over reaction? Because it's the first time fans and media get to witness an actual "game" since late December. Yes, the media was allowed to view the second scrimmage of spring practice, but this is different, there's no real explanation, but it's different.
The one piece of over reaction came at the expense of WR Rashawn Scott. On two of Brad Kaaya's three picks of the game, the ball brushed through Scott's hands and into the hands of safety Jamal Carter. The immediate reaction came not on Artie Burns' terrific coverage on both plays nor on Carter's acrobatic interceptions, but on the fact that Scott "dropped" two balls in a practice game.
Offensive Coordinator James Coley didn't pay much attention to it, chuckling it off saying "you just gotta catch the ball," but the Twitterverse made it seem as if it was a real game. That's why this game is held. At the end of the day, "We talkin bout practice!"
Everyone loves offense, it's exciting, it scores points, it has flashy players who are praised and criticized for every little detail. But the stars of the first half played on defense.
1) Jamal Carter
As mentioned before, Jamal Carter was a savage on the field racking up two athletic interceptions, and some phenomenal open field tackles as well, including this one on WR Herb Waters
After the game Defensive Coordinator Mark D'Onofrio had high praise for Carter, saying he was having a great spring.
"He's around the football, which is great," said D'Onofrio. "He's had an excellent spring, excellent, he's gotten great with the scheme."
Carter had some extra motivation from the sidelines with his family and his son Rico cheering him on. My exclusive interview with Carter will be published tomorrow.
2) Artie Burns
- Another player who wasn't mentioned as much as he should have was Artie Burns. The junior DB was all over Rashawn Scott throughout the game. On both interceptions Burns made it nearly impossible for Scott to catch the ball. Granted, the first pick did bounce off his hands, but Burns had him wrapped up excellently. And when Scott did catch the ball, Burns was immediately there to make the play, such as this fourth down situation.
- On this play, Kaaya is looking for Scott on a hook route, but Burns has it covered all the way
3) Offensive line
There is no hiding behind the fact that Miami is struggling at the line. Should this be a position fans should over react about? Yes. The Hurricanes are losing three starters to the draft and are still awaiting their best current offensive lineman, Taylor Gadbois, to come back healthy.
All of Miami saw what happened at the end of last season when the offensive line literally fell apart against UVA and PITT, there is no telling what could happen to Brad Kaaya, let alone 5'9" 195lb Joe Yearby if this O-Line doesn't mesh.
In today's spring game, Gus Edwards and Trayone Gray had no push up front. No amount of speed gave these running backs the ability to bounce outside because Jermaine Grace, AQM and even Michael Wyche were causing havoc running through the line.
**Joe Yearby did not play for violating team rules.
**Video highlights demonstrating these "quick sand" feet from the O-Line, as Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post would say, will be revealed tomorrow.
4) Brad Kaaya
"The kid" threw four interceptions, but there is absolutely no need to worry.
- The playbook used for the spring game was only a small fraction of the actual spring game
- Two of Kaaya's picks were catchable. The second one that brushed off the finger tips of Scott was only high because the offensive line gave up too much pressure.
- On his third pick, all four wideouts went deep and the defense dropped back, not much he could've done there to avoid it.
Kaaya did however lead this offense back in the second half to make things close. The offense would've taken a lead late, but Standish Dobard dropped a would-be touchdown. The tight end seemed frustrated with himself afterwards.
5) Other standouts
- Malik Rosier kick started the offensive run in the second half with a drive that ended in a 4-yard touchdown to Braxton Berrios. Those two were trying to connect with each other for most of the game. Malik did not play in the role he will be playing come fall. Kaaya and him both played the same pro-style offense.
- Michael Wyche had a couple of big plays that were never seen last season. He exploded off the line a couple times for big-time tackles. But it wasn't his strength, it was his feet that led him to make those plays. He was able to pull away from the center multiple times, including one play where he got hyped after a two-yard loss. **That play will be included in tomorrow's highlights.
- Malcolm Lewis and Stacy Coley both were aggressive when getting the ball, especially Coley, who had a a couple plays go 25 yards +. Rashawn Scott, although bombarded on Twitter throughout the day, made some impressive catches in traffic, which will also be in tomorrow's video.