On Thursday the Canes held their first official practice of the year. Although the media could only watch for the first 15 minutes, there were some notable differences.
1) New Practice Jerseys
- From first glance, all anyone could notice were the crispy white adidas cleats. Miami is now part of the "three stripe life," and it looked good from day 1. The offense wore orange jerseys and the defense wore black jerseys, which more than proves fans expectations about an alternate black game day jersey. Lastly on the practice unis, you might have noticed that there isn't a "__" sticker on the helmet. No, this isn's some "Remember the Titans" cliche move where you need to earnthe U, the stickers have likely just not been put on the helmets. As simple as that.
2) Injured players no more
-Last year Miami took two huge blows before the season with the losses of Rayshawn Jenkins (back) and Rashawn Scott (clavicle,) and one near the end of the season with Deon Bush (Hamstring.) All three players, however, were accounted for and seemed 100% healthy. Although the media wasn't able to speak with Rayshawn Jenkins today, both Scott and Bush seem optimistic about this season.
- Scott was the last player to speak to reporters, but he mentioned how tough it was to simply sit and watch.
"I missed it every day," said Scott, "but I can't miss it now, I'm back out there." Scott has missed the last couple years with clavicle injuries, but he feels as though it's his time now, especially because of his strong connection with QB Brad Kaaya.
"Me and him are best friends," said Scott "We hang out a lot, he lives right down the street."
Expect Scott to be the leading receiver on this team. Earlier this year I briefly spoke with now Indianapolis Colts WR Phillip Dorsett about Scott, and he believes he will be the guy to step up next.
I asked Scott about what went wrong with Stacy Coley last year as well. He doesn't know exactly what happened, but does know that it won't happen again.
"This year I aint gonna let him drop like that," said Scott. "This year I'm gonna push him myself since I'm out there and not watching."
- As for Deon Bush, last year he was having one of the best seasons out of any safety in the country, until he missed out on the last two games of the season due to injury. Bush said that he feels better than he's ever felt before in his life, and he believes this is the tightest group of players he's been around over the course of the last four years.
After last year's major mishaps on defense, the Miami Herald spoke to a former defensive player who said the defensive scheme was a bit too complicated. I asked Bush if the scheme seemed a bit too complicated, here's what he had to say.
3) Demetrius Jackson is ready to step up
The redshirt freshman from Booker T has upped his weight since last year. Jackson said he feels like he can do the same stuff he did in highschool, run the same way with his weight. As for the expectations towards the season, a reporter asked Jackson if he feels as though it's his time, Jackson's response was one his teammates would be proud of.
"I feel like it's our time, the team's time, that's what we've been emphasizing, team team team, what's gonna happen is gonna happen."
Jackson also mentioned himself as one of the leaders of this team.
"Even though I don't have that much experience playing, I do have wisdom," said Jackson. "I know what to say, we all from tough neighborhoods and in football that translates."
4) Side Notes
- Raphael Kirby said the main reason for this team gelling so much this season has been the bonding off the field. Players are constantly with each other whether it's paint balling, at the beach, anything.
- Braxton Berrios raved about WR coach Kevin Beard.
"It's amazing the short amount of time he's had us and what we've learned." "He's a football coach on the field and a life coach off the field, he's just a mentor when we need him to be. He knows what we're going through and when we need him he's there."
- Mark Walton is no longer wearing No. 4 jersey, but instead he is No. 1.
- Kendrick Norton (bigger than I expected) and Chad Thomas work D-Line Drills
- Joe Yearby (who's gotten much bigger since last year) and sleeper RB Colin Alford.
- #FutureHive is in the building