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Miami Football Spring Game Postgame Quotes

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Courtesy UM

Mark Richt, Head Coach
Opening statement…
“Well, that’s it for spring ball 2016, Miami-style. It was a lot of fun. When I look at it in totality, I really enjoyed working with these young men, just a really, really fantastic group. Worked hard, didn’t bow their neck at anything, they took the coaching, they took the guidance. They’re trying to become what we’re asking them to become. I thought the coaches did a nice job all the way around. Just pleased, got a lot of work to do and got a long way to go, but when you just look at a group of young men who just had a brand new staff and a brand new system and all the things going on, I think they did a really good job. Today, like most spring games, like most scrimmages, there were certainly some real highlights for both sides of the ball, and usually a highlight for one side of the ball is probably a lowlight for the other side of the ball, so it’s kind of hard to judge it. The good news is, Miami won today, [Laughter] but overall I thought it was a pretty good day. There were some disappointing things that happened here and there, but again, overall we got good work. I thought at the very end we looked pretty gassed, and we were. We really, basically, ran out of skill people. We really had just one-deep on both sides of the ball—offensively for the most part—and those guys really got more reps than I wanted them to get. That’s why we ran the third quarter [clock], just let it run. Fourth quarter, I wanted to get a possible one-minute drill at the end. We just need work at that and I wanted Brad [Kaaya] to get that, if at all possible, which he did, and he did a nice of finishing with a TD pass. Actually, [earlier on] he threw his first pick of the whole spring, when it comes to scrimmages and the game, of course. He tried to back to back shoulder throw one . . . Beautiful play by Corn [Elder], but overall I thought Brad had a really good spring. The other guys are really difficult to judge, especially today. There was just such a lack of guys who were able to make plays out there, quite frankly. They were working hard and all that, but I thought the defense—I thought the DB’s kind of swallowed up the second unit of receivers. But I will say, those guys, we couldn’t make it without them, and they had some really good days, but today they struggled a little bit, I thought. Overall, couple fourth down stops, which is good for the D, not good for the O. Couple touchdown plays that were good for the offense, so kind of hard to decide where you fall.”

On his sense of what this team will or will not be able to do when they meet back up in July…
“I think our biggest issue is depth, really. When you’re playing two- and three-teams in the fall, you’re always so thin, but if all you have to do is get one team out there, then your depth all of a sudden feels a little bit more comfortable. So, right now, we felt super thin because we got the team split in half and we’re going at a pretty good tempo, not many timeouts, and even when we did it was just to kind of reset and go. [We had a] quick little halftime. It’s hard to say, but I think if we stay healthy and guys take care of business in the offseason, we’ll be okay, but if we get a couple injuries in a couple spots, it would hurt us. We’re not as strong as we need to be as far as numbers.”

On the running backs…
“Just, all spring long, I thought that the top three guys had some really nice days, but ‘Choc’ [Trayone Gray] did some really wonderful things in this spring, too. I think he really elevated himself. He really improved, as well, so I liked what happened with him. Early on it looked like three guys and then he’s really starting to play well, so he’s putting his hat in the ring.”

On what has to happen this summer…
“Well, they’ve got to get in great condition. They’ve got to take care of their academics. They’ve got to behave off the field and those kinds of things. Just, work hard. There’s enough installation on both sides of the ball where they’ll l know what to do. They’ll do [that during the] summer. Nowadays, we’re allowed to be with them a little bit and meet with them and things like that. So, I think starting day one it’ll be a huge difference.”

On the QB’s behind Brad Kaaya…
“Well, like I said, it’s hard to assess. There weren’t many opportunities to have guys open. There weren’t many opportunities to be[able to] stand in the pocket and make a throw. We did have the one really nice drive to start out with Malik [Rosier], which was nice, for that two-unit. After that, it was tough sledding for all of them.”

On cornerback Corn Elder…
“He’s a tough kid. He’s a smart kid. He loves football, he loves this team, loves this University. Very happy that he’s here—I am, he is. I talked to him a little bit about it [and I told him]. . . ‘I’m not saying you’re the leader of the defense yet, but the characteristics that you have are signs of a good leader.’ Hard-working, tough, dependable, taking care of business in school, just being coachable, being teachable, and not being afraid to compete when you’re just a 17-year-old, 18-year-old kid.”

On the many former Miami players here…
“I loved it. We had an event last night and over 300 lettermen, football alums, showed up, which they say was the biggest [we have had for that] and we just enjoyed each other’s company. It’s about camaraderie of being a Cane and it’s also about supporting the young guys. So, we spent a little bit of time with the alums and then we brought our current players in and we mingled a little bit for a good bit, and then we broke bread together. Then we had the awards and then we let the players go. Then we stuck around and just shot the breeze and told war stories. I’m one of them, I sat there all night. I was about the last one to leave. Just had fun talking about old memories and what could be in the future.”

On how the offensive line performed without injured players…
“Not bad. There was a sack here and there. There was a bust up front here and there, but they were bringing nice little blitzes and twists and things of that nature, little line movement up front, which we didn’t handle perfectly. We moved the ball well at times, we ran the ball well at times, we threw the ball well at times. I’m talking about the one-unit. When you get to the second unit, it’s just really tough. It was just tough sledding with that group.”

On if offensive lineman Alex Gall will be back for the season…
“Yes. We don’t think there will be any surgery for him. He’ll be fine in a few weeks.”

On the first unit of the defensive line…
“I don’t know if we really have a first line. I think our first and second lines are like tied for first, for the most part. Maybe on the edges it’s a little bit different, but we are rolling a lot of players and we hope our strength will be in numbers and guys who can play, but guys who can rotate heavily. They had their moments up front on the defensive line. They got some really key stops on some fourth downs and third-and-shorts that I thought was pretty impressive.”

On how much the four incoming wide receivers will play
“They’ll have to play. They’ll have to play for sure. We’re telling them all to get ready to compete and there’s no doubt that those guys will get a boatload of reps. If they can function well, they don’t have missed assignments and they’re not afraid to compete, they’re not afraid to play major college football, then they’ll be in the game because I don’t want to have like we had today where one side of the ball you basically had five skill guys taking every single snap. It’s just not good.”

On the weather…
“I want to say thank you to the weatherman for holding off the weather and allowing us [Laughter], in an 80 percent chance of rain, to finish. We got every day in without getting rained on, so that was nice.”


Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator

On today’s scrimmage…

“I like the way the guys flew around. I thought we were harder to run the ball against than we had been in the previous scrimmages. I think the guys look like they are starting to get it. I think they played more comfortably. If I still had to lobby a compliant for us – it’s the craziest thing – but when we do something good, we just don’t get excited about it. I still want us to play with more passion. I mean the first drive of the game, I think we stopped them on fourth down and the guys walked off like they were going to detention. We’re still trying to get the Canes to play with more passion and get our guys more energized when good things happen, but I think that will come.”

On the game…

“The idea of today was to be a low thinking day. The offense was simple the defenses were simple. We had very few limited calls and played very few coverages, so it was an idea of just go out there and just play. They’re going to try and block us, let’s defeat blocks and let’s tackle. I would say really with the exception of one occasion, I thought our tackling was good and in the back end, I thought we did a good job of getting guys on the ground, so we got a lot of good stuff to evaluate out of today.”

On the play of Quarterman and Pinckney…

“Well they have certainly made a mark and they’ve made a claim for having a role on the football team in the fall.

On the work that goes in after spring ball ends…

“Now a lot of what happens in college football really is determined from when the spring game ends until we resume again in early August with what guys do in the weight room. The jump that the guys make is on their own when we’re not allow to be on the field with them.”

Braxton Berrios, Junior, Wide Receiver
On his connections with quarterback Brad Kaaya…

“Yeah, exactly, it was good to finally feel 100 percent, finally really get back out there. Like you said, we were connecting like we’ve been working on all spring.”

On if he was talking to cornerback Corn Elder about well he was playing offensively…
“It’s been going on all spring, back and forth, back and forth. So it’s kind of like a sign of respect that we both know, like, ‘Okay, you got me. I’m going to come back and get you.’ It was good battling with him all day.”

On how hard the offense has been to learn…
“I’d agree with [Herndon] completely. At first it’s just everything, new formations, new plays, new way of calling everything, new signals. So, once it got into day two, day three, day four, it really started settling down. We did about one install a day. So, it was a quick learn.”


Corn Elder, Senior, Cornerback

On the coaches challenging him to step up and it looking like he did that today…
“Yeah, I always want to be my best. Coach challenged the corners from the last scrimmage. We kind of had an okay scrimmage, but we just wanted to come out today and just prove what we can do.”

On assessing his performance today…
“I think I did pretty well. By far my best scrimmage of the spring, so I think I did pretty well.”

On how much it helps to have a receiver like Braxton Berrios who is making plays on the other side of the ball…
“We go at it every day. Going against some of the best receivers in the country every day, it gets you better.”


Christopher Herndon IV, Junior, Tight End
On his good day today…
“It was just basically falling back on my training. We all worked hard this spring and I was just trying to do my best and show the fans what we’ve been working on so far.”

On finishing his runs when he had the ball and running people over…
“It just happened naturally. Our coach, he’s been emphasizing finishing low and finishing well all spring, so I was just trying to apply it to the game.”

On how hard the offense has been to learn…
“I’d say, at first, it was a bit hectic, but once things slowed down and you started learning it, everything just seemed to come along. So, it’s not bad.”

Brad Kaaya, Junior, Quarterback

On his assessment of spring from an offensive standpoint…

“In the spring, I think it's good in the fact that a lot of the guys match with the system, match with the offense. A lot of the guys improved in the new scheme. I think Braxton got a lot better. I mean as you guys saw today he had a huge day. He's just a guy who's got to be versatile, being able to go outside and inside the slot. The O-Line too. The O-line gotten a lot better. They improved a lot. I'm just getting an a lot more consistent pocket and just some good leisure from the guys up front.”

On how he handled the new offense…

“Pretty well. I thought I did my extra work off the field and just studying my plays and getting involved with stuff. So I think I've mastered it pretty well . Coach Richt did a good job ofcourse in following it with us. He didn't throw too much at us at once. I'm sure down the road when it comes to week to week to week, it'll be more complex game plans and stuff, but so far in the base offense, I think I did a good job of learning it and I think some other guys did too. I think coach Richt and pretty much all the coaching staff on offense did a good job of just installing it for us.”

On when the guys went from learning the system to just doing it…

“I haven't watched enough film in the first scrimmage and I even think we look light years ahead of how I looked and how the offense looked. I think guys are getting better from week to week. I think the point where it kind of just became automatic for us is maybe the week of the first scrimmage. It just kind of became automatic. You have less guys thinking and more guys just playing and reacting and stuff.”


Al-Quadin Muhammad, Redshirt junior, Defensive lineman

On his spring and what he thinks he will be able to achieve in this defense…
“For the most part I felt good.  It’s a good feeling and it’s going to help, not only me, but everybody on the d-line grow. So, it’s great.”

On the veterans stepping up into a leadership role…
“It’s definitely a great feeling, but most importantly, it’s easy to do when everybody is buying in and that’s what we have on our team. We have great guys and everybody is buying in. It’s a great feeling, but it’s not a hard thing to do when a head coach [tells] some of the leaders, ‘We need this. We need that done.’ It’s easy to do when everybody is buying in, so that’s what we have going on. So, it’s an awesome feeling.”


Shaquille Quarterman, Freshman, Linebacker

On how it felt during his first game…
“It felt good getting my first spring game underneath me. It was another learning experience getting to play not just four plays and then having the next defense come, but playing back-to-back. If you get a three and out, you get off the field and if they get a first down, you got to get ready for another set of downs.” 

On the biggest takeaways he had from spring football…
“I think it is the speed of the game. Before I even got to college I was concerned with the level of speed from high school ball to college ball, but I think I got a really good grasp on it, so I’m really just excited for the fall.”

On the defensive leadership award he received…
“It met a lot. First of all to come early and jump into the program the way I have and then to not only do that, but to be chosen as a leader, meant a lot. It’s a humbling award also. You can’t get it and just assume that you have it made. You have to continue to do that because as a leader, you have to continue to lead.”