CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The Hurricanes held the first of three #CanesCamp scrimmages Wednesday morning on the Greentree Practice Fields, and head coach Mark Richt was encouraged with the early returns.
Junior quarterback Brad Kaaya, leading Miami's first-team offense against the Hurricanes' second-team defense, finished the day 16-for-19 for 258 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
“I’ve just been really pleased with Brad," Richt said. "Brad has been very, very solid. Today, he was just locked in, taking care of business."
Richt also mentioned tight end David Njoku and running back Joseph Yearby as two players who impressed Wednesday. Njoku totaled 54 yards on three catches, while Yearby had an 18-yard touchdown run.
Not to be outdone, a number of Hurricanes' defensive linemen, including Trent Harris and Chad Thomas, recorded multiple sacks. Ryan Mayes registered the day’s lone interception, returning a pass from Kaaya for a touchdown. The defense also caused two fumbles, both forced by Jaquan Johnson.
Though quarterbacks were not tackled to the ground during the scrimmage, Richt mentioned the tenacity of the defensive line as one of the day's highlights.
“I thought defensively we played the run pretty darn good," Richt said. "The number one defense would have had as many sacks as we recorded [with no tackling] – I think they would have had every one of those. They were really coming off the edge and creating issues for that number two [offensive] line.”
Junior Braxton Berrios linked up with Kaaya in a big way, as the duo connected on a 40-yard touchdown pass on a go route to the corner of the end zone.
Berrios finished the day with three catches for 75 yards.
“One of the blessings is that nobody got banged up," Richt said. "Somebody might have got banged up, but nobody got hurt to the point where they had to come off the field for any reason, which was a huge blessing."
Read on for more from Coach Richt after the first scrimmage of #CanesCamp:
On who stood out in the first scrimmage of #CanesCamp…
“We went ones [first string] versus twos [second string]. Our one offense, when it was all said and done, had a pretty good day. But we had a pick-6, and we had a fumble that could have got us beat. You take the turnovers out, it’s a pretty good day. But you can’t take the turnovers out, unfortunately. Had a couple of dropped balls. [Brad] Kaaya was 16 of 19 – we threw and caught the ball well. I think at least one was a drop, maybe two. The other one was a pick-6. That’s on me, really more than him, to be honest with you. He was throwing a route on rhythm, and I told those guys to throw it no matter what. In practice, we’re not going to lose a game on it. So really, he did exactly what I asked him to do. It turned into a pick-6, so that was on me. Brad was very sharp. The other quarterbacks, I’ve kind of got to watch it. Obviously there were some statistics…but that doesn’t always tell the story, because we grade accuracy over the completion percentage and the decisions that these guys make.
“A few runs spit, not a lot. I thought defensively we played the run pretty darn good. The number one defense would have had as many sacks as we recorded – I think they would have had every one of those. They were really coming off the edge and creating issues for that number two [offensive] line.”
“One of the blessings is that nobody got banged up. Somebody might have got banged up, but nobody got hurt to the point where they had to come off the field for any reason, which was a huge blessing. That’s kind of what I’ll say as far as my observation. The farther away we were, we didn’t really drive the ball well…it’s kind of what tends to happen in the game. On the drives that started on the 50 or 40 [-yard line], the offense did extremely well. ON the drives that started on the other side of the 50, we couldn’t execute well enough to go down the field – whether it was a turnover, or missed assignment, or whatever it may be. We did do some situations – third-and-medium and third-and-long. The ones on each side of the ball won the drill, in my opinion – one offense did well, the one defense did well. We let the threes [third string] rep. We let the threes get reps, and there’s just too many guys have no earthly idea what to do on just Day 1 plays. That’s what happens. It’s the first scrimmage of your life in college, you get a little nervous, you just forget everything. You can’t even get lined up. We had some of that going on with the young guys. It was kind of a cluster offensively with the threes, but they have to go through it.”
On if he saw any issues with penalties in the first scrimmage…
“We had a few penalties, but I didn’t think it was a massive amount. We had ACC officials. I told them to call it like they call it in a game. We had a holding on a screen play that you should never have. I’m trying to think of any defensive penalties – we didn’t really keep track of that. I don’t really remember any defensive penalties. We didn’t have any alignment issues, or any of that pre-snap stuff. We might have had another holding or something along the way…not a lot of penalties.”
On if he was encouraged overall with the performance of the team…
“Yeah. The other thing too, is you set up a scrimmage kind of the same you would have done it for years and it took ‘X’ amount of time. This scrimmage ended fast. It wasn’t because we went less plays, it was because we went less time between plays, and with tempo. Back in the old days, you’d call a play and get in the huddle, call a play and get in the huddle, call a play…that whole thing, I don’t know if it doubled it in time, but it must have been close. When you go no-huddle, even the scrimmages go faster.”
On if there were any players that took ownership of the moment…
“I’ve just been really pleased with Brad [Kaaya]. Brad has been very, very solid. Today, he was just locked in, taking care of business. [David] Njoku – we had a third-and-nine or third-and-ten – caught the ball short of the sticks by two or three yards, and guys were ‘bb’ing’ him, and he kept his balance and kept his feet and made a nice run. Same thing with Yearby – Yearby had a play where he probably got hit two yards short of the sticks but he just battled and fought to get that first down on those third-down situations. The edge pressure all day was more than what we could really handle – on that number two [offensive] line, for sure.”
On if any quarterbacks separated themselves as the No. 2 option…
“It sure was [even] going into this thing. I think the pack of twos were locked in pretty good. It’s been frustrating to figure out who that guy is. I talked to them last night about it, that there’s a possibility after this scrimmage that we might start repping one guy with the twos and one guy with the threes, and getting that guy ready. I don’t know if we’ll do that or not. After I look at the tape I’ll decide, and I know you all will be asking me that. Right now I don’t know for sure. But I also said, if someone gets named the number two tomorrow, if you’re three or four, don’t cry. You’ll still get reps, and it could change. It really, truly, could change. I don’t see anybody coming out of the crowd. I see a cluster of people – good thing, bad things, and there are some redeeming qualities in every one of them. They’re all doing some very nice things. But they are also doing some things that give me pause as to naming them the No. 2 quarterback.”
On the status of freshman linebacker Michael Pinckney…
“Pinckney got reps. He practiced. He’s been hobbling around with some kind of soft tissue issue. He went today. I’ll see how well he moved. We did every test you could to maybe give him peace that he’s okay, and he went. That was good. It’s hard. I think he’s a guy that has never been hurt. You don’t really know what a pulled muscle is. Is it truly a pull? Or is it just a cramp? What happens sometimes, when you get a cramp and it tightens up your hamstring, you say, ‘Oh, I pulled it.’ Sometimes it’s just constricted, it’s a cramp, and you don’t really understand the difference. From what [head athletic trainer] Vinny [Scavo] is saying and the doctors are saying, he has tremendous strength in that area, and they don’t see any weakness at all. We think he’s okay.”
SCRIMMAGE ONE STATISTICS - OFFENSE
PASSING COMP. ATT. YARDS TD INT
Brad Kaaya 16 19 258 1 1
Vincent Testaverde 3 3 62 0 0
Evan Shirreffs 3 5 16 0 0
Malik Rosier 2 5 1 0 0
Jack Allison 0 3 0 0 0
RUSHING ATT. YARDS TD
Mark Walton 7 29 1
Joe Yearby 4 25 1
Travis Homer 7 22 0
Crispian Atkins 4 20 0
Gus Edwards 7 13 0
Trayone Gray 2 6 0
RECEIVING REC. YARDS TD
Dayall Harris 2 82 0
David Njoku 3 54 0
Chris Herndon IV 2 24 0
Braxton Berrios 3 75 1
Stacy Coley 3 35 0
Malcolm Lewis 1 12 0
Wyatt Chickillo 2 10 0
Ahmmon Richards 1 9 0
Sam Bruce 2 7 0
Michael Irvin 1 3 0
Travis Homer 1 2 0
SCRIMMAGE ONE STATISTICS - DEFENSE
INDIVIDUAL TACKLES TFL SACKS PBU FF FR
Trent Harris 5.0 2 2
Romeo Finley 5.0 1 1
Jaquan Johnson 4.0 2
Robert Knowles 4.0
Mike Smith 3.0
CJ Perry 3.0
Jamie Gordinier 3.0
RJ McIntosh 3.0
Michael Pinckney 3.0
Zach McCloud 3.0 1 1
Jermaine Grace 3.0
Teddy Stavetski 3.0
Pat Bethel 3.0
Kendrick Norton 2.0
Corn Elder 2.0
Rayshawn Jenkins 2.0 1
Al-Quadin Muhammad 2.0 2 2
Gerald Willis 2.0
Malek Young 2.0
Terry McCray 2.0
Terrance Henley 1.0
Eddie Dunn 1.0
Shaquille Quarterman 1.0
Michael Jackson 1.0
Jared Hardie 1.0
Jamal Carter 1.0