There are a lot of developments (mostly positive) thus far that are worth mentioning.
So let's get right to it.
Here are some of the most noteworthy things we have seen and heard after the first few days of 'Canes Camp.
Braxton Berrios appears ready to take the next step.
Mark Richt recently called the junior to be an "every down option." And if you watched UM's Spring game (8 catches for 127 yards), he had a definite chemistry going with QB Brad Kaaya. This is an important development. Miami needs a solid #2 opposite Stacy Coley, while young players like Dayall Harris, Sam Bruce, and Ahmonn Richards develop. It sounds like Berrios is stepping up big time.
Adrian Colbert is going to be a signficiant factor at CB.
Big time development. Colbert already has at least one pick of Kaaya in practice. And his teammates and coaches have taken notice of what a smooth athlete he is at 6'2. Opposite Corn Elder, someone needs to step up. Thus far, Colbert looks like the guy. Richt has already said he expects him "to play a lot" and has praised his maturity and leadership. If Colbert carries his early momentum into the season, and Sheldrick Redwine continues to develop, CB may not quite be the sore spot we expected.
Who the heck is Marquez Williams????
Well he's a graduate transfer FB from Division II Mars Hill College who stands at 5'10 280, and he apparently he did this:
Can his super human weight room strength translate to an on the field effectiveness as a lead blocker?
Right now he is running with the starting O.
New Miami FB Marquez Williams, who power-cleans 381 and squats 575. Richt likes him. @… https://t.co/cMfIedGxPn— Matt Porter (@mattyports) August 7, 2016
Apparently UM was his only offer, and he jumped on it. Sometimes kids (or 22 year old men) fly under the radar and you find key contributors in unexpected places. For now I hope Miami's LB's keep their head on a swivel when this Williams comes at them. Between him, Gage Batten, and maybe Stan Dobard seeing some time there as well, the 'Canes have some options as lead blockers in 2016.
Joe Yearby might be even better in 2016.
We've heard his is right at about 206 pounds (same as last year) but has reduced his body fat significantly. So he should be just as effective as an inside runner. but perhaps added quickness. The one thing missing from Yearby's game his first two seasons has been that breakaway speed. If he's added a gear, watch out! Yeaby will still need to compete with Mark Walton and Gus Edwards for carries, but he's more a threat to take it the distance, combined with his already all-around impressive skill set, he might have gained a slight edge.
Players all over the roster seemed to have made significant gains in strength and conditioning.
I won't go through each and every example but Gus Elder's impact is being felt. I talked about the importance of this on a podcast with Wil Walker. This could lead to a much stronger finish in 2016 than what the 'Canes produced the previous two seasons. More on Elder below, but long story short, most every player on the team has made gains not only in strength (see previous staff) but also conditioning. Expect a leaner, meaner, Miami team this year that can finish games (and the season) stronger.
The jury remains out on the O line.
Aforementioned development (better conditioning) should help this unit. But I would be lying if I said Sunny Odogwu running with the 1's did not leave me uneasy. O Line Coach Stacy Searels said Odogwu has "the best attitude of any player I've ever been around." That is all well and good, but his on the field play better be significantly improved. Word around camp is also that the D has the advantage so far. There are some freaks along the defensive line, but you'd like to hear more about this unit holding their own. Who's starting alongside Odogwu? See below:
The 1st team @CanesFootball O-linemen for now are (left to right) Trevor Darling, Kc McDermott, Nick Linder, Danny Isidora and Sunny Odogwu— Susan Miller Degnan (@smillerdegnan) August 6, 2016
Is Chad Thomas ready to put it all together?
Thomas recently admitted his effort needed to be better. The former 5 star recruit recognizing that, is the first step towards him living up to his potential. With players like freshman Joseph Jackson (impressive thus far), Demetrius Jackson, and Trent Harris pushing him for PT, Thomas needs to bring it everyday. Not to beat a dead horse, but he's another player who also seems to be significantly improved physically. Hopefully this leads to much more production on the field.
Chad Thomas said he's 11 percent body fat. 6-5, 265 pic.twitter.com/imPrzHA7XA— Matt Porter (@mattyports) August 5, 2016
Still no sign of Dionte Mullins or Cedrick Wright.
Word is, both are expected to qualify and be in camp at some point. But how much valuable time have they already missed? The Hurricanes could really, especially use Mullins at WR. We'll keep you posted at the first word of either's presence.
So that's it for now. I am sure there are quite a few highlights I missed. But we'll keep a close eye on camp and try to provide as much insight as possible.
Enjoy the day 'Canes fans, and stay tuned for much more coverage right here on SOTU.