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Miami Hurricanes Football: Mark Richt transcript 4/4

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A new day’s worth of thoughts from CMR


Another day on the field for Spring Practice, another chance to get a recap from Head Coach Mark Richt. Here’s what the head man had to say today, courtesy of UM Athletics:

On having young coaches like Todd Hartley on staff…

“Part of having to coach fast is the ’20 hour’ rule. You only have so many minutes in a meeting. If, like pro ball, you could take your time and just teach, slow down and come back…you have to teach fast, but you can’t go so fast that you lose them. One of the first things I learned, my first year, was I would coach, coach, coach and say, ‘Got it?’ They’d say, ‘Got it.’ I’d coach, coach, coach, I’d say, ‘Got it?’ and they’d say, ‘Got it.’ Then you get on the field, in the practice or the game, and they don’t have anything. They don’t ‘got it.’ I learned to say, ‘Tell me what you saw on that play?’ or ‘On this particular play, what’s your read, what’s your progression, who were you keying?’ Make them talk to you to find out if they really got it or not. That was lesson number one in coaching – don’t ever assume that they got it.”

On Nick Linder, Sunny Odogwu and Trayone Gray stretching with the team Tuesday, and if they’ll have any contact this spring…

“Doubtful that anybody does. But when you start stretching with the team, it’s a sign of integrating back into play. I think three weeks into spring ball we were going to re-evaluate, and maybe not put them in contact, but maybe allow somebody to do one-on-one routes, which [Lawrence] Cager maybe can. I doubt it, I’m just using an example. There are drills that they can do that aren’t really ‘contact drills,’ or not a lot of bodies around. Or even in pass [protection], sometimes you’re integrating a lineman back into play in one-on-one pass protection. If you get in there with the team, and there are twists and this or that, people are flying around and falling on the ground and all that, you can’t put them in there. But the next thing would be one on one-type drills for those guys.”

On the depth of the running back position in the spring…

“We pray, a lot. [laughs] We don’t want anybody getting hurt, obviously. But there’s certain positions that, if you had one or two [injuries], you’re like, ‘I have no earthly idea what we’ll do.’ We’ll go five wide [receivers] or something. I do have a nightmare about that once a week. We need help for sure, I can tell you that, at that position.”

On the status of freshman running back Robert Burns, and if he will return this spring…

“This spring? That we don’t know yet. I think there’s some doctors’ meetings today to decide what’s next. We may have some info by tomorrow.”

On what he’s looking for in Saturday’s first scrimmage of the spring…

“A lot of things that happen in this ‘thud’ tempo, where we’re not tackling to the ground and we’re not cutting somebody below the waist or blocking below the waist, it changes the game when you are able to block somebody below the waist. Let’s say you’re a receiver blocking out on the perimeter and a little bubble screen comes and you’re the blocker. Well if that guy comes as hard as he can come, you might just cut him, block him low, which you’re allowed to, if you’re faced up on him. Then he’s on the ground, and while he’s on the ground, you’re running down the sideline. Or if you’ve got a running back who is trying to block these big defensive ends, well right now, the ends know we can’t cut them. We can’t block below the waist. They’re just running them little dudes over, or trying to. But when they know they might get cut, it’s a little different – guys are trying self-preservation there for a minute. Same thing when you run a stretch play – an outside play, we call a stretch play – sometimes on the back side you’re cutting a guy, which creates a seam, which you just can’t do in these drills. Then the other thing too is, now that we’re tackling, are you really getting them on the ground? My guess is that they will.

“My plan right now, also, which is a little bit different, is to let the quarterbacks have a normal jersey and play ball. Is it a sack? Is it not a sack? In a normal scrimmage, we don’t know. This scrimmage, if I don’t chicken out, we’ll know if it’s a sack or not. We’ll know if a guy makes a move and gets five yards, or if he gets tackled and he fumbles the ball or secures the ball, or whatever it may be. It’ll look more like a true game on those snaps, because we’re going to let the quarterbacks play ball.”

On if the reasoning behind making the quarterbacks live is to better understand how they perform under pressure…

“Absolutely. How are you going to react when you get hit in the mouth and you have to go to the next play? How are you going to react? Can you stand in there and throw a strike and somebody hits you? That’s part of being a pocket passer. We’ll throw out of the pocket.”

On if he has seen any separation among the team’s quarterback unit prior to the first scrimmage…

“Quarterbacks? Yeah, but I’m not going to tell you. The main reason is the very things we’re talking about. Let’s see a scrimmage. I’m going to reserve my opinion until the scrimmages. Somebody may show something in the scrimmage that they couldn’t show in the ‘thud’ tempo we have right now. We’ll watch it and see.”

Quick reaction:

  1. I love the fact that the younger coaches got a shoutout today. This staff has a nice blend of veterans (CMR, Kool, Searels, Diaz) and younger coaches (Banda, Rumph, Hartley, Jon Richt), and I think that’s a positive for Miami.
  2. Great to see guys like Linder, Odogwu, and Gray getting on the field. No, they’re not full-go yet, but having them out there is a step in the right direction.
  3. My GOD we need another running back
  4. When I saw Saturday’s practice was closed (in a media availability email a couple days ago), I figured that would be a scrimmage for the Canes. Good that it’s confirmed, and hopefully the team can get some good work in.
  5. QB battle is a long way from finished. I’ll be repeating this even at the end of Spring Practice.

Those are my and CMR’s thoughts. Share yours in the comments below.

Go Canes