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Miami Hurricanes Football: Post practice interviews 8/3

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Another day, more post-practice interviews, in video and transcript form.

Freshman WR Jeff Thomas was talked about often after practice today.
247sports

Post-practice interviews start now.

OC/RB coach Thomas Brown

On DeeJay Dallas and Jeff Thomas and what he expects from them…

“Obviously a lot more from DeeJay because DeeJay was here at midyear, so he went through spring ball. He made some great progress. He came in, like most freshmen, a little bit out of shape – the workload is a little bit different in college football than it was in high school, even for the guys that work really hard. I think he has changed his body some. He has put on some more lean muscle mass, help him kind of be in better condition. I’m really excited about his progress so far. We’ve kind of tried him out at different spots – receiver stuff, obviously punt return and kickoff return.

Jeff Thomas, it’s really early. I think he’s still learning how to adjust to college football and learn the pace which we go at, and understand how to take coaching the proper way. I’m not saying it in a bad way – just understanding how we do things here at Miami. But that cat can move, now. He has some juice in space. I’m really excited about some of the stuff he does with the ball in his hands – whether running vertically down the field to try some explosive pass plays, but also some simple bubbles, is what we call them. I think he has done a really good job of fielding punts. He’s a natural receiver back there. Ball security has to improve, like most guys - when I was in high school I was allowed to do what I wanted to with the ball. We kind of have a different standard here. But both of those guys are making great progress.”

If Jeff Thomas will help the offense in his first year with the Hurricanes…

“He’s going to help us in some ways. I’m just not exactly sure how much yet. I’m not trying to get too excited about guys, when we’re just in shorts and uppers [shoulder pads], until we go live and people get hit in the face and we see how they respond. Football is a different game. You can watch guys play 7-on-7 and guys look phenomenal. Then some 245-pound guy comes running full-speed and it changes the way he plays. I don’t think he’ll be much different, but we’ll see.”

On the adjustments as an offense playing with a first-year starting quarterback…

“I think it’s trying to figure out who’s going to give us the best chance to be successful, from a quarterback standpoint. You have a couple guys who have different skillsets, who are all different and will obviously somewhat dictate how our offense will be called based on who ends up being the guy. I think it’s a healthy competition right now. I think all those guys are motivated. They’ve all shown great things early. But even from the springtime, we wanted to see how guys react when it does become live. Obviously Evan [Shirreffs] and Malik [Rosier] had a lot of reps in the springtime when it was live, and N’Kosi [Perry] has faced the bullet when Manny Diaz’s defense gets up and comes at him full-speed. But I think so far it’s been good.”

On if a quarterback will know what hit him when Diaz’s defense attacks…

“We’ll find out. Most people don’t.”

On the progress of sophomore running back Travis Homer

“The great thing about Travis is, Day One, he is a no-nonsense, ‘I’m going to go as hard as I can until I pass out’-type player. He’s one of the guys you want to coach. You never have to coach effort with him. I think his technique has improved lot from last year. Obviously he was one of our best special teams players – he played a lot of football, just not playing running back. I think his workload will increase, obviously this year, given his new role as our back-up tailback right now. I’m really impressed with him. He has gotten a lot looser and has become more fluid in the open field. I think he’ll do good this year.”

OL coach Stacy Searels

On who is competing with the first team offensive line…

“There are six guys that have played, I guess you could say. Kc [McDermott], Trevor [Darling], Nick Linder, Tyler Gauthier, Navaughn [Donaldson] – well Navaughn hasn’t played, but he is rolling with the first group, and Tyree St. Louis. I like what they’re doing. I think they know how to communicate and work together. We are trying to develop the young guys. I told them, ‘Do you want me to treat you like a freshman or a Miami Hurricane?’ If we had 10 juniors and seniors and five freshmen coming in, maybe we could treat them a little different. We’ve got to get them ready to play. The expectations are higher and they’ve got to prepare better and come out to practice mentally ready to go.”

On freshman Navaughn Donaldson’s improvement since the spring…

“He’s starting to get it and starting to understand it, but he’s got to be more consistent. That’s what I’m looking for right now.”

On senior Trevor Darling’s progress…

“I think he has responded. One thing in this camp, the first unit hasn’t had a lot of missed assignments. Trevor hasn’t had any missed assignments, so he knows what to do. He is trying to do his technique better. He lost some fat and put on some muscle from last year. I think he looks like a better player right now.”

On the competition at center…

“I think Nick [Linder] has played a lot of ball and Tyler has really come on in the last year or so and played well for us. Both of them can play center and both of them can play guard and both of them are going to help us win this year.”

On freshman Kai-Leon Herbert…

“Very talented young man. He’s got to understand the difference in the college game and speed of our defense, which is really, really good. Once he gets it, he’ll be a good player for us.”

OL Kc McDermott

On how the freshmen are progressing…

“They have strong attention to detail and want to get better. It is easy for a freshman to come in here and say, ‘Oh, I don’t know what to do’ and ‘I don’t want to [put in] effort right now, I’m just trying to get a taste of what college football is like.’ No, they actually get after it and they are asking us questions constantly. They want to get better and I am really happy about that.”

On what impressed him on freshman Kai-Leon Herbert…

“His size. He’s got great footwork. Obviously, coming in as a freshman, you have a lot to adjust to. Going from high school to college football, the speed is a lot different. Right now he goes against Joe Jackson every day, which is a big challenge for him, but he’s going to get adjusted to it and he will be great in the future.”

On freshman defensive lineman Jonathan Garvin

“I tell you what, man, [Jonathan] Garvin is going to be one hell of a football player. He’s got hands, he’s got feet, he’s got speed and he’s got power. I’m really excited to see him play.”

On offensive line improvement from last year…

“Overall, understanding of the playbook. Last year, we understood the playbook and worked it constantly, but with these new summers that we’ve had – where everyone works with the coaches a little bit and have meetings – we have a great understanding of the playbook. We’ve been able to study our opponents much more. We’ve been able to study our defense much more and we have an idea of what’s happening and what’s on the field and we can make our adjustments. I’m very pleased with the ones we’ve been running – we run very smooth and are doing a great job, understanding exactly what’s going on.”

OL Tyler Gauthier

On the first few days of camp…

“It’s good to be back and to have some leadership. We have a bunch of young freshmen who we are teaching up. It’s a long camp but these first few days we are getting after it and doing really well.”

On getting used to a new quarterback…

“We do a lot of drills to get used to it. We are snapping with each other after lifts. Basically, to get used to a new quarterback you need to get used to the way he runs things. Once you figure that out, it’s the snap. Once the snap’s done and he’s gelled in with the team, that’s pretty much it.”

On Coach Richt’s pointers to the centers…

“Every day before practice we have a five-to-10-minute period when we just snap to the quarterbacks. We probably do 40-50 snaps and the whole time he’s teaching you. If he thinks something just ain’t right, we would change it up or do something different.”

OL Tyree St. Louis

On biggest difference in him since last year…

“The game is just a lot slower. Going from last year’s spring to starting the final eight games, I’m quicker on defense, I’m quicker on what I’m supposed to do. Everything is moving a lot slower and that has helped me out a lot.”

On first day with shoulder pads…

“The first day with shoulder pads is always a fun day. Now we are finally allowed to hit each other. When you go against these guys in jerseys, they can move around [and] switch around, but with shoulder pads and lock on we can do something now. It’s real football.”

On redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Scott Patchan

“He looks really good. He looks like he did in high school, when we played together. He’s starting to get back to quick-shifting guys. Now he’s starting to put some more weight on, so he’s doing a lot better.”

That’s it for the interviews. Comment away!

Go Canes