The wait is over! Spring Practice for the Miami Hurricanes starts today! The Canes, coming off a 10-3 season with appearances in the ACC Championship game and Orange Bowl, will use the next 15 practices to develop talent and skill.
We’ve previewed every position group, and here they are for your eyeballs
On top of those position previews from our SOTU staff, here are 5 items to watch for during spring practice:
I mean, you knew I was starting here, right? Malik Rosier’s performance left MUCH to be desired in the 2017, and an upgrade at the position is needed. Now, that upgrade could be Rosier developing the consistency and accuracy that has never been a native part of his game, or it could be one of the other QBs — N’Kosi Perry, Jarren Williams, or Cade Weldon — taking a big leap forward to wrest the job away from the RS Senior.
No matter who you preferred starter is, the spring will be a big part of the decision making process for CMR. He’s said Rosier enters the Spring as unquestioned QB1, so it’s not a truly “open” competition, but it’s a competition nonetheless. And, it’s the top thing that I, and many others, will be watching for the Canes this spring.
Gone from last year’s starting OL are Kc McDermott and Trevor Darling. So, there are 2 open spots on the line, a group tasked with protecting the QB (whichever one wins the battle) and opening holes for the many talented RBs on the roster.
Returning starters Tyree St. Louis, Navaughn Donaldson, and Tyler Gauthier will reprise starting roles in 2018, but positions may change. St. Louis could get the first crack at replacing McDermott at LT, and Donaldson could get a shot at then replacing St. Louis at RT. The staff has previously said that Donaldson’s best position is guard, however, so the former seems unlikely.
Players like Corey Gaynor, Kai-Leon Herbert, Delone Scaife and Zalon’tae Hillery will all look to earn a spot on the starting OL. Of those, only Gaynor has game experience, so the other 3 will have to prove their worth over the course of the next month.
It’s no secret that Miami lost a bunch of talented DL off of last year’s roster. With 8 players departed from that position group, all eyes will be on this year’s group, and what they can bring to the table.
Leading the way for the Canes up front are DEs Joe Jackson and Jonathan Garvin. That’s a pair of NFL DEs for you with size, length, pass rushing ability, and better run defense than you might otherwise think. The addition of Gerald Wills III, returning from a leave of absence in 2017, is going to be massive for this team. So too will be the developments shown by players such as Patrick Bethel, Jonathan Ford and Scott Patchan.
Freshman Gregory Rousseau is probably a year or two away from being a consistent contributor, as he’s just now transitioning to and learning the DE position. And, while they won’t be there this spring, fellow freshmen DTs Nesta Silvera and Jordan Miller will be a needed infusion of size and talent come the fall.
This position is a bit thin on returning talent after starting CB Malek Young’s retirement due to a career-ending injury. But, there are numbers at the position, and that’s a good place to start.
2nd team All-ACC CB Michael Jackson should be entrenched as a starter. He played really well and showed that with time and effort, players should be able to develop at Miami. Fellow returners Trajan Bandy and Jhavonte Dean look to take leaps forward, a task which is more pressing for Dean, who is entering his final season of CFB eligibility.
The real thing to watch is how the freshmen play. Local DBs Gilbert Frierson and DJ Ivey have great physical tolls and a variety of skills between them. For a team with few proven options at corner, the development of Frierson and Ivey will be essential over this next moth, and into fall camp.
I always include this in my spring and fall camp previews, but one of the most important things to watch, and hope, for is that the team makes it out of the month-long practice session healthy.
There have been multiple injuries that have affected players in camp the lat few years. Ryan Williams tore his ACL in 2014. Lawrence Cager tore his ACL in 2016. Ahmmon Richards pulled his hamstring in 2017. And the list goes on.
But, for a team still developing the quality depth and talent needed to reach the levels of success to which we ALL aspire, staying healthy is important.
Those are my 5 things to watch during spring practice. Share yours in the comments below.
WELCOME BACK TO THE FIELD, GENTLEMEN!!!!!