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Spring Practice #1 — The energy is palpable in Coral Gables

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A lot of decisions still need to be made for Manny Diaz and staff

New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Miami v Wisconsin Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The Hurricanes would have had an absolutely miserable first day of spring practice had the weather looked this way a calendar year ago. A gloomy, rainy day in Coral Gables was forgotten as the 2019 Miami Hurricanes gathered for their first of twelve spring practices inside the Carol Soffer Indoor practice facility.

I wasn’t here for the old Miami, but “The New Miami” feels the way football should feel in Coral Gables. From the time the team was stretching, the energy was sky high.

I got a much better look at the offense than the defense today and there are a few things worth noting.

— The quarterback rotation went N’Kosi Perry, Jarren Williams, and Tate Martell through stretches and drills. I didn't expect perfection, or anything close to it for that matter, on day one. You shouldn't either. There is a process that these quarterbacks need to go through and that includes Martell, the highly touted quarterback who is being granted the seat on the throne by many fans.

I would say that both Perry and Williams looked better than Martell did on day one. The highlight of Perry’s day was a perfectly thrown deep-ball to Mike Harley for a touchdown. The arm talent is undoubtedly there for the sort-of incumbent starter.

Jarren Williams, to me, threw the best ball consistently. His spirals are always tight and I can’t remember him throwing a duck at any time. Even if the accuracy wasn't perfect, the way the ball comes out of his hand just looks right.

And that's where I get to Tate Martell, who threw some pretty ugly looking balls. They weren't all bad, and at times he made some really great throws, such as this one.

As the media was being escorted out of the viewing session, Martell made a great impromptu run with the full offense and defense out there. I don't know how much it would have been good for in a real game, but his alleged ability to improvise in the backfield seems to be legitimate.

All three guys took reps with the first team.

— Mike Harley, KJ Osborn, Dee Wiggins, and Brian Hightower stood out the most to me today for different reasons. It is clear why the coaches trusted Harley and gave him the amount of opportunities as he had last year. The ball seems to find him and he makes the play more often than not. Apart from the deep ball from Perry, Harley caught a pass in traffic that was well defended.

KJ Osborn just looks like a grown man. Landing him was absolutely huge for this staff and his presence has already been felt throughout the program.

Dee Wiggins beat Al Blades Jr. in the first rep during 1-on-1’s and safeties coach Ephraim Banda literally threw his hat on the turf and chased Blades to the end-zone after he seemed to give up on the play.

Brian Hightower got my attention in a negative way. I watched at least two or three passes bounce right off of his hands. Again, it’s day one. It may not be much to look into if he can get those fixed up.

The true freshman Jeremiah Payton looks physically ready for the wide receiver position.

— Running back Cam Davis put a move on Michael Pinckney during 1-on-1’s that had everybody going insane. Davis did a little out-route and changed direction on a dime, causing Pinckney to completely whiff. Pinckney greeted Davis in the end-zone, congratulating him.

We saw the flashes last year, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that Davis has looked good out there.

— During 7-on-7’s we saw some two tight end sets that featured Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory lined up right next to one another. There were also motions guys...motions! I think Enos gets it. This offense will look brand new when we see it in August, but there is still plenty of work to do.

— Jon Ford was taking first team defensive tackle reps alongside Pat Bethel. Scott Patchan and Jonathan Garvin were the ends.

— Greg Olsen and Michael Irvin are just a couple of Miami Hurricane greats that I spotted heading towards practice today.