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Marsh’s Mailbag: More Offensive Line Concerns, K.J. Sails, Best Canes WR Of All-Time?

Was there any improvement for Miami’s o-line in the spring? Deejay Dallas in the Wildcat, and more.

NCAA Football: Miami Spring Game Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

How many offensive lineman do we have that can play?

If I had that answer I'd share it with you, but I just don't know. What I do know is that Miami has several lineman who can play, like Navaughn Donaldson and possibly D.J. Scaife, but other than that, it’s a sketchy situation. Coach Manny Diaz said that he saw improvement in the unit over the course of spring, but when you give up nine sacks in the spring game, I wonder how much improvement there really was. It looks like freshman Zion Nelson could potentially be a diamond in the rough, but I don't think he’s ready to be a dominating force yet. The Hurricanes just have to hope and pray that guys like Cleveland Reed and Kai-Leon Herbert make giant leaps in the summer, and Corey Gaynor returns to full strength.

What were your thoughts on the NFL Draft?

Very very surprised in where Miami guys landed, not so much the teams that drafted them, but how far everyone dropped. You saw guys like Gerald Willis and Michael Jackson Jr. projected as possible second or third round picks, but no Hurricanes were taken until the fourth round. We can only pray that in the coming years, we’ll see Miami guys back in the first round. That being said, I believe that most of the Canes drafted have the potential to contribute to their team, especially Travis Homer and Jaquan Johnson.

How surprised were you that Gerald Willis went undrafted?

Shocked that this question was even asked. Yes, Willis had some issues that were brought up on Sunday as to why nobody drafted him, but he’s still a second or even first-round talent. Not only do I think he’ll make the Ravens team, but I believe he’ll work his way into the starting rotation in a year or two.

Do you think Corey Gaynor will move back to center once he’s healthy?

That’s a really interesting question that I've thought about the past several weeks. Since Gaynor was injured, Navaughn Donaldson has been taking snaps with the first team at center, and has been impressing. The great thing about both of these guys is that they can play both center and guard. Gaynor looks to be a little more athletic than Donaldson, so don’t be shocked if he lines up at guard when he comes back.

What advantage does Tate Martell have over the other quarterbacks?

What I really love about Martell’s game is his athleticism and ability to move in the pocket. We’ve seen N’Kosi Perry move around too, and Jarren Williams has decent footwork, but Martell is the best scrambler out of the three. The reason why this is crucial for the 2019 Canes is because of Miami’s offensive line, which simply isn't very good. If the pocket collapses and the quarterback is going to have to make something happen, Martell is better than the other two in that situation.

What should we expect from Mark Pope this season?

Pope is someone that a lot of people are high on going into this year, and is expected to take a major leap. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the two main receivers for Miami is going to be Jeff Thomas and K.J. Osborn, but that third spot is very much wide open. After a quiet first few weeks of spring practice, we saw a lot more from Pope, especially in the Canes second scrimmage, when the sophomore exploded for a 52-yard gain off an end-around. He had just one reception in 2018, but I think we should expect a whole lot more production from Pope this season, and to become Miami’s third receiver.

In your opinion, who’s the best wide receiver in Miami history?

That’s a tough question, just because there are so many factors that you have to consider, stats, legacy, etc. I wrote an article on this last summer, and I chose Reggie Wayne over Michael Irvin. Now before you freak out, you have to look at the production. Wayne is number-one in school history for receptions, number-two in receiving yards, and tied for fourth in touchdowns. Wayne did all of this while sharing the receiving position with Santana Moss, another Miami great.

What’s your opinion on K.J. Sails?

My opinion on Sails is that he’d be a great contribution to Miami’s defense. Sails, a native of Florida, would still have two years of eligibility left, and would really help the Canes cornerbacks which is a young unit besides Trajan Bandy. Sails suffered a season-ending injury after just four games in 2018, but started 14 games the year prior as just a sophomore.

Why hasn’t Tommy Kennedy lived up to the hype?

One of the more disappointing parts about Miami’s spring practice was transfer offensive tackle Tommy Kennedy not cracking the first team o-line. The main thing I heard about Kennedy was that he just wasn’t big enough. He came from a small football school like Butler, and all of a sudden you’re lining up next to and up against players who were the top recruits in the nation.

Are we going to see anymore of Deejay Dallas in the Wildcat formation?

I sure hope so! I think Dan Enos would be stupid not to try Dallas in the Wildcat a few times this season. Nearly every time Miami has run Dallas in that formation there's been a positive outcome. We saw it several times throughout the 2017 year, but for some reason it was far more rare in 2018. But yes, I'd like to think that we haven’t seen the end of Deejay in the Wildcat.

What schools would you like to see Miami schedule a series with?

I think Miami would do well to schedule a series with some big time schools. I’d really like to see Florida and UM play on yearly basis, but that doesn’t seem too possible, also Notre Dame. Besides that, the three schools I'd love the Canes to play is Ohio State, USC and maybe even Michigan.