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Spring Practice #8 — Quarterbacks have their best day, but wide receivers struggle

Taylor Stubblefield and Dan Enos need to improve the wide receiver position.


As the media entered the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility on a rainy Miami morning, offensive coordinator Dan Enos had his quarterbacks working on fundamentals and footwork.

Their first drill featured a net that the quarterbacks were expected to throw just over, while doing exactly what Enos said to do. Instructions included specific foot movements and drops as they continued to move further and further away from their starting point, eventually moving about seven yards away from the net.

They transitioned into a four-cone drill which emphasized footwork and ended with a toss. I don't know what the quarterbacks were doing a year ago, but coach Enos and offensive quality control coach Jesse Stone are doing what they can to ensure that these quarterbacks are developing.

And for the first time today, the trio of Jarren Williams, N’Kosi Perry, and Tate Martell all looked very capable of leading this offense. Martell specifically stood out to me today. His ball still isn't the cleanest looking, and I'm suspecting it may never be, but he was precise when throwing to the outside and to the middle of the field today — more so than any other day I have watched him throw.

It could have been the nerves or the change of scenery that kept Martell from living up to the extremely high standard that Hurricanes fans expect from him. But if I’m focusing on his progression as a passer right now, it is clear that he is getting better. For the first time this spring I dare to say that he looked like the best guy out there in the time I was able to see him.

N’Kosi Perry also had a great day. I’ve mentioned his short-intermediate passing game needs to improve and, at least today, he threw much better balls on those routes.

Jarren Williams was leading the rotation of quarterbacks today and continued to look great. He’s doing what he's been doing since the first day I saw him and it’s impressive. There are still so many ways that he could get better, along with Martell and Perry, but it’s easy to see why he’s leading the rotation.

The guys catching the balls from these quarterbacks need to improve. Mike Harley had at least three dropped passes, one of which warranted a “catch the ball Mike!” from Perry.

Brian Hightower had a drop, as did Mark Pope and Jeff Thomas. I don't know what else to say about the position other than it needs to improve.

Other than his drop, Mark Pope has looked good to me. He's fast and quick on his routes and is doing a good job of doing what the coaches are asking him to do in regards to catching the ball, staying in-bounds, and finishing.

I would also expect Jeremiah Payton to play and play often this year. The coaches seem really high on him from a maturity standpoint and I wouldn't be surprised to see that transfer directly to the field.

Will Mallory looks impressive with the absence of Brevin Jordan, who was not at practice again after being abled “day-to-day” a week ago. Perry hit him on a seem route that looked really fluid and natural from Mallory as a pass catcher. I think both he and Jordan are going to be utilized heavily in Enos’ offense.

— After the offensive session, tight ends coach Stephen Field absolutely ripped the offense as a whole. Enos wasn’t even apart of it — he was on his way to the 50 as Big Cane drills began. It was a loud and purposeful conversation and I for one am glad I wasn't apart of that interaction.

But that is a part of what makes ‘The New Miami’ different. It’s all about accountability and doing things the right way. If you're not doing it right, they're going to let you know it.

— The offensive vs. defensive line battle was won by the defense again today. Linebacker Waynmon Steed made a good play that would've been a tackle for loss, but that was about all I got to see.

Blake Baker mentioned Jon Ford and Nesta Silvera by name during interviews today for the second time. There is an opportunity for both of them to make a lasting impression with coach Todd Stroud and defensive coordinator Blake Baker that would carry over to when the rest of the class joins the team in the summer.

Ford, who is down from 318 pounds to 303 pounds, says he feels better at his current weight especially with his breathing.

Thats all from me from Miami’s eight practice. Scrimmage #1 will be Saturday.