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Fall Camp Halfway Report: What We Know/What We Still Need To Find Out

Some of things we’ve learned from the first half of fall camp for the Canes, and things we’re still waiting to learn.

Hurricanes football practice 8/8/2019 David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images

On Friday we hit the two week mark of fall camp for the Hurricanes, which also means that they’re two weeks away from their opening game against the Florida Gators. So here are some things that we know about Miami so far in fall camp, and some things we’re still trying to figure out.

What we know:

Gurvan Hall is the next safety for the Canes. We’ve all been waiting for the day that #26 enters the starting rotation, and 2019 appears to be that season. The sophomore has impressed all through the first two weeks, and recorded two interceptions during Miami’s scrimmage on Sunday, returning one for a touchdown. So it seems that we’ve solved one of the starting positions at safety.

Derrick Smith has also come to play this fall. The junior safety recorded just 16 tackles his first two seasons at Miami, but has been all over the field in these first two weeks. Smith also had a solid scrimmage on Sunday, forcing a fumble with a bone crushing hit on tight end Larry Hodges. Many believe that Smith will be starting opposite Hall, and it’ll come down between him and Amari Carter.

Corey Gaynor is back at center, Navaughn Donaldson at his natural position of guard, and D.J. Scaife is at RG instead of tackle. Gaynor was injured in spring, forcing Donaldson to take snaps at center, and some insisted Navaughn stay there. Though, new line coach Butch Barry made his decision and hasn’t changed anything, which creates a strong front three for Miami’s OL.

Staying on the offensive line, true freshman Zion Nelson looks like he’ll be the starting left tackle when the Canes line up to the play the Gators in two weeks. Since arriving on campus, Nelson has beefed up to 290 pounds and is the lean offensive lineman that Dan Enos looks for. While he’ll no doubt be shaky when the season starts, expect him to mature and grow throughout 2019.

Louis Hedley is everything that we’ve hoped he’d be up to this point. The transfer punter from Australia has been a fan favorite ever since he signed, and now he’s exciting people on the actual playing field with booming kicks. One of the biggest issues for Miami in 2018 was the punting game, ranking 117th in the NCAA, but it appears that Hedley is the answer to our prayers.

Bubba Bolden is finally here. The transfer safety from USC had some problems transferring to UM due to academics, but he’s in Coral Gables, and finally got to practice with the team on Friday. Though it’s unknown when he can first play, but once he’s able to put on the green and orange jersey, he’ll make an impact for sure.

What we still need to find out:

First and foremost, the quarterback competition is still anyone’s game. Well, that is until Miami’s second scrimmage tonight.

Tate Martell, Jarren Williams and N’Kosi Perry have all shown promise, but none of the three have been consistent enough to separate themselves from the others. Williams and Perry both threw interceptions in the first scrimmage, and Kosi also added a fumble. Martell didn’t turn the ball over, but was sacked six times, and his accuracy still remains to be an issue. Though some good news, the QB’s combined to complete 71% of their passes and each threw a touchdown on Sunday’s scrimmage. I believe all three quarterbacks can be the guy for Miami in 2019 to win the Coastal, but Manny Diaz and Dan Enos will have to decide who that guy is.

The right tackle starting spot is also still up in the air. Up until this past Tuesday, it was Kai-Leon Herbert who had been taking reps with the first team at RT. Then, all of a sudden, John Campbell took his spot on Tuesday. Neither have limited experience on an offensive line already filled with doubters.

We’ll have to wait and see what the impact of the injury that Cam’ron Harris suffered on Sunday will be. Rumors were spread of a potential ACL tear, but the sophomore running back was out on the practice field Tuesday and fully participating. We’ll see if he can meet the high expectations he’s facing after breaking out near the end of the 2018 season.