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Marsh’s Mailbag: Thoughts On Jarren Williams Starting, Who Will Replace Derrick Smith, Will Anyone Else Transfer?

What was my reaction to Jarren Williams being named starter, what impresses me about Feleipe Franks, and more.

University of Miami football practice Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images

What were your initial thoughts when Jarren Williams was named the starter?

Having been at practice for the past week and seeing Jarren throw in person, I honestly wasn’t surprised. I’m a big fan of Tate and Kosi, and honestly thought Martell would win, but Williams was the right choice. I really think that this Miami offense is going to flourish with him starting at quarterback, and the level of consistency he’s shown during fall camp has me really excited. There was also just a boost of confidence it seemed like throughout the entire team being at media day on Tuesday, Jarren’s teammates obviously trust him.

Do you think it was smart for Manny Diaz to announce the QB publicly?

To be completely honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of coach Diaz coming out with the news of Jarren publicly. In my opinion, I would’ve rather have him tell the team and have them practice with Williams as the starter, but just don't tell the media. Though, one thing is for sure and that’s the fact that I trust coach Diaz and Dan Enos. They’ve been in these situations before, and they know much more than me, so I'm fine with it.

Why are you such a big Tate Martell fan?

Please understand this, and I've said this hundreds of times, I’m a fan of all three guys. It would be silly for me to root against a quarterback who could make the Hurricanes better. If you look throughout this offseason, I talked an awful lot about N’Kosi Perry, and was complimentary of all the QB’s. I will say that Tate carries himself in a very confident way, and I was a big fan of that, and felt that he portrayed leadership with an addition of swagger. And whether you’ll admit it or not, Tate coming to Miami helped push Jarren that extra step to improve his game. I still think Martell can be used for the Hurricanes offense in 2019.

Do you think Martell or N’Kosi Perry transfers?

I’m not going to sit here and predict that, because truly I would hate to see either of them leave the program. I believe they’re both great quarterbacks who can make plays and win games. Coach Diaz talked about how these guys are a play away from going into the game, and you never know what could happen. That being said, both of them are redshirt sophomores, and if they feel like they can go somewhere else and start, which they can, then why not?

Who’s going to replace Derrick Smith?

Man that was a shocker, wasn’t it? Smith had been having a great fall camp, and just last week I predicted that he was going to start next to Gurvan Hall. However, if there’s one unit on the Canes that I never worry about it’s the secondary. With Smith leaving the program, Bubba Bolden is going to have to progress a little bit faster, and guys like Robert Knowles and Amari Carter will have bigger roles.

Could you see anyone else transferring?

Like I said when answering this question about Tate and Kosi, I'm not going to predict that certain players transfer from Miami. It definitely seems that coach Diaz isn’t going to have anybody on his team that doesn’t want to be here, and that’s something he’s stressed many times, especially recently.

How do you think Miami’s offense will do against the Gators defense?

We talk a lot of smack towards the Gators, but at the end of the day they’re a very talented team, with several playmakers on defense. I know their cornerback situation is a little tricky with recent problems, but they still have C.J. Henderson at one of those spots, and Adam Shuler at DT, and Todd Grantham has been great at defensive coordinator.

For Miami, it’s going to come down to how their offensive line holds up against the Gators front seven. If the OL can stay strong, the Hurricanes can unleash their rushing attack with their plethora of backs. It will also be the first career start for Jarren Williams, so we’ll have to see how he handles the pressure.

What impresses you most about Feleipe Franks?

Franks is an interesting player to watch film and see play. Very talented, which is why he’s a two year starter, and 2018 was good to him, throwing for nearly 2,500 yards, with 24 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Not stats that will blow you away, but he was efficient and manages the game well. He’s also a huge man, standing at 6’6. One of the things that impresses me most about Franks is that he’s not afraid to take off running, and he rushed for seven touchdowns last season.

What’s the key for Miami’s offense going up against UF?

I already mentioned the offensive line, so another thing I believe is going to be crucial is utilizing the tight ends with Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory. We saw last season how Jordan was able to stretch the field, and lines up well against a linebacker or defensive back. With Mallory, he’s expected to take a huge leap in 2019 and have a monster year, and he’s great in the open field once he catches the ball. Dan Enos loves to put two tight ends on the field at the same time, so if Jeff Thomas and K.J. Osborn are covered tight by the corners, feed the two-headed monster at TE.

What has stood out to you most over the last week of covering Canes practice?

Oh man, it’s been a whirlwind being at practice, and there’s been so many things that has stood out to me. For one, being at practice and seeing more than just a video clip on Twitter gives you a whole new perspective about the team. The biggest thing however is just seeing the intensity and level of competition between everyone. I mean, you watch these guys go full speed trying to get that starting job, you can’t help but get a little excited watching from the media section. Also that this team is very close with one another, and you can tell that they truly love each other and there’s great comradeship between the guys.