Since his debut at the wide receiver position against Florida, much has been made of Tate Martell’s transition to the wide receiver position.
The former five-star quarterback and Ohio State transfer came to Miami with high expectations, which have followed him throughout his whole career.
And to the pleasure of those that like to see widely recognized athletes fail for whatever reason that is, Martell lost the quarterback job to Jarren Williams after a competition that began the first day of spring practice all the way through Aug 12.
Martell, being a hard-working college athlete that just wants to play ball, asked his coach if he could move to wide receiver to help the team out. And the Hurricanes have not looked back since, playing him in the fourth most snaps of any receiver on the team Week 0.
Although that number is skewed based on wildcat packages and snaps at quarterback, there is no denying that Tate was on the field as a pass catcher more than many of the Hurricanes every day wide receivers.
“If he's on the field you’ll want to know where he’s aligned because that can make you change your game plan pretty quickly.” Manny Diaz said to the media following the Florida loss.
And that’s what makes Martell so valuable. Him being on the field creates problems for defensive coordinators that have to look out for him and target him because he has such a unique skill set, which Diaz reiterated this morning during his interview on 560 WQAM early Wednesday morning.
But how are the people in his new position room responding to the fact that a guy who was competing for the starting quarterback job taking significant snaps at a position they've been working at their whole careers?
“We accepted him. It was no nothing. We accepted him.” fifth-year senior and offensive captain K.J. Osborn said Wednesday after practice.
As a guy in the thick of the quarterback competition, Martell has a strong grasp of the offense and he has brought that knowledge into his new room, which helps not only himself, but his teammates to grasp the offense better and adjust.
“Like I said when Tate first got here, he's very smart. He’s very smart. And he helps us out in the room. Like, if there’s a question about something, Tate, he’s got the answer. You know, quarterback reads, or line, or anything. He’s very smart coming from the quarterback position.” Osborn said.
But that’s not to say that Martell isn't going through a physical adjustment.
“He’s starting to get those wide receiver pains from running so much,” a laughing Osborn joked. “We trying to tell people on the team it’s different at wide receiver, like you run all day.”
Feeling those hamstring and groin pains has been a sort of initiation to the room, according to Osborn.
Another concern would be how the young guys such as Jeremiah Payton, Dee Wiggins, and Mark Pope, are reacting to the fact that Martell is seeing the field more than them, but the senior leader doesn't see that as a problem.
“I just talked to Jeremiah [Payton] when we got off the field. I said, when you get in make the most of those opportunities.”
The same message goes out to Wiggins. Osborn wants to see the young guys make plays because that makes him want to make more plays because that makes him want to play better.
Competition is what drives the University of Miami. It always has and it always will. The younger guys will surely get an opportunity to play this weekend when the Canes travel to Chapel Hill to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in an 8:00 p.m. sold out matchup this coming Saturday.
Now, it’s about making enough plays for the coaching staff to recognize that they are ready to make plays going forward. And, of course, expect to see plenty of Tate Martell, who will continue to be a great decoy and potential weapon for Dan Enos and this Hurricanes offense.
And expect to see his fellow wide receivers having his back and supporting his selflessness and willingness to help the team in any way possible.