This morning the Miami Hurricanes began the 2020 football season, leaving behind the struggles of the past that so recently haunted this storied program.
A new era began. One of hope and high expectations thanks to the editions of D’Eriq King and offensive guru Rhett Lashlee and his power spread offense.
We got our first look at the duo that are shouldering the burden of the expectations of instant results for a team that has struggled to keep up with a majority of the country offensively.
All eyes were on the redshirt senior quarterback, who was donning a #1 jersey when practice opened for a large number of media members looking to get their first glimpse at the record-breaking gunslinger out of Manvel, Texas.
Your first look at D’Eriq King in Orange and Green. OC Rhett Lashlee watching on as quarterbacks throw pic.twitter.com/ehUPAlTdR1— Gaboowins (@GabyUrrutia22) March 2, 2020
Intensity was high from both Lashlee and his new WR Coach Rob Likens, who spent the last three years as the offensive coordinator for Herm Edwards at Arizona State, where he managed an offense that had a 3000 yard passer, a 1500 yard rusher and a 1000 yard receiver in 2018.
The quarterbacks threw plenty of go’s and back shoulder balls while the media was on Greentree — the main group consisting of N’Kosi Perry, Tate Martell, and King.
Quarterbacks lobbing up throws to their receivers pic.twitter.com/VPzVPweSUG— Gaboowins (@GabyUrrutia22) March 2, 2020
Quarterbacks working back shoulder throws. Miami WR coach Rob Likens is a high intensity guy pic.twitter.com/nCX0obQ1c9— Gaboowins (@GabyUrrutia22) March 2, 2020
But Lashlee, who led a top 10 offense in 2019, wasn’t pleased with the way the quarterbacks were throwing the go-ball’s on the first day of practice and made a strong point about what was going to happen if they didn't get fixed immediately.
“You’ve been throwing go-balls since 7th grade,” Lashlee said. “Every overthrown go-ball from here on out is five up-downs!”
The Gus Malzahn product pulled no punches with his group of receivers, nor did Likens, who was staying on top of his group on every route.
Later on in the session, the quarterbacks, four at a time, threw passes to receivers all over the field. That was where we were able to get our first glimpse of true freshman Tyler Van Dyke. The 6’4 Connecticut native displayed the big arm he was recruited for with some darts across the field to the sideline, a few of which he actually overthrew.
King flashed his ability to throw with touch, but then come right back and pinpoint passes along the sideline and right into the arm on his tight end over the middle of the field.
D’Eriq King ➡️ Mark Pope on the sideline pic.twitter.com/OsLTkufPR8— Gaboowins (@GabyUrrutia22) March 2, 2020
As the media was being escorted, the offense and defense did a sort of 7-on-7 drill and King was the first of the group to lead the offense.
I counted at least four straight completions by King, including one to freshman WR Dazalin Worsham, the former Alabama commit who signed with the Hurricanes in December.
Another true freshman participating today was Jaylan Knighton, who was a part of the regular rotation of pass catchers along with the other receivers and running backs. Xavier Restrepo, Michael Redding III, Keyshawn Smith, and Dominic Mammarelli were also out there working.
Redding III, however, wore a blue pinnie and a had cast on his wrist. He was going through the motions of route running as everybody else did, but wasn't receiving passes from the Miami quarterbacks.
Defensively, the former number one overall player in the country, Jaelan Phillips participated fully in drills the media was able to see — a great sign for the ultra talented pass rusher who transferred from UCLA last year.
Former #1 overall player Jaelan Phillips is out here working pic.twitter.com/3VzhxXWF9B— Gaboowins (@GabyUrrutia22) March 2, 2020
Senior safety Amari Carter, who started five games last year for the Hurricanes, had a really nice and clean pass breakup of a N’Kosi Perry pass that was intended for TE Will Mallory.
The only turnover of the open portion of Mondays session was an interception by redshirt freshman safety Andrew Barnes, but I wasn't able to catch who the quarterback was who threw it. It came during 1-on-1 drills between receivers/running backs vs. defensive backs.