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Random thoughts on draft weekend

Track and field, baseball, and draft coverage... plus lift of the week!

Kent State at Miami David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes athletic department got a small shot in the arm (this isn’t COVID-19 related) this weekend with Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau being selected in the 1st round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

While the baseball team toils at just above .500 in ACC play, the men’s and women’s basketball teams had off seasons, the football and volleyball teams performed above average but nothing great, and the women’s soccer team won a whole single game- at least there’s the draft and track season!

Hopefully track and field will provide the ‘Canes a bright light to go along with being back in the 1st round of the draft.

The track teams

Being weak, fat and slow I never ran track and field but I have trained throwers and sprinters in the weight room which has been a fun experience. I enjoy track and field events and studying the methods of Anatoliy Bondarchuk, Tom Tellez and Charlie Francis. Today’s legends like Dan Pfaff, Joel Smith and Boo Schexnayder are great coaches to read and learn from as well.

The track season has entered into the ACC Championship stage which will take place in May 13-15 in Raleigh, NC. Heading into the UNF Invitational this weekend, the ‘Canes women were ranked 18th in the nation. McKinly Brown set the UM men’s 400m hurdles record at the UNF event, while Kayla Johnson set the women’s 800m record in Jacksonville, too.

Two records in one weekend heading into the ACC Championships isn’t a bad thing at all.

The ‘Canes in the NFL Draft process

2021 NFL Draft Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

This weekend we saw Jaelan Phillips and Greg Rousseau selected in the 1st round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night. Phillips went to the Miami Dolphins 18th overall, and Rousseau went to the Buffalo Bills at 30th. Both had ‘red flags’ heading into the draft but were still taken in the 1st round because of their upside.

Phillips is a rare athlete to have his size, speed, and fluid movement. What he lacks in polish he makes up in ceiling. The red flags on Phillips are that he retired while at UCLA and had a comeback tour in Coral Gables. NFL executives must have liked what they saw on his medical background and opted for a top-20 selection.

2021 NFL Draft Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Rousseau’s red flag is that he only has one full season of film from college. It didn’t stop the Bills from making him a wealthy man on Thursday night. Rousseau’s ceiling is higher than Phillips and the tall, rangy athlete will be joining a franchise that seems to have ‘gotten it’ in the last couple of seasons.

So here’s the biggest question: what the hell happened to Brevin Jordan and Quincy Roche? Jordan had unimpressive pro day numbers in the meat market portion of his workout. He didn’t look prepared and/or his measurables just aren’t that fantastic compared to other tight ends. When healthy he was productive, but he was rarely healthy. Unlike Phillips, Rousseau and Roche, Jordan has entered into a disaster of a franchise.

Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Roche went in the 6th round, much later than many expected. His issue is being weak at the point of attack, undersized, and he loafs on plays going away from him. A major issue for both is their limited use in the kicking game. If you’re going to be a 4th rounder and below, you have to be a special teams player that’s stood out at some point in your college career. I don’t recall either doing that.

Jose Borregales wasn’t drafted while other specialists, Florida placekicker Evan McPherson and Georgia Tech punter Pressley Harvin III, were. Borregales is in a great situation with Bruce Arians down at Tampa Bay.

Canes’ Baseball

The Miami Hurricanes baseball team was blown out by Boston College on Friday by a final of 13 to 0. The ‘Canes did manage to bounce back Saturday with a 2-1 victory up in Mass. The ‘Canes are only 15-13 in conference play and were swept by Pitt, lost the series to UNC, but did sweep the Clemson Tigers. It’s been hard to make heads or tails of this season.

Christian and Adrian del Castillo are the only hitters batting over .300 for the ‘Canes. Christian is hitting .361 with three home runs and 32 runs batted in, while Adrian is hitting .303 with three HR’s and 28 RBI’s.

Yohandy Morales leads the team with nine HR’s and Alex Toral has worked out of his slump to a .280 average and six HR’s. Toral looks slimmer and seems to be moving around better both on the base paths and at first base.

The Miami pitching has been a struggle all season. Jake Garland has the only respectable numbers amongst the starters. Garland has a 3.94 ERA in 10 appearances, seven starts and has a 5-1 record. After that the ERA’s of starters are all above 5.00.

Along with the del Castillo brothers, Carson Palmquist has been the star of the season. The young reliever has made 16 appearances with a 1.48 ERA and 10 saves while walking only five batters. Palmquist has struck out 51 and allowed only 13 hits in 30.1 innings.

Lift of the week

The lift of the week for draft weekend is from TCU baseball. TCU’s Zach Dechant posts a lot of good work on both Twitter and Instagram. Here his athletes are doing safety bar squats with chains using a VBT (Velocity Based Training) Device. The safety bar takes some of the pressure off the lower back, and Coach Dechant is using bar speed (velocity) to determine quality reps.