The majority of the ACC spring games took place on Saturday, April 15th. Louisville decided to delay their spring game until Friday, April 21st so we’re covering this grouping of games a little later than the others.
The two obvious tough games on the schedule are Clemson and Florida State. The Tigers and ‘Noles will be tough outs for Miami in ‘23. Clemson’s defense hasn’t missed a beat and the offense looked improved at quarterback.
The Seminoles have slow cooked their roster mixing in transfer portal guys with signing classes that fit their “best player” KPI’s. I’ve been impressed with Mike Norvell’s slow build and hope Mario Cristobal can provide the same in Coral Gables. Now Norvell has to beat ranked opponents rather than the eight or nine cupcakes on their schedule.
Let’s take a look at the 2nd half of the spring games of Miami opponents in ‘23.
The Clemson defense looked smothering as they allowed very few big plays. Even a wide open seam route turned into a PBU for the Tigers defense. Cade Klubnik started 8-of-9 but settled into 18-of-33 with two interceptions. In a 1’s vs. 1’s battle of offense vs. defense, the defense came away with seven sacks and four interceptions.
As Clemson typically does, they had a dominant defensive line in the scrimmage on both teams. Their next two running backs after Will Shipley looked good but not great. Shipley will be ‘the guy’ for Clemson in the fall.
The Tigers will have to match scoring with FSU in the fall. They’ll have an old school “Bowden Bowl” matchup in late September.
Tragically, the UVA spring game had to start off by honoring victims of a senseless shooting. Mike Hollis, a wounded Cavalier in the mass shooting, didn’t just play in the spring game- he even scored a touchdown.
Mike Hollins with one of the most meaningful spring game touchdowns in UVA's return to Scott Stadium.— Preston Willett (@PrestonWillett) April 15, 2023
Places the ball over the name of the late D'Sean Perry. pic.twitter.com/42L6rIJMzp
UVA is still trying to pick a QB, transfer Tony Muskett and freshman Anthony Coleandra are in a battle for the position. Mustkett finished 11-of-14 for 149 yards and a score while Colendra went 18-of-29 for 218 yards with one TD and one INT.
Wide receiver JR Wilson had a big time touchdown, a 63-yard reception with broken tackles to boot. Mustkett has a great deep ball and could help to improve an ACC worst offense from back in 2022.
I absolutely hate the spring games that start with 7-on-7 or red zone or whatever. Just play a damn game already. FSU’s spring game had some practice periods in it, as did UNC’s, it’s not my cup of Jack Daniels.
Once things got going Jordan Travis is clearly the guy in Tallahassee. Travis with Tre Benson will make for a formidable duo again in the ACC. But, they had some goofy stuff happen during their practice periods where the wide receiver running jet sweep just fell over.
Edge rusher Patrick Payton looked like a future NFL defensive lineman and the FSU D-Line could be all teams can handle in ‘23 with Payton, Miami transfer Darrell Jackson, and future NFL defensive lineman Jared Verse.
Mike Norvell finally landed some quarterbacks outside of Travis. AJ Duffy, Tate Rodemaker and Brock Glenn are all battling to be the back up to Travis in ‘23.
Boston College has to improve on their 2022 season. I was high on Jeff Hafley last summer, and the Eagles disappointed a year ago. Emmett Morehead looks to be the starting QB heading into the spring for BC but he was far from perfect. Freshman Jacobe Robinson and sophomore Matthew Rueve will battle in the spring.
BC played “thud” (damn near whiz) and hit on a really good RB delay screen against the defense early, but the rules called it down to the 2-yard line. Robinson, the rookie QB out of Texas, got early work with the 2nd team offense.
BC will have a solid run game between Pat Garwo III and Alex Broome. Expect some old school “pro style” offense out of the Eagles in ‘23.
The Cards held off until April 21st to have their spring game, the first for new head coach Jeff Brohm. Brohm takes over for Scott Satterfield who took the Cincinnati Bearcats job this past off-season.
Brohm is a former Louisville quarterback, and has brought on his brother Brian Brohm as the OC. Brian was a highly decorated QB at Louisville and then an NFL backup for the Packers and Bills before moving on the the UFL and CFL.
After struggling early, starting QB Jack Plummer hit Ahmari Huggins-Bruce on a 50+ yard reception. Plummer then hit Josh Lifson, the Cards tight end, for a TD in the red zone. Plummer had a better 2nd quarter than 1st as he hit on two TD throws with no INT’s and sat out the 2nd half.
RB Maurice Turner looked promising for the Cards. The defense logged 16 TFL’s, three sacks and three interceptions against the offense.
The only way that Boston College or UVA give Miami fits (again for the Hoos) is if there’s a complete collapse for the ‘Canes like in ‘22. Miami should roll through first five games (six weeks) with a four wins to one loss record, before hitting a buzzsaw on the schedule.
Louisville didn’t look like anything special and the same goes for BC. Those are Miami’s final two games, with BC coming on the road on Thanksgiving weekend. Those cold weather Miami road games are always a question mark late in the year.
I predict that Miami finishes 2-3 against the teams covered in today’s post.