~ The following article was contributed by esteemed EOTH blogger, Delray ~
I awoke early Saturday morning and dragged the kids out of bed to attend the Miami Hurricanes’ spring practice at Spanish River High School. My 8 year old son wasn’t interested but after I told him there would be bagels, he was cool with it. My 6 year old daughter just wanted to see Sebastian the Ibis.
We arrived just before 9am to a pretty empty parking lot as the team bus arrived just after us. I have to admit, it did feel odd for football this time of year but once the team took the field the excitement started in the crowd. It only took about 20 seconds after the team hit the field for someone to yell “welcome back Kehoe!” The shouts to Kehoe came often from the crowd. He was one of the more intense coaches out there that morning as well as Coach D’Onofrio.
The session started out with a few drills. What caught most of my attention was the kicking/punting drills. Unfortunately, I really wasn’t too impressed with any of the kickers/punters. Wieclaw seemed to be kicking the ball the best but nobody seemed consistently drilling the ball. These spots looks wide open and could be won by a few players that will enroll come August.
The next session was a goal line situation. Both Stephen Morris and Jacory Harris ran a series of plays that appeared to be from the 3 yard line. We had a bit of trouble getting 7 once we hit the red zone. The Offense took care of this with a nice spin move by Mike James on one play, and Morris using his speed on another. There was a nice pass by Harris to Laron Byrd and a cut back where the offensive line opened a hole that my grandmother could have navigated her wheel chair through.
Here are some of the plays/players I felt stood out:
Both Blake Ayles and Chase Ford were very impressive. Ayles had some nice blocks and Ford made a difficult catch and had a few YACs. There is no doubt the Offense will use this position more than last year (not saying much there) and I feel this position will be a big contributor to the offense given the type that Jedd Fisch wants to run.
Both QBs had a botched snap. The one play that got the most attention was a pass by Morris to Travis Benjamin over the middle for about 25 yards. For the most part all passes were short; approximately 5-10 yards. Neither QB looked bad but also neither dominated the other.
Benjamin appears to be ready to take his game to the next level. I don’t think I have ever been able to watch him as close up. You really can appreciate his speed when you do. He also had a nice reverse run to go with the catch from Morris. The other receivers seemed to really disappear. These spots will be up for grabs for someone that wants to step up.
All 3 backs looked good. Lamar Miller seemed hampered by a possible sprained finger but still had some nice runs. Mike James had some nice 5-6 yards hard-fought runs while Storm Johnson continued his slashing/spinning style. We all knew these guys would be good coming in but seeing them run in person really gets your blood flowing.
These guys did a great job on the run but, like Shwarma mentioned, they had a bit of trouble on pass protection. But let’s face it, these guys are only going to get better.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Shwarma5’s coverage of the Boca spring scrimmage on defense!