Some Saturday Hurricanes and Dolphins notes:
### We hear Herb Waters and Philip Dorsett were among those who were impressive in UM’s scrimmage Friday night. (There was a high-school presence at the closed scrimmage, so it’s inevitable that a few details leak.)
Waters caught two long passes, and Dorsett caught a long pass down the sideline. Freshman Stacy Coley caught two TD passes from Ryan Williams – that’s the only specific detail that UM announced about the scrimmage. UM people reiterate that Coley is too good to keep off the field this season. Coley has even taken some first team snaps.
Expect Coley, Waters, Allen Hurns, Rashawn Scott, Phillip Dorsett and Malcolm Lewis all to play this season.
Offensive coordinator James Coley said there’s certainly enough snaps to use at least six receivers because UM expects to play at a quick tempo and expects to get a lot of offensive plays.
Dorsett figures to be the primary punt returner, but UM people expect Coley could eventually be a factor there.
### Tight end Clive Walford has been very impressive and did a lot of damage in the middle of the field Friday night. Asante Cleveland and Beau Sandland have had their moments in camp and each will play. Sandland is much improved from the spring. And Coley seems to value Cleveland more than Jedd Fisch did.
### Al Golden said he wants to see a big back emerge as a backup option behind Duke Johnson. But it hasn’t happened yet, with Gus Edwards not yet cleared to practice because of an NCAA Clearinghouse issue, and Danny Dillard not asserting himself. (Dillard has to be more physical.) So it wouldn’t be surprising if fullback Maurice Hagens gets some short yardage carries.
We hear Dallas Crawford and Eduardo Clements have been the best backup running backs so far. Clements is showing no effects of the neck injury that sidelined him for many months, until recently.
### Former Wisconsin defensive end David Gilbert has displayed quickness off the edge in his first week of practice. He might begin his UM career as a pass rush specialist initially, but it wouldn't be surprising if he eventually challenges Shayon Green for a starting job. Green is valued more by UM coaches than by many fans, who are understandably troubled by the fact he didn’t have a single sack last season.
### The third down pass rush package should be much better, with Gilbert, impressive freshman Al-Quadin Muhammad and improved Tyriq McCord. UM keeps experimenting with combinations there. Defensive end/tackle Ufomba Kamalu still needs time to learn the system after sitting out the first week of practice while awaiting NCAA clearance.
### The linebacker battle between Thurston Ambrister and Alex Figueroa keeps swinging back and forth, with both making plays at different times in the past two weeks.
### Jimmy Gaines remains ahead of Raphael Kirby for the middle linebacker job.
### We hear the UM defensive backfield clearly misses Deon Bush’s athleticism and play-making. Golden said he expects him back for the opener, after sports hernia surgery in May.
### Defensive tackle Luther Robinson is an excellent shape and playing well. His improvement – and his value to this team – have risen markedly in the past year.
### UM did not crack the AP top 25, announced Saturday, and finished fourth in "others receiving votes." So UM was essentially ranked 29th.
Six unresolved issues we’re eager to track in tonight's preseason game against Houston:
### Fourth and fifth receivers: The sense here is Rishard Matthews is the likely No. 4, but a couple of good preseason games will help solidify that. Chad Bumphis and Brian Tyms have been the best of the others recently. Tyms has an interesting skill set; he’s big (6-3) and fast but needs polishing. Marvin McNutt’s hands aren’t reliable enough. Keenan Davis and Jeff Fuller need big nights.
### Offensive line: Josh Samuda will get work at right guard tonight, but it will be surprising and unsettling if he begins the season there as the starter. The starter figures to be John Jerry, Lance Louis or Nate Garner, if he’s back in time from shoulder surgery. Louis said last week he’s hoping to play tonight – nine months after major knee surgery. Jerry remains out but should be ready to start the season.
It’s a big night for Will Yeatman, who needs to follow his solid game in Jacksonville with a repeat performance. Three more good games, and Yeatman could be the backup left tackle. If not, Miami likely will need to scan the waiver wire for one. Jeff Adams isn’t the answer.
### Backups in the backfield: Running back Jonas Gray and fullbacks Jorvorskie Lane and Evan Rodriguez need to be impressive to give Miami reason to keep any of them. With Charles Clay able to play fullback, it remains highly questionable if Miami keeps either Lane or Rodriguez.
The Dolphins could keep three running backs (Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas and Mike Gilislee), one fullback/tight end hybrid in Clay and three natural tight ends (Dustin Keller, Dion Sims, Michael Egnew). One more could make it at those positions depending on how the Dolphins want to construct their roster.
The way Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman have been raving about Egnew, there’s a good chance he sticks.
Miller, the likely starter, needs more work tonight after just two carries (for six yards) against Jacksonville.
### One or two backup linebacker jobs: This is one of the few spots on defense where a roster spot is realistically unresolved. Josh Kaddu, Austin Spitler, Jonathan Freeney and Lee Robinson are top contenders for one or two jobs behind the three starters, Jason Trusnik and Jelani Jenkins. Found it interesting that Philbin singled out Kaddu last week as one of the impressive players in camp.
### Cornerback rotation: Perhaps tonight and next Saturday’s game against Tampa will offer some clarity about the Dimitri Patterson/Richard Marshall starting cornerback battle. Will Davis could crack the top four (ahead of Nolan Carroll) with another good game.
### Defensive line backups: Newcomer Antwan Applewhite and impressed undrafted Fresno State rookie Tristan Okpalaugo will try to give the Dolphins a reason to keep them around. Not sure how either makes the 53, unless there’s a serious injury or Miami keeps more linemen than expected. (Okpalaugo could make the practice squad.)
Derrick Shelby, Vaughn Martin and probably Kheeston Randall are poised to be the top backups, besides – obviously – Randy Starks (if Jared Odrick starts, as expected) and Dion Jordan. But Randall needs a strong close to camp.
### Quick aside: As @davehydesports noted earlier today, three members of the 1972 Dolphins have declined their White House invitations Tuesday because they disagree politically with this administration: Manny Fernandez, Bob Kuechenberg and Jim Langer.