ATLANTA - There were fumbles and mishaps and a few bright spots in between during Thursday night's scrimmage at Traz Powell Stadium for the University of Miami. For the most part, the Hurricanes' second scrimmage of the spring was not nearly as fluid as the first according to Herald Sports Writer Susan Miller Degnan.
I caught up with SMD, our veteran Canes beat reporter, while she was on her ride home from the stadium to get all the details on how it all went down. Here's what she shared...
> WHO WON: The defense. The offense was all out of sorts other than the running game. The quarterbacks were pressured. One of the differences between this week and last week was the offense's rhythm. There were some nice defensive hits and plays in the secondary, but there were turnovers Thursday -- something we didn't see much of on Saturday. Guys were recovering fumbles and causing them. The defense was very aggressive. In doing so, they upset the rhythm of the offense.
> WHO SCORED: Only three touchdowns in a little over 20 series. Running back Javarris James scored on a 7-yard run, receiver Leonard Hankerson scored a 25-yard pass from Jacory Harris (on a short series that began at the defense's 25) and freshman running back Mike James scored on an impressive 33-yard run near the end of the scrimmage. James looked good again. Kicker Jake Wieclaw also rebounded from his tough day on Saturday when he had field goals blocked. He made two short ones and also converted an extra point. Coach Randy Shannon was very encouraged by Wieclaw's day.
> WHO HAD A TOUGH DAY: Backup center Tyler Horne had a rough day snapping the ball to Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith and they need to get the center-quarterback exchange fixed. They just looked clumsy. Taylor Cook got stepped on once and fumbled at least twice. Cook looked worse than Cannon Smith at that. If Jacory Harris were to ever go down, you would need one player to come and know they can at least handoff and handle the snap. Cook has a better arm, but its more than just passing.
> OFFENSIVE MVP: Running back Graig Cooper. The running backs had a great day overall. But Cooper had over 100 yards rushing on about a dozen carries including a huge 38-yard run. He was impressive and just looked really fast. He would go into traffic and bounce out.
> TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYS: Among the best was a 43-yard pass from Taylor Cook to Leonard Hankerson down the right side of the field. While Shannon said Hankerson has been inconsistent, he had two nice long catches and it was good to see. Mike James had some really nice runs overall and is real strong, between the tackles. Javarris James had a 15-yard and 20-yard run back-to-back and he ran the ball at least six times on his scoring drive. Damien Berry had a few nice runs including a 17-yarder.
> DEFENSIVE MVP: Defensive end Steven Wesley. He had two fumble recoveries and a sack to lead a strong day for the defensive line. Linebacker Daryl Sharpton was good too. He had the most tackles (about 10) and deflected a pass that led to an interception.
> TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYS: Adewale Ojomo had three sacks and continued to do a good job rushing the quarterback. Linebacker Sean Spence had the interception on the pass deflected by Sharpton, Arthur Brown had another big hit in the backfield. Cornerback Brandon Harris tipped a ball away from Aldarius Johnson. And Sam Shields had a nice defensive play on Kendal Thompkins.
> BIGGEST SURPRISE: Walk on linebacker Sean Goldstein played on the second team and had a few tackles. There were several players out of the scrimmage because of class. That allowed Goldstein to shine.