I'm sending your way the comments I got from quarterbacks Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris, plus what UM football coach Al Golden had to say after the scrimmage.
Here you go.
On the scrimmage overall: "It was very nice. We had a chance to showcase some of the talent we have. Everybody did good. The o-line blocked well, running backss took care of the ball and receivers made some big plays. We wanted to just show the fans and community everything we have in store for them."
Is it motivating to have a crowd like this in Palm Beach County? It’s very motivating. I think they’ve been waiting on this for a while now. I don’t remember the last time we came this far for a practice or anything so it’s good to show some love to the people who support us. We just want to thank them for coming out and supporting us."
What does it do for you as a quarterback to to have options like your three running backs? "It puts a big smile on your face. You go out there, you complete a three-yard pass and then you hand the ball off and they break for 70 yards. It puts a big smile on your face because 1. You don’t have to be on the field too long; 2. You’re going to score quickly...
"We’ve just got to take care of our.. We’ve got to do better in the red zone. Today we didn’t do too well in the red zone, we didn’t take care of business down there. But we’ll get better. We drove up and down the field easily. We just have to take care of the short yardage and red-zone things."
How do you think you did, Jacory? "It wasn’t… I did good. I did pretty good, but as a team I felt like the guys took care of what I had to do on the field with my teammates, whether I was with the 1s or the 2s. we just went in there and had fun and moved the ball."
What was it like playing in front of a crowd again? "It is different from a practice. This reminds me of my high school days. This is how our practices used to look in high school. It’s kind of different because now you’ve got the stands involved and now you can actually see how many people are here rather than just people standing on the sideline. It’s always exciting playing in front of a crowd."
Do you want to air it out? "I’m comfortable with the way coach Fisch is calling plays. Stephen got a chance to hit a shot down the middle of the field to Travis. But we just dinked and dunked things, just took care of business and drove down the field. I feel like this: We’re just going to put it in our playmakers’ hands and let them do the work."
On UM's three talented running backs: "I think that’s the best thing about this offense really. We have so much skill and so much talent especially if you single out the running backs. It puts the defense on their toes. We have shifty Lamar, Storm and even Mike. You’ve seen Mike. He stuck his foot in the ground and got going. He’s a great guy."
How do you think you did in particular? "Overall I felt like I did OK, but there were a lot of things I was watching film on in the past weeks or so, things I just want to get better at: ball placement, little intangibles with your footwork. Overall I felt like I did good. We have two and a half more weeks to keep going and get better and we have all summer."
And the Palm Beach County Crowd? It was fun with the crowd. The fans came out and they energized us and kept us going and it was just a lot of fun."
COACH AL GOLDEN
On Palm Beach County crowd: "It speaks to what’s out there in terms of this program and what the expectations are and what people want to see from the Miami Hurricanes. A great thanks to all those guys who came out today. It’s a good turnout – you know, it’s a scrimmage. I’m pleased with that and our guys reacted based on that, which is nice."
You’ve opened up 2 practices, and 3 scrimmages, you comfortable with that? " It’s the lesser of two evils at this point. For us we have to get back and get out in the community and make sure we’re out there from an outreach standpoint and most particularly from a community and recruiting standpoint. It doesn’t bother me. there will be obviously time to reel it in in august but right now I want to make sure we’re out and about."
Difference with people watching? "Today was different. I thought for a first scrimmage not a lot of mental errors. Correct me if I’m wrong but did we have a turnover today? We didn’t have many penalties so that’s pretty good for a first start. Now we don’t understand the tempo and we’re not going to be at the conditioning level that we’re going to be at in August, but we’re making progress, so I thought it was a good start. I told the team, the offense moved the ball, we stalled a couple times in the red zone. Some unforced errors there, some penalties, two sacks that took points off the board. We’ve got to learn from that, but the defense was very good in the red zone and short yardage today. And obviously we got about 50 reps for our 1s and 2s to get them on film and evaluate."
Running game was great today. Your running backs can run and catch. Comment on that versatility? "Again, we have talent there and we have to find ways to get them the ball. We have Jedd, who is really coaching the heck out of them and having the quarterbacks see them and know that they’re part of the progression because they’re easy yards. It’s our job as coaches to put our best players in position to make plays and I think they did that today. and as I said I think to you guys on Thursday, that Michael James is a really good football player. He’s just not a hard-working tough guy that [inaudible]; he’s a good football player, so I’m excited about him."
Observations? "I see it like you see it. I thought we moved the ball well. I thought both quarterbacks made good decisions. Obviously Travis Benjamin did some good things. Clive looks like he’s going to be a factor for us at tight end so that’s exciting.
"On defense I think that Futch is starting to settle in a little bit more. He’s looking better. There’s a whole slew of other guys. I’m watching tape and reserving that and when I visit with you on Tuesday I’ll have a better idea.
Would you like to do this in Palm Beach County again? "We have to. This is who we are. We’ve got to be out here. We’ve got to do a great job in these three counties. We’re not going to do it this year but maybe it’s here, maybe it’s at a new place -- I don’t know. But we’re going to continue our commitment to the coaches and of course we probably had 75 or 80 Palm Beach County coaches out here before practice, which is great, and you saw them on the sidelines. I keep saying it. We’re South Florida’s team, and we’ve got to get back to being South Florida’s team."
You have some injuries [from before]. Did that hold you back? "I thought we got a lot done. if a young man gets injured at this point it’s an opportunity for somebody. There are not too many guys I would say.. the guys we think for sure are done for spring we’ve released to you. We’re going to have a better evaluation coming out of this. But again it was crisp. There weren’t a lot of guys carted off. So I think the guys are in shape.. I think [andreu] swasey did a great job with that, he and his staff. In terms of the injuries, we always look at it like, just coach the guys that you have and when those guys come back you’re better off as a team."
It didn’t seem like you aired it out a lot: "We just didn’t want to go back to just.. I want to be able to take shots down the field, and I know Jedd does too. But we just didn’t want to come out and start taking a bunch of shots and now we come out of here and we’re 25 percent with 3 interceptions. We didn’t want to do that so get the quarterback going, get the running backs and tight ends involved. I thought we caught some slants pretty good today. Street caught a good one, Byrd caught a good one. That’s something we didn’t necessarily do a year ago is catch really good slants where it's catch-hit, catch-hit. So I thought they did that. We’ll continue to develop the down-the-field game as spring evolves."
On short passes: "I thought our quarterbacks have done an excellent job buying into that phase of it. You see it’s a 5-yard catch and an 18-yard run, but it goes in the books as 23. And that’s what our kids have got to learn."
That's it, everyone!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
--SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN