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Sunday's scrimmage will have game-day feel

CORAL GABLES -- After 10 practices in eight days, University of Miami football coach Al Golden said he's going to treat Sunday's scrimmage -- the first of fall camp -- as close to a game-day situation as possible.

Al Golden Not only will his assistants be up in lifts to simulate game-day operations in stadium booths, players will be wearing game-day uniforms and first and second team players will be getting the bulk of the snaps. About the only thing the scrimmage won't have: punts.

"We're hoping to get 50 plays for the 1's and 2's, another 12-15 for the 3's and 4's," Golden said Saturday morning before the first of two practices.

"We'd like to get everybody on film, give everybody an opportunity to compete. We'll have some of the 2's run with the 1's; we'll have some of the 3's run with the 2's -- wherever we think is a competitive situation. We'll put the ball in all kinds of different situations so we get everything on tape -- short yardage, goal line, backed up. There will be two-minute period, that type of thing."

Golden, who earlier this week said he wouldn't name a starting quarterback until after the team's second scrimmage on Aug. 22, said Sunday's practice game will count more toward winning starting jobs across the board than regular practices.

"Not that they should have anxiety, but it should feel like a test," Golden said. "We're trying to get them to perform, to free up and trust their technique and trust what they've learned and go out there and perform and execute. It should feel different when they prepare tonight. It should feel different when they come over in the morning. We put uniforms on them just to make sure they know it is different."

There will even be a crowd in attendance -- recruits and commitments, who along with family members will be special guests for the scrimmage. Golden said some coaches might not want to open scrimmages to outsiders, "but we want them to see who we are, how we coach, how our team reacts, all those things."

"It will be about as close as you can get to actually being here as a student-athlete," Golden said. "Because it's very real. It's not like we're over there talking to them every minute of the day. We're out there coaching, running the scrimmage and they're watching. They'll have a chance to meet some players, have a meal with the guys, get around our deans and professors and be around our student-athletes, which will be good."

> Golden said tight ends Chase Ford and Blake Ayles are the only players he expects to be held out of Sunday's scrimmage because of injury.

> Golden said freshman defensive end Anthony Chickillo, who was wearing a non-contact yellow jersey Saturday, should be okay to play in Sunday's scrimmage. Cornerback Brandon McGee, who has won a yellow jersey for two straight days, is likely questionable.

> Receiver LaRon Byrd, who was wearing a yellow jersey Friday, practiced normally Saturday.


> Golden said the thing that's been most impressive to him about this training camp is that the entire playbook has been installed on both offense and defense after just eight days.

"We had an eight-day aggressive install," Golden said. "You can't do that with a team that didn't prepare or study independently over the summer. We have most of it in, are actually scaling back for the scrimmage and then will go back and try to refine some things next week. It will be a limited package; we don't want a lot of mental errors, a lot of moving parts. We want them to go out and see who is improved."

> Although he won't say Dalton Botts has won the starting job at punter yet, it's clear the redshirt sophomore has distanced himself from the competition. Botts has been wearing a black jersey (worn by starters and leaders) since midweek. 

"I'm hoping someone will come up and really challenge him in the next 10 days," Golden said.

As for the kickoffs and placement kicks, Golden said, those "are too close to call right now."

> Golden hasn't allowed any freshmen to talk with reporters since camp opened, but that could change soon.

"It's not really that I'm not allowing them to talk. I'm trying to let them get in," Golden said. "This is a grind. Literally the last day they had summer school they started camp. I'm sure we'll sit down and give [media] access before we get going here. But this first week there was too much. Every minute they had they're either with a position coach or trying to learn the playbook."

Golden said he likes his freshmen class, "and all but one or two will be playing for us in some capacity. They're all in the mix."

> Running backs coach Terry Richardson doesn't have to worry about who his No. 1 and No. 2 options are. Lamar Miller and Mike James have clearly cemented themselves in those roles.

But the No. 3 job, which became open when Storm Johnson transferred to UCF this summer, remains an open competition between sophomore Eduardo Clements and redshirt freshman Darion Hall.

"I think it's going to come down to who is the better special teams guy," Richardson said. "They're both [Clements] and [Hall] getting the same amount of reps. So it'll come down to that."

Had incoming freshman Kevin Grooms not been held up by the NCAA Clearinghouse, one might only assume Grooms could have won the third-string job easily.

"Speed, quickness, playmaking ability," Richardson said when asked about what he likes about Grooms. "Being a young guy and just coming in he would have to grasp the offense. But he returned kicks, just scored so many different ways for his high school team.

"Right now, he's behind, has to get caught up if he comes in [this fall]. The longer it goes, he's behind and has to get up to speed."

> Offensive lineman Harland Gunn, defensive tackle Marcus Forston, quarterback Jacory Harris, cornerback Lee Chambers and linebacker Ramon Buchanan all served as player-coaches Saturday.