The Hurricanes' first spring scrimmage is over, and Canes fans finally got to see their three scholarship quarterbacks -- minus the sidelined Stephen Morris, who is recuperating from back surgery; and minus signee David Thompson, who won't arrive until the fall (that is, if he doesn't choose professional baseball instead).
Ryan Williams did an admirable job, and publicly proved he will be competition for Morris.This was not a spring game-type scrimmage. It was situational, and very choppy with preplanned segments, such as goal-line and two-minute drill stuff. But Williams did move the chains, and he had some nice throws with good touch. That's not to say he didn't have some overthrows and the like, but I'd give thumbs up to his performance -- 14 of 21 for 228 yards and four touchdowns.
We really don't get to see much of practice (once a week and for 10-15 minutes), so we haven't seen Williams in action. His arm does not appear to be as strong as Morris' (I didn't say Williams has a weak arm, just that Morris has a stronger one) It's just an observation, nothing more. Don't read anything else into it. Williams' favorite former Cane, Ken Dorsey, (No. 11, just like Williams), was not known for a powerful arm.
The young quarterbacks need lots more work, but that was expected. They didn't arrive that long ago from high school. However, Gray Crow clearly looks better than Preston Dewey. Maybe Dewey was just nervous, but he did not look good. We'll see. It's only one scrimmage.
Receivers Rashawn Scott, Phillip Dorsett and yes, senior Kendal Thompkins, had good days today. Thompkins, who has had a frustrating career at UM, is a fifth-year senior out of Miami Northwestern High. He always seems to shine in scrimmages, then disappear during the season.
"He made some good catches,'' offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said of Thompkins. "I mean, [he] scored on the first touchdown, or whatever, once we were moving the ball. "He made some nice plays. Kendal has done a good job. He’s got to keep competing. He’s got to show up. I keep telling him: 'Keep showing up, keep showing up, keep showing up. keep making plays.
'Right now you can’t be just kind of a play here, play there.. you’ve got to be a consistent playmaker.'''
This, from Thompkins: "Everyday it's important to show the coaches what you've got.''
Thompkins said of his past four years: "It's been frustrating but it's been a learning experience. I can't complain because I felt I learned a lot.''
Before I forget, Coach Al Golden lauded backup offensive linemen Ereck Flowers, Taylor Gadbois, Jared Wheeler, Ben Jones and Jeremy Lewis.
Some other observations:
* Tight end Clive Walford has tons of talent. But again, Fisch said that coaches are looking for consistency from Walford.
*Mike James looked mighty fast sprinting down the right sideline for a 55-yard touchdown.
*The DBs made some nice stops, including a great defensive play by S Andrew Swasey, who prevented Thompkins from catching a long pass from Williams.
*Defenders dropped at least two would-be interceptions. The balls were basically thrown right to them.
* The Canes fumbled way too many times -- at least four times, from my count.
* The artificial turf was dangerously slippery Saturday at Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah. Guys slipped several times.
Now, the injuries:
* Defensive end Anthony Chickillo, a star-in-the-making and one of the most enthusiastic and loyal Hurricanes, hurt his back last Thursday during practice. I was told by a couple of sources that he will not need surgery. However, he is expected to be out for an extended period of time. The sources told me he will miss the rest of spring. Knowing Chick, he's already dying to get back on the field. Coach Al Golden downplayed the injury, saying of Chickillo, "He got a little pull. Hopefully he'll be back Tuesday.''
* Former offensive tackle Jon Feliciano, who is now playing guard, hurt his right knee today when he was pulling and hit safety Ray-Ray Armstrong, before Eduardo Clements got hit in the back and fell into Feliciano's knee. "Hopefully it's just a sprain,'' said Feliciano, who had a big bag of ice over it, and then thick wrapping. "I'll just keep some ice on it and see how it goes.''
Feliciano said the Canes did "pretty well'' during the scrimmage, but "we got a little winded. We'll have to work on that.''
* Right tackle Seantrel Henderson hurt his right knee during the scrimmage, and it was examined closely by the trainer and team doctor. He eventually went back in. "I kind of hurt it a little bit. I just tweaked it a little bit,'' Henderson said. "But it's fine. I felt better once I went back in.''
* Tight end Dyron Dye was examined for an injury. Brian "The Beast'' London tweeted that he injured his finger.
The next practice is Tuesday at Greentree Field. The next scrimmage is at 6:45 p.m. Friday in Fort Myers.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN