Good afternoon everyone!
I am nursing a pretty bad cold/sinus infection/sore throat -- overall sickness and sent correspondent David Furones to today's scrimmage at Traz Powell.
He was kind enough to write a recap for the blog, so read below for his take on the scrimmage. I'm going to try to sleep, as four hours a night is not working. I've been on
Sony Tennis while MIchelle Kaufman covers the NCAA hoops tourney, and will be back there tomorrow, hopefully, if I can get any sleep.
Here's David's scrimmage recap. He also kept stats on the sideline.
Hope you all have a great weekend.
I heard from a few folks that Stephen Morris struggled a bit today, but also that it was so windy that it was hard to tell how much was him, how much was the wind (and of course, how much was his receivers, rest of offense, etc.).
I also heard that young linebacker Alex Figueroa looks really good. And how can you not love Duke Johnson's quote (all the way down below) on a hit he took from Figueroa. Duke is the ultimate team player.
Please let us know what you thought of today's performance and who you thought did very well -- or who might have disappointed you.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
By David Furones
The UM football team took the field in front of fans
for the first time since the 2012 season finale at Duke.
About 4,000 fans came out to Traz Powell Stadium to
see the first of three spring scrimmages the Hurricanes will play. Coach Al Golden looked to get about 100 plays in, splitting them as evenly as he could between the first team and backups in an hour-and-a-half long scrimmage.
All in all, the scrimmage victor, if there even is
one, would have to be the defense.
Outside of goal-line reps, the Hurricane offense
only scored one touchdown, a three-yard pass from Stephen Morris to Herb
Waters, who was active with four catches for 40 yards.
Even on drives beginning beyond the 50-yard line,
the defense would hold the offense to field goal attempts. Projected starting
kicker Matt Goudis connected on all three of his attempts (37, 25, 49) while
walk-on Ricky Perez missed a pair of attempts from 49 and 50 yards out.
Morris was sporadic with his passing. In windy
conditions Saturday, he overthrew a few of his targets and toward the end of
the day began underthrowing almost as if he was overcompensating.
Overall, he completed 17 of 31 passes for 171 yards,
two touchdowns and two interceptions. Both Morris and Golden were pleased with
his decision-making despite some of the errant throws.
“Stephen’s sharp now,” Golden said. “I think we were
just a little bit off, but in terms of where the ball should go, Stephen was really on top of it today. He rushed a couple of throws, throws that weren’t as crisp as you’d like to be and he just sailed or was a little bit short on
depth, but in terms of his mind and knowing where the ball should go, I think he was right on. His completion percentage is really going to jump from this
scrimmage to the next one.”
Added Morris: “Overall, I feel like I did pretty
well. My reads were right, a couple of times I let my mechanics get to me, balls got a little high or a little too low. Those are all things that you can watch film and improve on.”
Morris’ first interception came on a ball tipped at
the line of scrimmage by defensive end Anthony Chickillo, who then got under it and caught it, and his second pick was an underthrow on a sideline pattern that
cornerback Antonio Crawford cut off on the last play of the scrimmage.
Morris hit junior college tight end transfer Beau
Sandland for a one-yard touchdown in goal-line drills. Running backs Duke Johnson and Danny Dillard ran for touchdowns in those same situations.
You couldn’t tell it was just a scrimmage by the
intensity the defense was playing with. Alex Figueroa set the hard-hitting tone early by knocking Johnson backward on a goal-line carry.
The defensive line was able to get a push up front
against a UM offensive line riddled by injury this spring with center Shane McDermott and guard Brandon Linder being held out. Kelvin Cain had 2.5 sacks,
and Dwayne Hoilett had a pair of sacks himself.
The Canes came out of the scrimmage relatively
healthy. The only apparent major injury came to fifth-year senior defensive end Dyron Dye, who’s moving back to his original position this season after playing tight
end the last two seasons. Dye was helped off the field with some type of leg injury (Achilles' related, possibly).
“I’m worried about Dyron Dye, but I’m just going to
reserve [judgment] until we know more,” Golden said. “Other than that, I think we’re fine.”
Phillip Dorsett also laid on the field for about a
minute after dropping a pass in the end zone, but he eventually got up on his
Post-game, Golden praised the work of redshirt
freshman guard Danny Isidora, who has cut his weight down to 308 pounds after coming in out of Weston Cypress Bay High School at 350. Isidora has been
working with the first team this spring with injuries on the offensive line.
Stephen Morris: 17 for 31, 171 yards, 2 TDs (one of
them in goal line drill), 2 INTs.
Ryan Williams: 7 for 14, 69 yards.
Gray Crow: 2 for 5, 16 yards.
Preston Dewey: 2 for 2, 16 yards
Duke Johnson: 8 carries, 54 yards; in goal line
drill: 4 carries, 5 yards, TD
Dallas Crawford: 12 carries, 54 yards; goal line:
carry, -1 yard
Danny Dillard: 8 carries, 18 yards; goal line:
carry, 2 yards, TD
Allen Hurns: 4 receptions, 45 yards
Herb Waters: 4 receptions 40 yards, TD
Phillip Dorsett: 4 receptions, 43 yards
Rashawn Scott: 3 receptions, 21 yards
Garrett Kidd: 3 receptions, 39 yards
Beau Sandland: 1 reception, 1 yard, TD
Sacks: Jelani Hamilton, Dwayne Hoilett (2), Jalen
Grimble, Kelvin Cain (2.5), Dequan Ivery (.5).
Interceptions: Anthony Chickillo, Antonio Crawford
Pass Deflection: Jimmy Gaines
Quotes (gathered by David)
Herb Waters on the offense: “We got a long way to
go, but we’re still getting better every day, so I can’t complain about that.”
On the velocity on Stephen Morris’ passes: “Since
last year, it feels like the ball got faster, so he’s getting stronger as we’re getting stronger.”
coordinator James Coley on his new team: “I love
everybody. From the players, to the strength coaches, to the assistant coaches, the kids, they give it their all. They’re hungry; they want to win. This is a
team that has a lot of potential.”
On what he wants to work on with offense: “I would say
finishing. It looks good the way the play is developing. Now we have to put that period at the end of that sentence. I love the explosive plays by the
receivers and the running backs. Let’s learn how to score. Let’s get strong in the red zone, in the tight zone. Let’s get in there.”
Stephen Morris on working with Coley: “I think the
biggest thing was he made the adjustments for us, and he really made himself available for the players and he really [was] just able to make this offense understandable for everybody, for us to pick up just so we could play fast.”
On the defense: “They just played fast, and they
played great. They were great tacklers today. The coverages were really good and really sound.”
Al Golden: “I think we learned a lot about some guys. Herb Waters stepped up; Dallas Crawford stepped up.”
On the defensive line: “There’s a good group of guys
that are back. I thought they played strong. I thought Olsen Pierre played strong, [Anthony Chickillo] played strong, Tyriq McCord showed up on the goal
On Alex Figueroa hit on Duke Johnson at goal line:
“You want to talk about setting the tone early, there’s a young man that said we’re going to sell out, and you can tell right now there wasn’t anybody here that wouldn’t look at that play and say, ‘That thing must mean a lot to that kid.’”
Duke Johnson on offense: “We’re coming together
pretty well. We’re missing three starting O-linemen. The guys that stepped into their place are doing a good job.”
On hit from Figueroa: “That’s what we need from the
defense. We need them to execute on the goal line like that. If we need them to show us how to do it, then that’s fine with me.”