The Canes have their first day off Tuesday and will conduct their first scrimmage of camp Wednesday. After the scrimmage, which will be closed and in a controlled format, coaches will cut the quarterback competition down to two players, Golden said.
Graduate transfer Jake Heaps and true freshman Brad Kaaya have taken most of the first-team reps, and are believed to be the two frontrunners for the starting job. Golden indicated Monday he’d have no qualms playing Kaaya in the opener at Louisville should he emerge the better performer.
How tight is QB battle going into that scrimmage?
Golden: “Man, it’s tight. It’s tight. … It’s just unbelievable when you think about it. Couple weeks ago, it was three guys who we hadn’t seen, you know? Really. They squeezed it down pretty good. It’s a heck of a battle, and I’m excited by their work ethic, their commitment to this team, how much they’re learning and clearly, you guys know, there’s execution going on. The balls aren’t on the ground a lot. So that’s good. And we’ll see how it plays out. I mean … I thought it was going to be a little easier to narrow it down to two by Thursday, but it’s going to be tricky. We’ll just play it by ear over the next three days and see what happens.”
With Brad, is there anything he shows you that makes you think he couldn’t handle at Louisville?
Golden: "Zero. Zero percent. Poise, maturity, confidence, self-assured. And you know, a guy that turned a program around in his league and won a whole bunch in a row. Good leader right now, finding the reads he needs to find. Doing what he needs to do. Good start for him. We’ll get the bullets flying on Wednesday. It’s going to be a great challenge for all our quarterbacks.”
*** Despite the "Knock on wood'' phrase being tossed around freely Sunday while talking to Miami coach Al Golden and defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio about no new injuries in fall camp the past week, the situation was less bright Monday morning -- the first session of this year's first two-a-day.
Two first-team offensive linemen wore red jerseys in practice, signifying injuries and no contact.
The players: freshman right tackle Kc McDermott, the younger brother of center Shane McDermott, and senior left guard Jon Feliciano.
Taking their places were freshman Trevor Darling at right tackle and junior Hunter Wells at left guard. By the afternoon, Darling and Wells wore the orange jersey of first-teamers and McDermott and Felciano were still sidelined.
*** Additionally, freshman running back Joe Yearby was accompanied off the field by trainer Vinny Scavo at 9:30 a.m.
Yearby, who sustained a broken fibula above his left ankle Nov. 30, had a bag of ice taped to his left ankle and he missed the rest of the morning session, but was full go in the afternoon.
“He did great this afternoon so he’s doing good,’’ Golden said. “We’re just going to make sure we’re prudent with it…He’s a little bit behind Duke [Johnson] in terms of when [the injury] took place. So, from that standpoint, he’s still trying to catch up. But he’s fine.’’
***The biggest celebration of the morning was enjoyed by the defense after linebacker Thurston Armbrister picked off Jake Heaps near the end of the morning sessLon. The ball was intended for receiver Malcolm Lewis.
***Wearing the first-team black jerseys on the defense Monday morning: DE Anthony Chickillo, LB Raphael Kirby, DT Calvin Heurtelou (DT Earl Moore wasn't wearing the black Monday, nor were LB Darrion Owens and freshman DE Trent Harris), S Dallas Crawford, CB Antonio Crawford and LB Denzel Perryman
*** Wearing the first-team orange jerseys on the offense Monday morning: WR Phillip Dorsett, LT Ereck Flowers, RG Danny Isidora, FB Ronnie Regula, TE Beau Sandland, TE Clive Walford, WR Rashawn Scott, C Shane McDermott and RB Duke Johnson.
*** First-team quarterbacks were Brad Kaaya and Jake Heaps, with Ryan Williams coming in for a short stint and even rolling out. Near the end of the morning session, Heaps threw two nice, deep consecutive completions to Dorsett and Sandland. Kaaya continues to look really good.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN