Football: Scrimmage highlights QB battle

Approximately 7,000 fans filed into the Orange Bowl Saturday morning to catch a glimpse of the 2007 Miami Hurricanes, under the direction of new Head Coach Randy Shannon. However, what they saw was very familiar, low scoring affair. The Orange squad defeated the White, 7-0.

The talk of the scrimage was the battle over who would start at quarterback in the fall under center. Shannon has sought to cool off the quarterback controversy by preventing both Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman from speaking to the press until the summer.

With the opportunity to take the No. 1 spot with a good performance, neither Wright nor Freeman shined.

Wright led the lone scoring drive, a touchdown strike to Sam Shields with five seconds remaining in the half. However, Wright didn’t account for much else, hitting only 50 percent of his passes and averaging 8.57 yards per completion.

Freeman seemed to take a step forward in the scrimmage, hitting on three completions over 15 yards, including a 41-yard bomb to wide receiver Khalil Jones. However, it was a step back on the very next play, as Freeman was picked off by defensive back Chavez Grant.

The outlook wasn’t any better on the ground, as the defense stuffed four different running backs. The leader was Charlie Jones, who got 39 yards on 11 attempts. The backs only averaged 1.48 yards per carry.

One worrisome note for the backfield is the health of Javarris James. The sophomore and cousin of former ‘Cane Edgerrin James only carried the ball five times, and left the field in the fourth quarter on crutches. His ankle was sprained during the practice.

As the score shows, the day was dominated by defense, with Calais Campbell leading the charge with three sacks.

“I started kind of slow, but then I started getting it turned on. Coach pulled me out, he was like, ‘Let them boys get more reps,'” Campbell said. “I think if I would have stayed in there at the end a little more, I could have made a couple plays.”

The event wasn’t all about the game, as quarterback recruit Robert Marve of Tampa Plant High School walked around the stands, greeting hundreds of fans and signing even more autographs.

“I love [the fans], I’m really happy to be here,” Marve said. “I’m really looking forward to next year.”

The coaching staff made it a point to mention that the spring game is for the fans; the game plan was simplified.

“Next fall we will scheme teams and get into our offense and have some fun with it,” said new offensive coordinator Patrick Nix. “Today was not about that.”

Shannon and his staff have earned a reputation of being close to the vest since taking control in January, not setting a depth chart and attempting to get all players equal repetitions. That trend looks to continue beyond the spring practices.

Matthew Bunch may be contacted at