With more new pieces in place than most people could have imagined at the end of last season, the Hurricanes began their journey to the 2020 season with their first spring practice of the year.
The most identifiable presence on the field was new quarterback D’Eriq King, who was under close instruction of new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.
In the 25 minutes the media was able to view practice, we saw all five quarterbacks throw to wide receivers in controlled drills, as the team is not allowed to practice in pads until the third practice.
King, Tate Martell, N’Kosi Perry, Peyton Matocha and Tyler Van Dyke all participated in the throwing drills.
As we were asked to leave the field once the 25 minutes was up, the Hurricanes offense lined up in what can be assumed to be the first team offense, with King at quarterback, Cam’Ron Harris at running back, receivers Mark Pope, Dee Wiggins and Mike Harley, and tight end Will Mallory.
Receiver Jeremiah Payton, a redshirt freshman and former four-star recruit who only played in four games last season, made a few impressive catches during drills. At 6’1, 195 pounds, Payton could become a dangerous weapon for Miami on offense.
Tight ends Michael Irvin and Brevin Jordan were not present on the field. It was announced that Jordan would not be participating in spring practice as he rehabs his injury from last season.
Freshman Michael Redding III, who Diaz anticipated as not participating in spring practice, was out on Greentree running routes during the drills, but not catching any footballs. Redding III had what looked like a blue cast on his right wrist and wore a blue pinnie, indicating the injury.
Aside from the player personnel on the field, one of the most noticable differences was the up tempo pace at which the offensive drills were being run. Lashlee and new wide receivers coach Rob Likens, formerly the offensive coordinator at Arizona State, ran a high intensity practice.
“It’s already a high energy thing,” head coach Manny Diaz said. “The nature of the beast is that you have no choice but to be a high energy offense. The players knew it was on from our very first fast start drill. The difference in what a practice is. It’s a new experience.”
Lashlee and Likens could be heard yelling at their players multiple times during the 25 minutes we were watching.
“You’ve been throwing go-balls since 7th grade,” Lashlee said to his quarterbacks. “Every overthrown go-ball from here on out is five downs.”
“You did better than that in high school,” Likens said to freshman wide receiver Xavier Restrepo.
After practice, a noticeably more muscular Greg Rousseau spoke to the media about how challenging he anticipates it being for opposing offenses with playing alongside Temple grad transfer Quincy Roche. Rousseau and Roche will be joined by 6’5, 260 pound redshirt junior Jaelen Phillips. These three players will surely make it very difficult for offenses.
“Four guys on the defensive line going out there and they have to choose, so the more people that get doubled, the more on-on-one matchups in our defense completely, so that’s great always,” Rousseau said on the depth of talent at defensive end.