Takeaways from day two of Miami spring football practice

Third-year wide receiver Xavier Restrepo during the stretching portion of spring practice at Greentree Practice Fields in Coral Gables on March 9, 2022.
Third-year wide receiver Xavier Restrepo during the stretching portion of spring practice at Greentree Practice Fields in Coral Gables on March 9, 2022.

Miami football’s spring practice continued Wednesday morning and was followed by a media availability with Miami offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis, sophomore tight end Elijah Arroyo, fifth-year tight end Will Mallory and fourth-year offensive tackle Zion Nelson.

Here are some takeaways and highlights from UM’s second day of spring practice.

1. Josh Gattis is a tremendous teacher

The reigning winner of the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant coach in college football, worked predominantly with Miami’s wide receivers throughout UM’s first two days of spring practice.

“We practice at a very high level,” Gattis said. “It’s all about effort, intensity [and] fundamentals.”

Gattis was very attentive to the details of the players in his position group throughout drills, often pointing out the areas in which each player could improve.

2. Al Blades Jr. showed off ball-skills

Blades recorded an interception in the scrimmage portion of practice off a tipped pass.

The Fort Lauderdale native appeared in the first four games of last season before missing the rest of the season because of health issues, recording four tackles. Blades has four career interceptions over his four seasons with the Hurricanes.

3. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele worked predominantly with defensive backs

Steele led Miami’s defensive backs throughout much of Wednesday’s position drills, shouting out orders and correcting errors made by players.

Serving as a defensive backs coach at Tennessee (1987-1988), Steele has a firm grasp of the expectations that come with coaching the cornerback and safety positions.

4. Miami’s tight-end room has mix of talent and depth

With the return of Mallory and Arroyo, along with the addition of highly touted recruit Jaleel Skinner, expectations are high for UM’s tight-end unit.

Wednesday’s practice showed a glimpse of what this position group is capable of, with Skinner most notably catching multiple passes in only his second collegiate practice.

“Since I’ve been here, this is the most talented depth that we’ve had,” Mallory said.

5. UM’s offseason program receiving positive feedback from players

Miami’s offseason program has undergone a revamp from that of years prior, much to the players’ avail.

“Workouts are a bit more football-based,” Nelson said. “It’s a little more geared on translating the workouts to the field.”

Arroyo, who mentioned that he has added muscle and trimmed fat since last season, has also been impressed.

“They did a good job keeping us in shape,” Arroyo said. “The workouts we had were efficient.”