UM kicked off its fourth week of spring practice at the Greentree Practice Fields on Tuesday, followed by a media availability with cornerback Te’Cory Couch, linebacker Keontra Smith and wide receivers Xavier Restrepo and Jacolby George.
Here are some takeaways and highlights from day 10 of Miami’s spring practices.
1. Jacurri Brown received reps with second-team
The freshman Brown, who has taken mostly mental reps throughout spring practices while quarterbacks Jake Garcia and Tyler Van Dyke participate in 11-on-11s, was substituted for Garcia at one point and ran multiple plays with the second team.
The highlight of Brown’s day was earlier in practice when he delivered a beautiful deep pass to Restrepo in stride during an isolated wide receivers versus defensive backs drill.
2. Xavier Restrepo leading wide receiver room
Restrepo has been one of the more consistent and productive receivers throughout spring practices for Miami, receiving playing time predominantly with the first team. The third-year South Florida native has also emerged as a leader for the rest of the Hurricanes’ wide receivers in the absence of the departing Mike Harley and Charleston Rambo.
“As soon as the older guys left last year, I immediately took charge,” Restrepo said. “I feel like it was kind of natural … As soon as they left, it picked up naturally.”
3. Defense impressed throughout Saturday’s scrimmage
Updates on what transpired during Miami’s closed scrimmage on Saturday have been released through soundbites from players and coaches.
On which unit was most impressive:
“The day went to them, they came out with a lot of juice,” Miami head coach Mario Cristobal told Miami Athletics following the scrimmage. “The offense scored a couple times and pounded it out a little bit, but the defense — they forced a lot of 3-and-outs.”
On the interception Keontra Smith recorded:
“I just did my job. I read the play and the ball ended up in my hands,” Smith said.
4. Jaleel Skinner continued string of good practices
The freshman tight end from Bradenton, Florida continued his strong spring on Tuesday, catching multiple passes during the media-viewing portion of 11-on-11s.
Skinner’s most impressive reception came on a deep pass from Garcia, reeling in the spriral on the fingertips of his outstretched arms.
5. Players being taught to tackle differently than before
Miami’s tackling issues last season were no secret. The Hurricanes were graded as the third-worst tackling team in the country in 2021, according to Pro Football Focus.
Cristobal and the rest of UM’s mostly new coaching staff look to change that.
“[Tackling under the new coaching regime] is a different technique,” Couch said. “We’re tackling a whole lot better.”