Takeaways from day 14 of Miami spring football practice

Offensive Coordinator Josh Gattis defends third-year sophomore wide receiver Key’Shawn Smith during drills at the Greentree Practice Fields on March 11, 2022.
Offensive Coordinator Josh Gattis defends third-year sophomore wide receiver Key’Shawn Smith during drills at the Greentree Practice Fields on March 11, 2022. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Miami concluded its final practice before its annual spring game on Saturday, followed by a media availability with head coach Mario Cristobal, offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, as well as freshmen Jacurri Brown, Cyrus Moss and Jaleel Skinner. Transfers Frank Ladson Jr. and Logan Sagapolu also spoke to the media after practice.

Here are some takeaways and highlights from day 14 of UM’s spring practices.

1. Multiple local high schools in attendance

Players from Miami Edison High School and Saint Thomas Aquinas High School attended UM’s practice on Thursday.

Headlining these athletes was Miami Edison class of 2023 wide receiver Nathaniel Joseph, who was a 2020 Miami Herald All-Dade 5A IND first-team selection on offense. Joseph is committed to Clemson, but the 5-foot-8 speedster is still receiving interest from the Hurricanes.

Veteran defenders Avery Huff and Al Blades Jr. headline the Saint Thomas alumi on the Hurricanes’ roster.

2. Solid day for wide receivers

Multiple UM wideouts came down with impressive receptions during the media-viewing portion of practice, most notably third-year receiver Xavier Restrepo, who reeled in numerous tough catches. Restrepo did a fantastic job of getting both feet in-bounds on these occasions.

Ladson also showed off his spatial awareness by getting both feet in-bounds on a toe-dragging catch in the back of the end zone during individual drills.

3. Josh Gattis surprised with Broyles Award

While answering his first question during Thursday’s media availability, Gattis was awarded his trophy for winning last season’s Broyles Award at Michigan. The Broyles Award is given annually to honor the best assistant coach in college football.

In 2021, Gattis led a Michigan offense that ranked 19th and 15th nationally in total yards and rushing yards per game, respectively.

4. Jacurri Brown gaining confidence within Miami’s offense

Brown, who enrolled early as a freshman this spring, has seen his role increase throughout Miami’s spring practices. The first-year quarterback from Valdosta, Ga. initially took mental reps behind returnees Tyler Van Dyke and Jake Garcia before earning playing time with the second-team in some of the later practices of the spring.

“Those mental reps really helped, so then when I got in it was like a breeze,” Brown said. “

5. Spring Football Game format made known

Miami’s annual spring game, format-wise, has changed many times under numerous coaching regimes. Cristobal prefers more of a game-like spring game, at least for the start of it.

“It’ll be offense versus defense,” Cristobal said. “We’ll start off with a kick-off.”

UM’s 2022 Spring Football Game will be held at DRV Pink Stadium on Saturday at noon.