5 from Juan: Observations from First Day of Dolphins Practice

Welcome guys and gals to something I’ll try to do once a week but figured it would be a good time to start my observations which will be about the first day of practice. These are going to be my thoughts and opinions sprinkled in with some facts from people that know or were actually at practice. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Tua thoughts:

Tua overall had a decent day as he did score some TDs like the long 60 yarder to Albert Wilson and another on a waggle to Shaheen where he looked off Baker with his eyes to fit it in there, he did have 2 interceptions on the day which people love to bring up. One interception was against AVG in a clear miscommunication with Shaheen where he was either between lobbing it up or coming back to the RB. The other was a pass that was described to me as lazy and batted at the line where Baker got the pick. 

Tua after practice talked at length about the differences between this year and last season with how much time he can spend with guys like eating with them and not having to go back home for a 2-hour zoom meeting like they had to do last year because of covid.When asked about the deep ball he talked about “getting everything down with guys, knowing where guys are going to be, and how they run certain routes..”. 

Sun-Sentinel reporter Omar Kelly and others have noted him taking the next step of leadership with bringing in guys to work out during the offseason, being a coach on the field, and even after practice where he mentioned “I got to get everyone together talk to the entire offense and I’ll just talk about our evaluation of the day you know how we started how it looks about the middle of practice and then how we finished on and you know I think overall we did pretty good obviously there’s always going to be things we need to brush up and cleanup.” All in all a good first step for Tua, that will give him things to pat himself in the back for while also giving him things to improve and work on. Remember this was all during install, which as our own Alfredo broke down, is just the Offense running the same play sometimes 3 or 4 times in a row with the Defense knowing exactly what’s coming.

Rookie Update:

We know Jaelan Phillips is playing OLB but a clip came out of him in a coverage drill and man did he look good. Phillips looks like a player ready to take on a huge workload as he looked fluid in pass defense sinking his hips and attacking the ball. Waddle as we’ll talk about next took full advantage of some guys being out and was all over the field and moving fast, like really fast. Holland is a rookie playing a position that usually requires a lot of communication which means he needs to know this defense well enough to not only know where he is lining up but also what the rest of the secondary has to do and how they align. Eichenberg having just been signed before the start of camp will probably has his shot to earn a job. Lastly Hunter Long who as more time passes, more people are standing up and realizing that he has legit talent and could really explode and be a top TE in the league.

Fuller leaves practice early

I can confirm Mando’s report of Fuller leaving practice early. Nobody seems to have seen him go down or even limp off the field, but it is something to monitor because of DVP and Preston starting on PUP. Other guys will have opportunities to impress like LBJ, Perry, Foster, Hollins, Albert, and even Waddle who’s probably the biggest benefactor in that he’s probably taking most of the snaps at WR. Wilson also seemed to take advantage on the 60 yard TD (a duck in some of the eyes of our fans) so these are names that based on the injury history of our top guys, will eventually be needed to not just play but also produce.

X showed up and practiced

After the bomb that X and his team dropped the night before the first practice, many assumed he would be pouting or working with less pep in his step, but I can report that he practiced with energy and showed no lack of professionalism with his on-field play. After the initial news hit It took me a while to get my thoughts together and I have to say that I feel the most for Byron Jones who had to withstand shots being thrown by a guy who’s opposite of him. I can report that X made it a fact to go and dap up Byron Jones before practice in front of the media.

Flores Song Selection

Can’t tell me nothing by Kanye west was the song used to start practice and to end it. The lyrics go like this:

We’ve seen in the past Flo send subliminal messages through his music selection but this one is as direct as can be IMO. Flores has press conferences every other day so look for his next interview on Thursday, July 29th, to be the one where he gets bombarded by Xavien Howard questions. Shocking that 2 days into camp and we already have so much to deal with and go through but this is the result of being a good team, something most fans this century have no experience with.

All in all, a positive first step for your 2021 Miami Dolphins but it’s only one of many that are going to be needed to get this team to where we all believe they should be, the playoffs. Till next time, Fins Up!

 

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Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes continue to roll with commitment of Isaiah Horton

The Miami Hurricanes have been on a recruiting tear the past couple of weeks. That continued on Wednesday as wide receiver Isaiah Horton committed to the program. A member of the class of 2022, he is a four-star receiver. He is the ninth overall wide receiver in the  2022 class, and the eighth overall player in his class from the state of Tennessee per the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

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In addition to Miami, he also had offers from the likes of Jackson State, Kentucky, Louisville, and LSU. Most recently, he took an unofficial visit to Tennessee.

As I watch his film, I see a wide receiver that has tremendous athletic ability. He plays best on the outside, and is able to use his athleticism to jump up and catch passes. In addition, he is very good at running after the catch. As soon as he gets the football, he turns up quickly and accelerates.

He is not the type of wide receiver that is going to beat you consistently with his speed. He will however be able to make contested catches with ease.

Horton was a key part of the Oakland  high school offensive attack. In 2020, he recorded 34 catches for 643 yards and seven touchdowns. His playmaking ability is on full display, and that is what I suspect he will bring to Miami.

With the types of quarterbacks that Miami is bringing in as well as the talented playmakers they are trying to surround the quarterbacks with, Horton is a good fit in that regard. He will definitely add to the 2022 class that is growing quickly with talent.

Currently, the 2022 Miami Hurricanes recruiting class is shaping up nicely. They have now moved up to 61st in the country, and 12th overall in the ACC per the 247Sports composite rankings. This class is really coming together nicely.

I will be intrigued to see who Miami adds next. Right now, they have a solid base to work with.

Miami Dolphins restructure Benardrick McKinney’s contract

Last week, I told anyone that listened how much I liked the Miami Dolphins trade for linebacker Benardrick Mckinney. I believe I said it was a good deal for both sides, and I thought that he was locked up under contract for a few years was beneficial for the team and could allow them to work on deals with some of the team’s other pending free agents. I was wrong! 

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the contract details were a little more than your typical everyday restructure.

 

Now, the first question I had after reading this is, “where will that fresh $4M worth of cap space go?”

Some might try to spin it as a bigger trade, probably for a certain quarterback to generate clicks and engagement. I won’t do that.

What I will say is that there are three in-house candidates:

All-pro cornerback Xavien Howard is seeking more guaranteed money, though the way he handled himself last night wasn’t the most professional. (It was well-written, I just would’ve preferred it be an email to the team or letter sent by Carrier Pigeon to Chris Grier’s office) Could that money be used to make Howard happy?

Emmanuel Ogbah, on the other hand, wants a new deal and has handled himself the right way. And let’s not forget tight end Mike Gesicki is in line to get paid, as well.

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Additionally, McKinney’s restructure made me wonder whether or not the Dolphins were already targeting a younger, cheaper linebacker via trade.

And let’s not forget, if Benardrick McKinney hits free agency, the Miami Dolphins would be in line for a compensatory pick. Something I reckon Chris Grier and the team knew when they made the trade several months ago. But again, I think what McKinney brings to the defense, WHEN HEALTHY, is deserving of a multi-year deal. However, with a birthday later this year and the age of 30 on the horizon, perhaps McKinney was never a long-term solution at middle linebacker?

As with anything in Miami Gardens, no one truly knows what Chris Grier and the Miami Dolphins are doing. But that won’t stop us all from speculating! I will update this article throughout the day with any important news and information regarding Dolphins linebacker Benardrick.

Enjoy day two of Miami Dolphins training camp!

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Miami Hurricanes: Two ‘Canes named preseason All-ACC selections

Two members of the Miami Hurricanes have been named preseason all-ACC selections. Safety Bubba Bolden and punter Lou Hedley were honored with the distinctions Tuesday.

It has been a busy couple of days for Bolden. Monday, he was named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List. He figures to be a major part of the Miami Hurricanes defense after having a solid season last year.

Bolden recorded 74 tackles in for forced fumbles last season. He was a defensive force for Miami, and figures to play the same role in 2021. With several big names no longer in the program, Bolden will have to step up and play at a high level in the fall.

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Hedley had a solid season in his own right and continue to deliver for Miami. He was named a Ray Guy Award finalist, and was also named to the All-ACC Second Team. With 47.2 yards per punt, he was as reliable as they come for Miami. He was a major part of the success of the special teams unit.`

When you look at these two players, a couple of things come to mind. For one, they are going to be crucial for Miami in 2021. Field position and strong defensive play are two things that can either win or lose a ballgame. Hedley and Bolden have done a good job at making their presence known in both areas.

Secondly, these two players are consistent. They have been able to bring consistency to Coral Gables ever since they got here. Now, they will have to continue that consistency for a Miami Hurricanes program looking to take the next step.

It will be interesting to see how these two perform in 2021. They have shown that they can play at a high level, and they will definitely play key roles in the success of the Miami Hurricanes for 2021.

Oklahoma and Texas want in on SEC

Since last week, it was rumored that the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma were interested in joining the Southeastern Conference. These rumors have become a reality as it was confirmed that they have been in discussion for the past six months. This week, the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma have also issued a joint statement that confirms they will be leaving the Big 12 Conference in 2025 and have requested invitations to join the SEC.

 

This includes letting their current media rights agreements expire. Considering Texas and Oklahoma are the Big 12’s two biggest football programs, this a huge blow to their conference and their future remains uncertain. 

 

While it’s humbling that everyone wants to come to the SEC as it’s often considered the most competitive conference in college football, it questions how unfair the lesser competition of other conferences will be. Let’s take a look at the ACC and Big Ten for example. Every year, Clemson and Ohio State have a clear and easy path to the college football playoff, as their regular season schedules are a lot easier than any team in the SEC. 

 

With the two possible additions of Oklahoma and Texas, the SEC will certainly become a super conference at this point, with a potential total of 16 teams! This will change college football as we know it, and could pave the way for other super conferences to develop in the near future.

Miami Hurricanes: Bubba Bolden named to Jim Thorpe Award Watch List

Award watch list season continues, and the Miami Hurricanes have another representative on a list released Monday. Safety Bubba Boldin was named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, which recognizes the best safety in college football.

This is Bolden’s second appearance on an award list, having been named to the  Bednarik Award Watch List as a candidate for the best defensive player.

Bolden looks to build off strong year

Bolden played well for Miami last season, recording 74 total tackles in 2020. He had several games in which he recorded multiple tackles, including a 13-tackle performance against UNC. He also recorded a sack on the year, and was one of the most physical defensive players for the Hurricanes. Perhaps most impressive out of all his statistics last season was the four forced fumbles on the year.

Now, he looks to be an integral part of the Miami defensive unit once again. He certainly brings a physical edge to the Miami defense. That physical edge is certainly welcome, and will be tested early. With the Miami Hurricanes opening against Alabama in Week 1 this will certainly be a test defensively. Despite Alabama losing several key players from last year, they should still be a relatively tough test

Bolden headlines a safety position that is talented but unproven. Names like James Williams will certainly have their time to shine. For now, it is going to be up to Bolden to lead the defense at the safety spot.

He certainly has as good a shot as anybody to win this award. For Bolden., it’s going to be more about consistency. If he can play consistent throughout the course of the season, he could be in line for some of these awards at the end of the year. His experience and play style will lend itself to playmaking opportunities. We have seen it throughout his Miami career, and 2021 should be no different.

Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes depth takes hit with Jalar Holley entering portal

Late Sunday night, a member of the Miami Hurricanes entered the transfer portal. Defensive tackle Jalar Holley entered the portal according to a report from 247Sports.

Holley played sparingly last season, appearing in three games. He tallied six tackles. The 2020 season was his first action of his collegiate career.

His best game last season came in the season finale against UNC. In that contest, he recorded three tackles.

Holley was a member of the class of 2019 and was a three-star prospect. A Georgia native, he was recruited by defensive line coach Jess Simpson. At the time, Holley was also recruited by the likes of Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Colorado, Nebraska, and Tennessee among others.

What does this mean for Miami? In terms of overall production, it doesn’t mean a whole lot. Holley was on the lower rungs of the depth chart last season. It would have been interesting to see where he ended up following camp this year.  This piece of news does mean Miami loses depth at the defensive tackle position. Depth is always important, especially at a position with as much physicality as defensive tackle.

The one big name the Miami Hurricanes lost at the defensive tackle spot at the end of last season was Jonathan Ford. Ford recorded 19 tackles and a sack and a half for Miami last season. All things considered, Miami made out pretty well at the defensive tackle position in terms of losses on that side of the ball the end of last year. The big loss was on the defensive end. Quincy Roche , Jaelan Phillips, and Gregory Rousseau were all  major hits for Miami.

The transfer portal is taking over the college football, and that is not a good thing. Fortunately, the Miami Hurricanes have enough depth on both sides of the football to not be as affected by it.

 

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Miami Hurricanes: Will Mallory named to John Mackey Award Watch List

Miami Hurricanes tight end Will Mallory was named to the 2021 John Mackey Award Watch List on Friday.

Mallory filled in a nice secondary role for Miami last season, as he formed a tandem with Brevin Jordan. He recorded 22 catches for 329 yards and four touchdowns last season. Mallory had many productive games last fall. He had some really good, productive games. One of those games included a two-catch 51-yard performance against Pittsburgh. Both those catches went for touchdowns.

He also played well against North Carolina State on November 6. In that contest, he recorded eight catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.

With Jordan out of the picture, Mallory may figure to play a bigger role for the Miami Hurricanes in the fall. I touched on it a little bit earlier in the week. Mallory has size and ability to run after the catch. That should bode well for him as D’Eriq King looks to play even better than he did in 2020. Instead of playing  the backup role, he will now take center stage.

There are some big-time names on this watch list, and Mallory will certainly have a chance to stand out from the rest of the pack. With how open the Miami Hurricanes want to make their offense, Mallory should be able to have plenty of balls thrown his way. Mallory should figure to be a key part of the Miami hurricanes offense, and it will be interesting to see how he takes over the starting role.

He has as good a shot as anybody to win this award. If he can continue to be a dependable target like he was last season, he has a very good shot. Consistent production from the tight end spot will be key for Miami if they want to contend with the elite of college football.

Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes land Justin Medlock as recruiting continues to roll

The recruiting momentum continues for the Miami Hurricanes, as Friday they landed a commitment from three-star linebacker Justin Medlock.

Medlock is the 48th overall linebacker and his class, and the 67th overall player in his class from the state of Texas per the 247Sports Composite Rankings. He was recruited to Miami by special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach Jonathan Patke.

Medlock and other schools on his radar as well. LSU, Ohio State, and Oklahoma were all vying for him. In the end, Miami won out.

This is a huge get for Miami at a position of need as well. The Miami Hurricanes need to continue stocking the linebacker position as that is one of need. They have struggled to develop the position itself, as well as get physical athletes . Medlock checks both boxes.

Medlock brings multiple things to Miami Hurricanes

What could he bring to the table for Miami in terms of play? He is a very physical player who is not afraid to do whatever it takes to win. That sounds cliché, but he can drop back in coverage as well as come up and stop the run. More and more, we are seeing players with versatility in college football. Medlock is certainly versatile.

He is also very strong in terms of pursuit. As soon as he identifies the ball carrier, he can come up and make a play with ease. He takes very good angles to the ball carrier, and that allows him to continue to be involved in the play. in terms of the Miami defense itself, I could see him excelling in stopping the run.

Miami ranked ninth in the ACC with 180.6 yards allowed per contest in 2020. That is certainly not the worst number, but it’s one that can be improved upon. Medlock should be able to help Miami build a strong run defense for the future. A key to success is continuing to build depth. That’s what Miami is doing here at the linebacker position

Currently Miami’s 2022 class ranks 75th overall nationally and 13th overall in the ACC per the 247Sports Team Rankings. This class has been on an upswing over the past couple of weeks, and I would expect more additions sooner rather than later.

This is another big get for the Miami Hurricanes. After a slow start to the 2022 class, this summer has been anything but slow.

Miami Hurricanes safety Avante Williams dismissed from program

Miami Hurricanes safety Avante Williams was arrested early Thursday morning for aggravated battery on a pregnant woman. Thursday evening, it was announced he was dismissed from the program.

A spokesperson from the University of Miami released a statement  Thursday morning  regarding the incident.

What does this mean for Miami Hurricanes?

Heading into the 2021 season, Williams was thought to be emerging part of the defensive rotation at safety. Miami does have depth at the position, which allows them to be able to weather the dismissal of Williams. Bubba Bolden, Amari Carter, and Gervin Hall are all veteran names that will definitely be slotted into the equation at safety.

With that being said, all three of those guys are upperclassman. Once they graduate, depth will be an issue. In that respect, this is a big blow for the Miami hurricanes football program. Williams was one of the top signees of the 2020 class, and he was going to be a staple in the defensive backfield for years to come.

Nevertheless, this is an issue that is much bigger than football.