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Coronavirus and Sports: Becoming Numb

I was going to write about Inter Miami, I really was. Maybe it would have been an upbeat preview about the “MLS Is Back” schedule reveal (Breakfast with Inter Miami vs. Chicago Fire at 9 a.m. on July 14, can you dig it?) or a more serious, ominous look at the league and its protocols as we are only 2 weeks away from the start of the first tournament in the United States after the pandemic.

But then I thought “AFTER the pandemic? We are barely during the pandemic, much less past it” and I discovered I’m sort of…detached? Nah, that’s not the word. I still follow the American sports landscape and want sports to be back. Shocked? That’s not it either, nothing that has happened the past three months has surprised me even a little, and that’s saying something. Numb? Yes, that’s it. I’m numb to the developments in the sports world nowadays, and I’m pretty sure other fans, writers and even players feel similarly.

I’m numb because I saw the news about 16 NBA players (the equivalent of an entire team’s roster, plus one) testing positive for COVID-19 and my reaction isn’t “Oh my, what if they backtrack and the season is cancelled?” It’s more like “I’m fine with whatever happens, I’m just waiting to see everyone freak out when a true superstar tests positive and [insert team here] has to play an entire series without him.”

I’m numb because “43 Division I teams have been eliminated in the last 12 weeks, and more than 130 programs have been cut across all NCAA levels”, and those kids weren’t earning millions of dollars, even as some of their coaches were and certainly their athletic departments are.

LOOKING FOR A SOLUTION

New Zealand is past the pandemic with tens of thousands gathering with joy to watch a rugby match most of them probably don’t remember the final score of. Europe is crowning champions as its cases are mostly going down (hello, Sweden, we see you) and fans celebrate the end of droughts in Liverpool and Naples as the ball keeps rolling with no apparent setbacks week after week.

Liverpool fans celebrate outside Anfield.

Even South America has soccer, but that’s because they don’t really give a shit in Brazil and they are bent on living like there is literally no tomorrow and they had the most new daily cases in the world on Thursday, June 25. Seems healthy.

Meanwhile, the United States of America is looking at itself in the mirror and wonders how it all went so wrong, so quickly after three months of sacrifices that were supposed to pave the way for sports to come back swiftly and smoothly.

We are Rachel and the Coronavirus is Ross asking: “OVER you? When were you UNDER me?” while we beat ourselves up wondering what went wrong and the President compares a deadly virus to the sniffles.

I’m numb because baseball is about to be back for a lightning round of games that promise to be exciting. Why am I not excited? I should be, with every game being three times as important and the potential of a repeat of that frantic 2011 finish of the regular season that gave every baseball fan a collective heart attack.

My heart rate is nowhere near skyrocketing, though. Some experts don’t even think the season will be able to finish.

I should be pumped to witness the start of the Tua era in Miami, but then I see that the Hall of Fame game between the Cowboys and the Steelers was cancelled and I’m bracing for what August and September might bring.

I’m even numb to the added crowd noise and the “virtual fans” we see at European soccer games. It’s background noise.

Maybe you read this and thought I spent 700 words being dramatic, and that’s ok. Maybe you will feel numb or jaded until 2021, and that’s ok too. Maybe this is just temporary, and everything feels a little alien after 100+ days of uncertainty and I will be all pumped up again in a couple of weeks when sports feel “real” again.

I will be waiting for that moment to come.

News

Miami Hurricanes

The South Florida Ravens Continue To Put In Work In Our Backyard

As the south Florida native, Antonio Brown, continues to try and make his way on a roster, he is working out here in South Florida. Today on Wednesday, April 1st, he worked out with the Ravens stars Lamar Jackson and Hollywood Brown.

Lamar grew up in Pompano Beach and Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Antonio’s cousin, grew up in Hollywood Florida. Alabama’s star receiver, Jerry Jeudy, was also working out with them who grew up in Deerfield beach Florida.

The Ravens also have guys like Calais Campbell and Gus Edwards who each played for the Miami Hurricanes. Baltimore’s star running back Mark Ingram also spends a lot of time in the offseason in South Florida.

With all of these South Florida ties, are the Ravens trying to add Antonio Brown or move up to draft Jerry Jeudy? Time can only tell if the South Florida Ravens will make it happen. The Miami Dolphins may not be on top, but South Florida players are.

FIU finally beats Miami, wins the city

The Florida International Panthers beating the Miami Hurricanes 30-24 may go down as the biggest upset in Miami sports history.

It was fitting that the game took place at the site of the Orange Bowl and FIU was led by the same head coach that built arguably the great college football team in history in Miami before leaving for the NFL in 2001.

“We did everything we can, when everybody says you can’t,” FIU coach Butch Davis said. “To be [three]-touchdown underdogs … if you believe that you can, then you can.”

This was like the greasers beating the socials for the soul of the city. The private school with the proud legacy fell to the public upstart with none. One school has five national championships and plays in a NFL stadium. The other school’s stadium has a seating capacity of 20,000 and can barely fill it.

FIU has four times the amount of students as UM, which is usually the case when it comes to comparing public and private schools. The college football system puts down half of the conferences and makes those teams disqualified from competing for the national championship. FIU fans have no hope of their team making it to the playoffs. UM fans expect it every season.

Like their students, the players grew up wanting to put on the orange and green before calling FIU their home. Yet despite the Hurricanes being the school that invented swagger, it was the Panthers who brought it to the field.

“That used to be our dream school,” said FIU kicker Jorge Borregales said., who converted 3-of-3 field goals — two of them from 50 yards or more. “Everybody knew Miami. Beating them today, it’s like, yeah, we’re here.”

“We wasn’t even calling them the University of Miami during the week,” FIU linebacker Sage Lewis said. “We were calling them the University of Coral Gables. We’re the true Miami school. We have more students internationally. We did it for the university and really for the world.”

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FIU set the tone of the game through defense. An interception by Stantley Thomas-Oliver III set up a field goal by Borregales giving the Panthers a 3-0 lead.

Morgan threw nine passes once he got the ball back, moving the chains the capping it off with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Shemar Thornton to go up 10-0.

The Hurricane’s next two drives ended on turnover on downs and the Panthers closed out the first half with a 50 yard field goal. The Panthers then started the second half with Davis intercepting Hurricanes quarterback Jarren Williams. Jamal Gates also got into the action with a pick of his own in the third quarter.

A field goal by Camden Price finally got the Hurricanes on the board with a 16-3 deficit going into the fourth quarter.

A touchdown pass from Morgan to Tony Gaiter IV extended the Panthers lead to 23-3 early in the fourth quarter. Gaiter celebrated his score with a member of the FIU Army ROTC.

The Hurricanes offense finally got clicking with three touchdowns in the game’s final 11 minutes. a 14-yard touchdown run by Cam’Ron Harris and 35-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Mark Pope put Miami within six points.

A touchdown run by FIU running back Anthony Jones put FIU out of reach with a 30-17 lead with 2:17 left in the game. The Hurricanes responded with a touchdown pass from Williams to Dee Wiggins but the onside kick attempt failed and the Panthers went into victory formation.

Manny Diaz is in his first year as head coach after three years as the defensive coordinator called the loss to FIU, “One of the darkest nights in this program’s history.” His Hurricanes are 0-3 after coming out of a bye week.

“We’ve got to do a lot better job getting our guys prepared for this kind of game,” Diaz said.

Diaz has heard the criticism from the fan base after starting the season 0-2 and not winning games in blowout fashion agains opponents that they don’t find to be in their level. Three straight wins quieted the fury and even had them thinking Orange Bowl but now it’s back and worse than ever.

“The noise is deserved,” Diaz said. “We need to get this fixed.”

Miami was never meant to have a rivalry with the likes of FIU and even Florida Atlantic. The first time UM and FIU played resulted in an infamous brawl that severed ties for a decade. The Hurricanes closed out the Orange Bowl in embarrassing fashion, losing 48–0 to Virginia in 2008. The old but iconic stadium was demolished to make way for Marlins Park but the Canes’ first game back on the sacred soil might have come with a much more sour taste.

As for FIU, this win might lead more of its student fans to feel confident in their football team and lend more support. Under Butch Davis, the Panthers are going to their third straight bowl game for the first time in program history. This may not be the only time the Panthers will be capable of beating the Hurricanes and that’s what must have Hurricane fans worried, especially the ones who didn’t go to FIU.

“I think it’s a rivalry after tonight,” Jones said.

Despite move to TE early in season, Njoku elects to transfer

Attrition continues for Manny Diaz’s program as redshirt-sophomore Evidence Njoku, who made the switch from wide receiver to tight end earlier this season, has decided to transfer out of the program. Njoku was not present at practice this morning. 

 

“He came to me and said he intends to transfer. He is a good young man and we wish him well wherever he ends up,” coach Manny Diaz added after practice.

Evidence finishes his UM career with one catch for 18 yards. Despite the switch, opportunities for the 6’6” Njoku to see the field were very slim considering the Canes are returning standout Brevin Jordan for at least one more season along with Will Mallory. He had been hoping to follow in the footsteps of many UM tight end greats before him, including his older brother David, who was a first-round draft pick in 2017. 

 

Njoku’s departure now leaves the team with five scholarship tight ends in Jordan, Mallory, Michael Irvin Jr., Brian Polendey, and Larry Hodges. Miami also has at least one more tight end coming in the next recruiting cycle with Naples High’s Dominic Mammarelli currently committed.

 

Jarren Williams, Hurricanes explode, embarrass Louisville

QB1 wasn’t done at one. Or two. Or three. Or four.

Or even five.

Jarren Williams, who won the Miami Hurricanes’ job in camp, looked impressive early in the season and then regressed as he struggled with a shoulder surgery, announced himself as the present and future of the program in Saturday’s 52-27 demolition of Louisville.

No one has ever thrown as many touchdowns for the Hurricanes in a game.

Not Bernie Kosar, Jim Kelly, Vinny Testaverde, Gino Torretta or even the immortal Kirby Freeman.

Only Deshaun Watson, then of Clemson, has thrown as many touchdowns in an ACC contest.

Sure, Williams’ protection was the best it’s been all season — the best it’s been for any quarterback here in years, actually. And yes, just about every receiver, especially Dee Wiggins, was consistently uncovered. Still, Williams had to make the throws, and did he ever. Again and again, he was on target, poised in the pocket and precise with his passes.

Williams’ brilliance lifted Miami to 6-4 in Manny Diaz’s first season, and 4-3 in the ACC. While the improvement of the overall team is undeniable, it’s still reasonable to wonder where the Hurricanes — now on a three-game win streak — would be if they had simply identified a competent kicker earlier in the season.

DeeJay Dallas and Cam’Ron Harris combined for 158 yards rushing.

Michael Harley and Wiggins combined for four of the touchdowns and more than 200 yards receiving.

Al Blades Jr. had an interception.

But the non-Jarren moment of the game was provided by celebrated underdog walk-on Jimmy Murphy, who recovered a fumble on a punt, tried to eat the turnover chain and broke it as Diaz cheered in the rain.

Miami finishes the regular season against FIU and Duke.  Then there will be a bowl game.

(For more, listen to 5 Rings Canes and Shula Bowl Podcast on the Five Reasons Sports Network. Photos by our Tony Capobianco.)

Miami Hurricanes: Should They Lock up the Chain?

The Miami Hurricanes suffered a demoralizing defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech Saturday 42-35 in front of a stunned crowd at Hard Rock Stadium.

Should the Hurricanes lock up the “Turnover Chain” and touchdown rings until they start locking up wins?

A furious comeback including 21 points in the final quarter was not enough. Miami fell to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in ACC play and will face an even tougher challenge when Virginia comes calling next weekend.

Jarren Williams came back to earth with a resounding thud against an opportunistic Bud Foster led defense. The long-time defensive coordinator is retiring after 33 seasons on the sidelines, but had one last knife twist for an old foe.

Williams went full Malik Rosier, hitting the bench after throwing three interceptions in the first half. Good news for Williams is that none of his seven pass attempts hit the ground, the other four were completed to the good guys.

For a grand total of 47 yards.

Miami fell down 28-0 early in the first half before N’ Kosi Perry did his best to salvage the game after replacing Williams but it was too little, too late. Perry finished with a career high 422 yards, completing 28 of 47 attempts with four TD and one pick.

Despite this effort Manny Diaz hinted that Williams would return to the starting role next week in his post game press conference.

Once again the Hurricanes running game was underutilized against a vulnerable Virginia Tech run defense.

DeeJay Dallas finished with just 66 yards on six carries, including a 62 yard run to put Miami in a position to take a late lead and steal the victory. Yet Dan Enos refused to call his number early when Williams was throwing the ball to the wrong team.

 

Put Away the Props

 

Manny Diaz brought the Turnover Chain to the program in 2017 and for a time the prop seemed to propel the defense. The Hurricanes added “Touchdown Rings” to the mix this year to balance things out.

Problem is, celebrating a score with prop jewelry when you are getting waxed rings hollow.

The great Miami Hurricanes teams didn’t need gimmicks, they knew they were better and just proved it week after week.

Miami lost the turnover battle 5-0 against Virginia Tech, if they would have snatched a couple chains early perhaps the momentum would swing back to the team in orange.

Virginia Tech has a beat up lunch box on the sidelines with a simple moniker: WIN. They packed a lunch today, and stole our lunch money in the process.

Until this Miami Hurricanes team learns the basics of winning football and stops making constant mental mistakes, the ice needs to be put on ice.

Bubba Baxa failed to make an extra point which would have put Miami up 36-35, another glaring miscue in a close game.

Get that man a platinum pinky ring next time he makes a clutch kick under 30 yards..

The offensive line is an abomination, giving up another seven sacks and allowing some crushing shots to Perry.

Maybe they should get an iced out watch so they know the snap count.

 

Miami Hurricanes beat (?) Central Michigan, 17-12

What is it about this field and the Hurricanes?

After the Miami Dolphins lost their first two games at Hard Rock Stadium by a combined 102-10, the Miami Hurricanes — the team that isn’t tanking — couldn’t possibly do anything that would be more disappointing, right?

Well….

The Hurricanes needed an interception by Al Blades Jr. to beat Central Michigan, 17-12.

Now they’re 2-2. But the record isn’t the point. It’s the way they’re playing. Thirteen penalties. No push in the running game. Few sustained drives. Relying on the defense to save them, even with Jarren Williams continuing to play well.

And after the game, the players seemed oddly happy about it.

Is this where we are as a football town?

Central Michigan?

Here are the tweets of note from the game….

The Miami Hurricanes were probably the only team in Miami with a realistic shot to a National Championship before the season started. But now… Who knows. 

However. Do not sleep on them. They can still make it to a great bowl – or not -, in the first year of the Manny Diaz era. We have the most complete coverage of the team. That is for sure, guys. 

If you want it in Spanish, we can also do that. Follow our Cinco Razones guys. And enjoy… 

There are still eight more games to be played… Go Canes!

Hurricanes Unable to Overcome Slow Start vs UNC

Battle of freshman quarterbacks one for the ages as the Hurricanes fall short on the road to North Carolina 28-25.

Manny Diaz and the Miami Hurricanes had a lot of time to think leading up to the game in Chapel Hill.

After a competitive loss to Florida in week zero, the Canes should have come out with a chip.

Instead the rust showed as Sam Howell led two quick scoring drives to put North Carolina up by 10 less than four minutes in. They would hold the lead most of the night as a late rally by the Hurricanes came up short.

No Doubt who is QB1

Dan Enos put the ball in Jarren Williams hands on the first drive with three straight pass calls.

Despite the aggressive play calling Miami went three-and-out.

Williams settled down midway through the first quarter and led the offense on a solid drive which ended with three points after Bubba Baxa put Miami on the board with a career long from 50 yards.

 

 

The Hurricanes run defense struggled in the first quarter and Howell took advantage of it, picking up a first down with his feet.

To make matter worse Amari Carter got flagged for a late hit and targeting after a shot to Howell went high during his slide.

Carter was disqualified and an already depleted secondary was even thinner for almost the entire game.

Miami seemed on their heels with the uptempo pace of the Carolina offense early.

Combine that with variety in play-calling and a confident team in blue, Miami had all they could handle on the road.

North Carolina would finish another scoring drive with a touchdown and led 17-3 with 4:04 left in the first quarter.

Miami looked uninspired and confused on defense to say the least, the group seemed unprepared for the moment.

The Tar Heels defense was equally as formidable, gang tackling and repeatedly taking advantage of the offensive line.

Finally late in the first quarter the defense found some energy, forcing a three-and-out.

Miami managed ZERO yards rushing and 47 total yards in the first quarter, while Carolina racked up 171 total yards.

Second Quarter Brings Second Wind

The second quarter change seemed to give the Hurricanes a chance to get composed again.

Williams was sharp and decisive to open that frame, and DeeJay Dallas ran with his usual aggression.

Enos took the training wheels off a little with pre-snap motion and jet sweeps, and the offense found some rhythm.

 

Until disaster nearly happened.

Williams put the ball on the ground and after several players had a shot, the freshman quarterback fell on his mistake and recovered the ball.

However the drive would stall and Bubba Baxa would attempt another short field goal for important points.

 

He missed obviously, keeping the score at 17-3.

Blake Baker dialed up the pressure in the second with corner blitzes and the defense settled in.

His colleague Enos started to figure some things out as well, giving help to the offensive line with backs chipping and quick passes.

Brevin Jordan looks like the truth and was a reliable target for Williams.

Cam Harris spelled Dallas late in the first half and picked up right where he left off.

Harris was a force in that crucial drive for the Hurricanes to say the least.

 

Once again the Hurricanes offense could not cash in, they went uptempo which actually seemed to take them out of sync.

Baxa redeemed himself somewhat with a chip shot (for most) to make it 17-6 with just under three minutes left in the first half.

The Hurricanes defense continued to make stops and slowly take over field position as the opening half wound down.

Williams would get the ball back with 98 seconds to go and two timeouts to work with.

Dallas gashed the Carolina defense for 16 to start the drive, followed by a quick 14-yard reception by Jordan.

Another miscue on a botched snap nearly spelled disaster for Miami, luckily Dallas fell on it to save the possession.

Finally the good fortune continued as the Hurricanes found pay-dirt on a beautiful strike from Williams to KJ Osborn on a slant.

 

Miami had to feel good going into the locker room down just four after a tenuous start.

Dallas had eight carries for 55 yards while Harris five for 41 yards in the first half.

Miami finished with 94 yards on the ground as a team. The offensive line as a whole looked much better compared to the Florida game, but Williams was still under pressure quite often.

A big difference was his decision making in terms of holding on to the ball. When things went sideways, he got it out.

Halftime score 17-13 North Carolina

Miami received the second half kickoff and went right to work. Dallas continued to get touches and Williams connected with Jordan to put Miami in business around the North Carolina 30 yard line.

That opening drive stalled after the Hurricanes failed on a fourth and three. Diaz likely lacked confidence in Baxa in what would have been about a 36-yard field goal attempt.

The anticipation for the Miami defense to make a game changing play was palpable.

North Carolina converted a huge third and twelve to get out of the shadow of their goalpost.

Dazz Newsome followed that with a 36-yard catch over the top, the second egregious error on pass defense to that point.

Senior linebacker Michael Pinckney got dinged up on the play but would return shortly after.

North Carolina entered Miami territory for the first time since the opening quarter and broke out a trick play of their own.

Howell hauled in an 18-yard reception on a flee-flicker, and they would cash in with a field goal to make it 20-13 midway through the third quarter.

On their next possession Miami put together their best drive to that point, marching 75 yards on seven plays and finally cashing in from close.

 

Unfortunately that blocked XP was a huge lapse by the offensive line as North Carolina shot into the backfield in an instant.

Can’t blame Baxa for that one, however four special teams points left on the field in a close game hurts.

A pivotal play came in the waning seconds of the third quarter with North Carolina facing a 4th-and-3 from the Miami 44.

Initially it looked like they would go for it, however Mack Brown burned a timeout and North Carolina punted.

Not taking a delay of game and instead taking a timeout seemed like a questionable move which could benefit Miami.

Williams continued to slice up the North Carolina secondary and ended the penultimate quarter with a bang.

 

Osborn has immediately become a key part of the wide receiver group and a favorite target for Williams.

Pass protection started to become an issue in the fourth quarter as Williams was dropped twice to stall another drive.

Special teams stepped up to pin the Tar Heels back but Howell quickly got them out of trouble.

The moment did not seem too big for Howell who looked solid under fire for most of the night.

However the Miami defense hung tough under less than ideal circumstances as multiple players went off the field due to cramping or other not overtly serious injuries.

They gave the ball back to the offense midway through the fourth and Williams kept dealing. He hit nine completions in a row and should have had 10 if not for a drop by Brian Hightower.

Jeff Thomas helped the young quarterback with a tough first down grab over the middle, not something he is always known for.

Dallas kept punishing the North Carolina defense and a perfectly executed run put them in business.

 

Williams would make it count, dropping a dime to Will Mallory to put Miami on top for the first time 25-20 with just under five minutes to go.

Holding a lead on the road late is a critical test for a defense and the North Carolina ground game was working.

Tempers got a little heated as Miami started to gain confidence when Shaq Quarterman picked up a huge sack to force a third and long.

That was followed quickly by another sack courtesy of Gregory Rousseau, forcing a timeout on 4th and 17.

Once again Howell made a play, picking up 20 for the first down and the crowd was back in it.

Howell drew Miami offsides all night with the “Kyler Murray pre-snap clap” and should have had a touchdown that was dropped on a free play.

He didn’t have to wait long as Newsome made a beautiful grab on the boundary to put North Carolina on top 26-25.

They would convert the two-point conversion and regain a 28-25 advantage with 1:01 to play.

Time for Williams

With all three timeouts this was the moment for Williams to show why Diaz chose him as QB1.

An 28-yard run followed by two completions put the Hurricanes in North Carolina territory quickly.

Williams threw incomplete over the middle and Miami was on their last breath, looking to avoid their first 0-2 start since 1978.

That did not happen.

Baxa shanked what would have been a game tying 49-yard field goal and Miami took another heartbreaking loss in another winnable game.

 

The Hurricanes gained 179 yards on the ground and 488 total yards compared to just 97 rushing and 389 for North Carolina.

Yet still lost and played from behind most of the way in a massive early test for Manny Diaz and his coaching staff.

The New Miami?

More like The Same Miami.

It’s a very distraught locker room. You’ve got to learn to finish. We’ve got to learn a little bit of a killer instinct.”

– Manny Diaz on WQAM, via @flasportsbuzz.

Key Stats – Miami

Passing:

Williams: 30/39, 309 yards, 2 TD

Rushing:

Dallas: 14 carries, 107 yards, 37 yard long

Cam Harris: 10 carries, 60 yards, TD

Receiving:

KJ Osborn: 7 receptions, 76 yards, TD

Mike Harley: 5 receptions, 79 yards

Brevin Jordan: 6 receptions, 73 yards

Jeff Thomas: 7 receptions, 51 yards

Will Mallory: 1 reception, 11 yards, TD

Key Stats – UNC

Passing:

Howell: 16/24, 274 yards, 2 TD

Rushing:

Javonte Williams: 10 carries, 76 yards, TD

Receiving:

Dyami Brown: 4 receptions, 80 yards, TD

Dazz Newsome: 2 receptions, 46 yards, TD

Rontavius Groves: 3 receptions, 41 yards

 

 

Claves para que UM derrote a UNC

UM se juega la vida esta noche en North Carolina.

Bueno. Tampoco para tanto.

Sin embargo, los Huracanes de la Universidad de Miami tienen otra gran prueba en el segundo juego de la temporada para ellos, tras caer ante los Florida Gators hace un par de semanas en el debut de Manny Díaz como head coach.

El duelo se asoma como uno interesante, con un par de quarterbacks jóvenes, y dos entrenadores que se graduaron en la misma universidad.

Leandro Soto, de Cinco Razones Deportes Network, estará comentando el duelo para la 990 ESPN Deportes desde Chapel Hill, NC, en medio de un ambiente con mucha música country y un tailgate un tanto aburrido para él, acostumbrado a la locura que se vive en los estacionamientos del Hard Rock Stadium.

En Five Reasons Sports vamos a estar transmitiendo en vivo con mucha mas frecuencia desde los diferentes eventos deportivos a los que asistimos.

Esta vez, les regalamos una pequeña previa del duelo de esta semana, con las claves para que UM pueda vencer a UNC, las fortalezas y debilidades de cada equipo, y las predicciones de cada uno para este importante encuentro.

Tate Martell ‘s transition to receiver going smoothly

When Tate Martell did not win the starting quarterback job at the University of Miami after transferring from Ohio State, he didn’t quit, he adjusted.

All the way to the other side of the field.

Martell began working with the wide receivers since Jarren Williams was named the starting quarterback and he has been welcomed with open arms by senior K.J.Osborn and the rest of the receivers.

“We accepted him. It was no nothing. We accepted him.” Osborn said after Wednesday’s practice.

Tate Martell had the advantage of having a strong grasp of the offense due to having to learn the whole scheme during quarterback competition. The knowledge he brought into his new crew not only helped himself, but his teammates improve.

“Like I said when Tate first got here, he’s very smart,” Osborn said. “He’s very smart. And he helps us out in the room. Like, if there’s a question about something, Tate, he’s got the answer. You know, quarterback reads, or line, or anything. He’s very smart coming from the quarterback position.”

The mental part of the transition may be smooth but the physical part wasn’t. He may have thought himself to be a mobile quarterback but even Michael Vick never ran as much as a wide receiver. The pains from practice served as an inadvertent form of initiation to the group, according to Osborn.

“He’s starting to get those wide receiver pains from running so much,” a laughing Osborn joked. “We trying to tell people on the team it’s different at wide receiver, like you run all day.”

Martell made his Hurricanes debut lined up at wideout against Florida. He’s still listed as a backup quarterback in the depth chart but he’ll be worth taking a look at over the course of the season.

 

Listen to pur podcast 5 Rings Canes clicking here. 

Canes QB Jarren Williams

Coach Diaz and Jarren Williams Discuss Improvements

Coach Manny Diaz and Jarren Williams have a lot to prove.

First-year quarterback Jarren Williams showed us all a few Saturday’s ago why he was chosen to lead this Miami Hurricanes team as its starting quarterback. While it did not ultimately lead to the outcome we wanted(Miami lost to #8 Florida 24-20), most Canes fans believe he is the right choice.

Coach Enos did not mince words when describing Williams and his play against Florida, saying “He did not play well enough for us to win the game.” We understand that those words were more “tough love” than anything else, and Jarren embraced it, but it wasn’t all entirely untrue. Williams had a few opportunities early in that game to break it open and could not find the open man. Although the offensive line did not play well at all, there were times where he either held on to the football too long or put his head down and took a sack.

Today, Cane Maven was at practice and listened in on what Coach Diaz and Jarren Williams had to say on what the redshirt freshman quarterback has worked on improving since his first game and if his progression has changed as a result of the Florida game:

Coach Manny Diaz says, “if we would’ve thrown a touchdown pass on the last drive and won 27-24, we would not have come in here and done anything differently.” Williams later said, regarding what had changed, “my pocket presence, you know, not watching the rush” and “every play you have to keep your eyes down the field and if you have to run, you could run”.

Follow me on twitter @jazzsantana for all the latest Miami Hurricanes news.

 Check out the @5Rings_Canes podcast for your Canes insider news and analysis.

 Go Canes!